Does anyone know if there is a phrase or term that describes the frustration an introvert experiences when they have had too much social exposure and need to be alone?

As an analogy, I recently heard the phrase "hangry" used to describe the state of anger/irritability that some people suffer when they are hungry, and find it infinitely useful to instantly convey that state of emotion with a single phrase.

Having a similar phrase so that others know that a person isn't upset with them, but just needs to be alone would save me, and probably many other people, a lot of frustration.

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    $\begingroup$ As an introvert myself, I find the term "social overload" to be useful. $\endgroup$
    – Roger
    Sep 30 '14 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ Colloquially, I have heard both "social overload" and "social exhaustion" in use. $\endgroup$
    – lea
    Oct 1 '14 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for all the answers. It looks like there isn't really a standard term, but social overload/fatigue/exhaustion are all great. $\endgroup$
    – Jak
    Oct 7 '14 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if "social exhaustion" and "social overload" can accurately express the feelings of frustration an introvert experiences when they have had too much social exposure. I know for it feel like agony. If anything it should be call "social anony onset" by being overly socialized. $\endgroup$
    – user7248
    Dec 12 '14 at 2:07

This does not constitute a definitive answer, so I invite criticism and feedback.

I don't believe there is a specific term for this state, as energy management and the introversion/extroversion scale seem to be a somewhat recent area of focus. However, it seems reasonable to think that the feelings experienced by an over socialized introvert may be similar to experience of decision fatigue, which is when the quality of ones decisions worsen the more decisions they need to make.

Since socialization for introverts often requires more deliberate internal calculations than extroverts, decision fatigue and the experience you're seeking a name for might be cousins. As such, perhaps 'social fatigue' is a useful term.


I think of it as "over-stimulated" when I find myself in that situation. I haven't needed to use it with others but it strikes me as a positive expression - too much of a good thing.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you're on to something here, but a reference to back it up would make this a stronger answer. $\endgroup$ Oct 4 '14 at 9:12

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