Why Touring And Introverts Don’t Mix

Touring can be a tough endeavor for every personality type, but introverts have an especially challenging time out on the road. This is one of those issues that doesn’t make or break a musician’s career, but it does make life harder for introverted musicians and the people who work with them. Today, we’re highlighting some ways touring is tough on introverts with some tips to help things run smoothly.

Musicians spend all their waking hours with other people on tour

Save for bands who’ve found lots of financial success, touring is often so draining for less social musicians because there’s no barrier between them and other people on the road. Whether it’s being less than two feet away from bandmates in the car traveling to the next show or having to talk to fans at the merch booth, there’s no time to be alone on tour. While certain personality types recharge by hanging out with other people, introverts are the opposite. Feeling socially drained can add to challenges that most musicians already face during their tours––sleep deprivation, strained relationships, indulging too much.

The best thing introverted musicians can do to prepare for their tours is to know what they’re getting themselves into well in advance. For some, it might mean saving extra money ahead of time for a separate hotel room once every week for long tours. For others, making an effort to take a walk sometime each day on the road will do the trick.

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Between the stage and tour van, there are few opportunities to recharge

The nature of touring is an extroverted and highly social one: getting up on stage and talking to the crowd, meeting other bands, and hanging out with bandmates. These are all crucial parts of helping a tour to run smoothly. Unfortunately, this all makes life difficult for introverts. The challenge here is to show up socially on tour in a meaningful way without burning yourself out or feeling resentful.

There’s no easy solution here, so a delicate balancing act is in order. Rather than trying to muscle through a long tour by posing as an extrovert, discover those few opportunities you can to be alone and use them to your advantage. If there’s ever free time, don’t be afraid to go off by yourself, throw on noise-canceling headphones, or hang out alone in the green room. This is one of those situations where you have to be in charge of your own well being, so do what you need to do and don’t apologize for it.

Taking care of yourself on tour is essential no matter what type of personality you are. But some introverts have a nasty habit of not being vocal about what they need to feel healthy. So rather than winging it on your next tour, if you’re not a particularly social musician, make sure you set up conditions and boundaries to help you feel comfortable. And remember, if you don’t, no one will for you.

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

JayWhy Touring And Introverts Don’t Mix


Join the conversation
  • Steven Resendez - November 20, 2018 reply

    Valuable information for musicians who may not understand how their personalities may conflict with touring life. Me not my any of my bands got anywhere but one band mates did and now tours with a country artist. I hang out with them sometimes when they’re in town and I think to myself, “I could never tour”. I’m an introvert. My buddy is an extrovert.

  • David E. Harris - November 20, 2018 reply

    We are starting to recognize in American culture that introverts do exist, they tend to be quite creative and they do struggle in an extroverted environment and in a society that places a premium on extroversion. I am both. An introvert and a musician. Quite early in my career I went on an extended tour of several months, returned home on Christmas Eve and decided that I never wanted to do that again. Then I spent the better part of a decade based in the Denver area but making one to two week excursions out from that home base when necessary to keep a band schedule filled. I could withstand the road for a few days or weeks at a time but I never did and still do not have a desire for lengthy touring. As someone once said, “Its a damn impossible way to live.” Yet, thank-you for shedding some light on the difficulties and challenges of band touring! And pointing out that the touring lifestyle IS an extroverted one. A lot of the coping mechanisms you offered I realize that I use now, probably instinctively, to survive and even thrive when I do travel. My wife and I try to book hotel rooms that have a bedroom separated from the living area to provide some privacy. And, I do look for opportunities to go out and explore on my own, take extended walks or go ski, sit in a coffee shop by myself, hang out in a park alone, and take advantage of time when she is out of the room for songwriting and playing my travel guitar. Thanks for the blog post!

  • John Pitts - November 20, 2018 reply

    I never thought of myself as introverted but now, with this new breed of fans everyone should know that they are the reason you are there. Touring is hard but real fans are there for your every step.

  • jim - November 21, 2018 reply

    the greatest song writer I have ever met is a total introvert – he has such a talent in this respect I would not want any other way – though he can not associate with groups of people, one on one he is amassing. Studio music he excels in – outside of this, he is like a deer in head lights – its too bad but if it was different, he would not be over the top with his talent – so leave well enough alone- – As Bernie was to Elton, our Steve is to us.

  • Turkey - November 21, 2018 reply

    Instinctively, once I’m off stage I want quiet and to be alone! Hanging out with extrovert overkill types put me in a foul mood and burn me out.

  • King Kronick - November 22, 2018 reply

    I really am glad ReverbNation decided to cover this topic. I absolutely have social issues…in some situations. Getting in front of so many people I can’t decipher who is and isn’t having fun at a show; that’s not the big issue. For me, I have a wife and daughter….been with wife since high school. My issue was mainly concerned about being on a non-stop touring schedule. Especially without my family. [I’m completely solo btw. Beatz to lyrics to production] So yeah, I”d have to bear the full frontal of everything from fan interaction to after parties or whatnot. Bad enough not having a band member to take some of that off ya. But no fam with me.
    This page did give a couple good points that sparked my thinking. I may no longer turn down local and regional tour opportunities.
    **SUGGESTION: If anyone at ReverbNation knows a psychologist personally, inquire about the effects of long term and consistent touring on the general artist. Would be interesting.

  • Rabbit - November 29, 2018 reply

    I am a lot of things. Class Cown. Happy, loving, Moody. Maybe I don’t who I am. I think of myself as a bloom where u r planted guy. I love God’s Creatures. The word of Jesus. It just seems easier to stay low.

  • Anders Lillebo - March 24, 2019 reply

    Good article. My life got a lot easier when I embraced the fact that I’m an introvert. That means I don’t feel bad for skipping after-gig-parties anymore. It used to just drain me completely, and I because of it I probably wasn’t the best company either. I guess I miss out on some networking opportunities, but I think I make up for it in being more present og energized in my work the next day.

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