Have You Experienced a Social Hangover?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Kevin Mahoney 9 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    Kevin Mahoney

    This past weekend I attended multiple social events with family, friends, and my faith community.  From Friday evening until Sunday evening, it felt as if I was either at an event, going to an event, or leaving one.  Last night, I had a difficult time unwinding after such a busy weekend.  Several months ago, after a similar weekend left my head spinning from too many social activities, I did an internet search of the words “social hangover”.  I discovered that there is such a thing.  In an article on, Jessica Stillman (2016) described a social hangover this way: “After too much time cooped up with too many people, your head starts to buzz, your brain sort of hurts.”  I believe this is an accurate portrayal of how I was feeling last night.

    Sometimes this social hangover can be referred to as an “introvert hangover.”  While I do identify myself as an introvert, I would more accurately describe myself as a social introvert.  I enjoy people and being around them but I need consistent time to be alone and “process.” It turns out that for most of us, introvert or extrovert, find that some time alone is helpful.  Kevin Cashman (2008) states “For most leaders, the most innovative ideas and creative solutions usually arise, not during traditional work hours, but during the quiet, inner moments while swimming, running, walking, gardening, or meditating” (p. 157).

    Do you ever experience a “social hangover”? If so, how do you recover?

    Do you find that your most creative and innovative ideas come in social settings or in relative solitude?


    Cashman, K. (2008). Leadership from the inside out: becoming a leader for life. 2nd ed., rev. and expanded. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.


    Stillman, J. (August 25, 2016).  Feeling Rough After an Event? You Might Have an “Introvert Hangover”. Retrieved from



    When I saw the title of this post I was immediately thought absolutely yes! I’ve always been introverted in the sense that I need alone time to ‘recharge’ after being around people for long periods of time. I used to ruminate alot during that time on things such as what I could have done differently, did I say the wrong thing, etc. The rumination was not productive and during a period of my life I was experiencing social anxiety pretty severely. I’m now better able to let go of the rumination and spend that alone time recharging doing things I enjoy like reading, meditation, or exercise. It was a hard thing for me to learn about myself that I only need to be around people in short spurts, since our culture pushes the idea that people who keep to themselves are somehow flawed. I find people to be stimulation and too much of it is tiring because it requires me to put on my ‘social costume’ so to speak, therefore when I’m in situations that I must be around people for extended periods of time (I.e. a week long family vacation) I’ve learned​ to either schedule time to myself to decompress or just remind myself to be my authentic self, so that wearing my ‘social costume’ does not wear me out. Sorry about the length of this post it’s just something I’ve been thinking alot on lately especially for the next time I enter into a romantic relationship as they often feel to me as if my space is crowded. I’m curious to see others thoughts and strategies on this topic.


    Kevin Mahoney

    Hello Rich,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. I am also interested in the outlook of others on this subject.  I think you made a good point about our culture valuing the extrovert personality. It has taken me a while to identify and then feel comfortable with my introvert nature.  I can be outgoing for periods but feel most comfortable in crowds having meaningful interaction with fewer people than I do being the center of attention. There is a lot of material online about social hangovers. NYU (I think) did a study recently on it.


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