There are three things you should know about introverts: first, we like spending time alone; second, we’re not anti-social, we just can’t socialize nonstop without feeling like — how do I put this? — part of our soul is dying; and third, there’s a right and wrong way for an introvert to clean the kitchen.
What? You didn’t know that last part? It’s true. If you’re an introvert and you’ve never been a fan of cleaning the kitchen, it’s probably because you’re cleaning it like — gasp! — an extrovert. Here’s how you can really make it work for you.
This is how you should feel when cleaning the kitchen.
The Introvert’s Guide to Cleaning the Kitchen
1. It’s a legitimate excuse for staying home. Use it.
When your friend texts and asks if you want to hang out, you should most definitely write back “Ack. Have to clean the kitchen. So bummed.” You’re not bummed. You’re saved. Kitchen: +1. Socializing when you don’t want to: +0.
2. Get everyone out.
Your lovely dinner guests just asked to help with the dishes, because they are considerate people whom you genuinely love and admire. But all you can think is:
Go with that feeling to go it alone. You’re not the only one.
3. Press play on the podcast.
“Woo-hoo! It’s time to blast some dance music, invite the gang in, and get this cleaning party started, am I right?” — said no introvert ever.
A more accurate phrase would be, “Whew. It’s time to listen to an intelligent discussion about something culturally or emotionally riveting while I slowly scrub pans, pause every so often to squint my eyes thoughtfully at something the radio program host just said, and then squirt some more dish soap into the water, the sixth time I’ve done that in the last five minutes because I’m not really paying attention to what I’m doing.”
(Now, now — we know you extroverts love podcasts, too!)
4. Think about rejoining everyone in the dining room.
Okay, so cleaning it is!
5. Rinse every single dish, twice. Three times. Basically just wash it entirely before loading it into the dishwasher.
Take your time. Take all your (delicious! wonderful!) alone time and make sure every crumb is off that dish before you load it into a machine that’s supposed to do that all for you. You can never be too thorough. Rinse respectfully.
There is not enough air to dry these dishes. You must help.
6. Or pretend your dishwasher is broken. Or just don’t have a dishwasher to begin with.
That means you’ll have to stay in the kitchen by yourself a little longer to wash all those dishes by hand. It also means, of course, that you’ll have to dry them by hand, because The Kitchn told you to. (We’ll take the hit for this one.)
7. But don’t oversell it, otherwise people will want to help again.
Be convincing. Everything depends on this moment.
Clearly a disaster zone. Must stay in the kitchen and redo it this instant.
8. Yes, your perfectly neat cupboards really do need to be completely reorganized right this second.
And oh man, it’s going to take you ALL night. There go your plans. No after-dinner drinks for you. No late-night skinny dipping, either! And you were so looking forward to it. But you know, something could fall on your head the next time you open the cupboard, so really, safety first.
Blessed relief, your own little kitchen seat away from everyone else.
9. There’s always the stool.
No one else knows it’s there, but you do — that little chair or stool at the end of the counter. It’s low enough that if you sit down and lean forward over your knees, they probably won’t be able to see you. You can probably get a good 10 more minutes here. If someone does come around the corner, you’re close enough to a low cabinet door you can feign looking for a strainer.
Thank goodness you, oh introvert, now know how to clean the kitchen!