12 Apr Cycle days you’re a social butterfly or a homebody
Have you ever been excited about social plans you made–for example, to have brunch with friends, go to a nightclub, take a day trip or attend a concert–only for the day of the event to arrive and you no longer wanted to go? In fact, you dreaded it and wished you could just stay home and veg?
There’s one likely reason why this happened: When you made your social plans, you were probably on an extroverted day in your monthly cycle. And, once the date of the social event arrived, you were probably on an introverted day in your monthly cycle.
Here’s what I mean: As estrogen, testosterone and progesterone rise and fall throughout your menstrual cycle, they impact how social you feel. On some cycle days, your hormones pump up your mood, energy, chattiness, desire for adventure and urge to travel far away from home–which makes you enjoy cramming lots of social events into your calendar. These are your extroverted cycle days. On other cycle days, your hormones make you more subdued, quiet and cautious and give you the urge to stick to comforting, familiar places–which is when you prefer to stay close to home. These are your introverted cycle days.
By knowing which days in your cycle you’ll feel extroverted and when you’ll feel introverted, you can sync up your social calendar with your menstrual cycle calendar so you can enjoy social events to the fullest.
And, just as importantly, when you’re unable to select the dates for social events to match up with your extroverted cycle days, you can use easy tips to push past your hormone-fueled desire to skip it on your introverted days, so you can enjoy the event to fullest, anyway.
To find out on which days of your cycle you’re most extroverted and which you’re most introverted, check out my Hormonology Cheat Sheet below for a quick rundown. Then, scroll down to my Hormonology Guide for a more detailed week-by-week explanation and tips.
Now, keep in mind that these are generalities. Hormones have powerful effects on your mood, energy and everything else that makes you feel more extroverted or introverted. However, hormones are just one factor affecting you. There are other factors that can eclipse hormonal effects. For example, drinking caffeine or alcohol can impact your desire to socialize. And, certain events themselves can impact how social you feel, for instance, you might summon a lot more excitement for your wedding or an awards ceremony being held in your honor no matter where you are in your cycle.
It’s also key to remember that how extroverted or introverted you become is based on your own personality scale: Some women are naturally more extroverted or introverted than others. If you’re naturally more extroverted, this information about hormone fluctuations may help you understand why some days socializing isn’t as fun and rewarding for you. And, if you’re like me and naturally more introverted, this information can help you pounce on those days when you’re more likely to come out of your shell by scheduling social events ahead of time to coincide with your more extroverted days–and give you permission to cut yourself slack when your introverted days arrive and you reallllyyy don’t want to mix and mingle.
So, want to know how your hormones will be affecting your desire to socialize based on how extroverted and introverted you are? Here’s how it breaks down:
Hormonology Week-by-Week Guide to Socializing
Which days of your monthly cycle are you rarin’ to get out of the house to hang out with old pals and meet new people? And, which days of your cycle would you prefer to climb back into your shell enjoy your alone-time?
Week 1: Home, then away
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Your Week 1 is really a two-parter: During the first few days, low estrogen can keep you on the mellow, quiet side. What’s more, menstrual cramps, migraines or other period-related pain can have you wanting to lay low. These days you’re feeling more introverted.
However, by about Day 4 in your cycle, estrogen will have risen to a point where it’s lifting your mood, energy, chattiness, desire for adventure and urge to travel. And, for many women, menstrual-linked aches will have likely faded away. Together, this makes you look forward to and enjoy leaving your home to hang out with friends and attending functions. You’ve entered the extroverted phase of your cycle.
Enjoy socializing more: If you’ve got an event scheduled for one of your early introverted Week 1 days, keep in mind that low energy and/or pain are the likely reasons you don’t feel like attending. So, try to counter these obstacles if you can. For example, you can increase your pep with caffeine, a light aerobic workout (such as brisk walking) or by listening to up-tempo music. And, for physical discomfort, use whatever pain remedies you prefer, such as a heat patch for cramps or over-the-counter pain meds for a headache.
Week 2: Social butterfly
Day 8 to ovulation (which is Day 14 in a 28-day cycle)
Throughout your Week 2, estrogen is high and rising, then testosterone rises at the end of this week–and these hormones are revving good feelings, charging up self-confidence, pumping up your pep, making you more talkative, spurring a desire for novel, stimulating experiences and pushing you to wander far from home. These are the cycle days when you’re at your most extroverted.
Researchers suspect these hormone-fueled changes are all part of Mother Nature’s plan to get you to seek out and land a partner by ovulation. But, the side effect is that you’re happiest when you’re out in the world and surrounded by lots of people doing all kinds of fun, exciting activities, such as attending concerts, sports games, parties and festivals or taking trips with pals to new places. In fact, if you don’t take time to socialize during this cycle phase, you could end up bored and resentful that this urge to mingle went unfulfilled.
Week 3: Closer to home
Begins day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (which is Day 14 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
This week starts out with estrogen and testosterone falling and progesterone rising, which together ushers in a mellower, more subdued, quieter and cautious phase of your cycle. You’re more introverted on these days.
As a result, you’ll likely enjoy more alone-time to do solo activities (such as reading, writing or painting) or want to spend quality time with just one or two special people, such as your partner or best friend.
When you do socialize, you’re more comfortable with smaller groups, familiar people, activities you’ve done many times before and not straying too far from home or places where you feel safe. Depending on your sensitivity to rising progesterone, which is a sedating hormone, you could get a little tired or more easily worn out from spending time with others.
Enjoy socializing more: Have a big gala, concert, bachelorette party or other large social event to attend during your Week 3? Low energy and a wariness of crowds and unfamiliar people could have you wanting to bow out. So, try to use an energy booster to rev your pep (for instance, taking a nap beforehand) and do what you can to keep your energy from fading throughout the event (such as avoiding alcohol). To feel more comfortable in crowded situations, plan to take breaks from the throngs to recharge (maybe stepping outside or into a bathroom stall for some alone-time) or stick close to a trusted pal who provides a reassuringly familiar presence in a sea of unfamiliar faces.
Week 4: Homebound
Final 6 days of your cycle
Estrogen plunges throughout your premenstrual Week 4–and as it drops, it’s bringing down your mood, self-confidence, energy and desire to chat or leave home with it. These are more introverted days of your cycle.
On these cycle days, you can find it difficult to summon the urge to go outside and socialize because you might have a negative view of how you look (triggered by a dip in mood-regulating brain chemicals on these days) or because you’re more easily annoyed or frustrated by loud noise, stinky smells, hard benches and other irksome factors that you could typically brush off on higher-estrogen cycle days. You can also find it more challenging to deal with other people’s bothersome quirks (or downright faults), which you had more patience handling earlier in your cycle.
Enjoy socializing more: The trick to making socializing easier during this cycle phase is to grant yourself permission to be a little selfish. For example, if you know a stadium seat at ballgame is going to be too hard on your back, bring a comfy pillow with you–even if it embarrasses the friends you’re with. If one of the people you’re attending an event with has an annoying habit–say, repeating off-color jokes you find offensive–steer clear of that person as much as you can or tell that person it’s not something you’ll be putting up with. When there’s a choice to be made–say, what movie or restaurant to choose–go ahead and fight for your pick since you’ll be happier if you get what you want than if you have to suffer through someone else’s selection.
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