Sometimes, being with a group of people is stressful because, as empaths, we soak up the emotional energy of those around us. We want to be social and engaging yet, at times, we need to retreat in order to clear the energy we’ve taken on. If we are new to the practice of shielding and other methods of self-protection, we may find that the time we engage in social situations needs to be limited.
Finding a workable balance between wanting to be social and needing to be alone can prove difficult for a lot of us, and the first step to knowing what might work for you is to know your triggers.
A trigger is any situation or combination thereof that evokes a stress response necessitating the need to disassociate yourself from others so you can renew and recharge.
For me, a definite trigger is finding myself in a gathering of people I don’t know (a social event or party) and having to engage in small talk about the weather, my work, or other personal information commonly exchanged in such situations. It’s stressful and it almost always depletes me of energy.
You might have read that sentence and thought to yourself, “Well, isn’t that how all social situations are?” I’d answer, “Why yes…yes it is, and that’s the challenge many of us experience.”
Empaths find almost all social gatherings, parties, and networking events to be a source of stress instead of a source of relaxation.
Whereas more extroverted non-empathic folks look forward to a night out with friends, introverted empaths don’t. We naturally crave alone time, not people time. Just going to work for eight hours a day can deplete our energy stores so the last thing we want to do after work is to socialize or party. We need solo time before we can re-engage with the world again.
I recall being on a business trip a number of years ago and after successfully wrapping up a 14-hour meeting, I was the lone person out of 15 to go back to the hotel. Everyone else wanted to blow off steam and go to a bar, drink, and relax. Being an empath (even though I didn’t know it at the time), I needed the solace of my hotel room and some quiet time.