The Introvert’s Guide to Public Restrooms

I want to talk to you about something very important to me. I know we haven’t talked in a while, but, y’know what, I’m jumping right in.

Public restrooms are very scary for me.

I’m sure this is the case for others as well… or maybe I’m alone… but if you don’t want to talk about this issue, you can just wait around for the next post. Let’s be totally honest here, though, are public restrooms not just frightening? That is why I want to talk about bathroom courtesy. Here are my two primary issues with using a public bathroom.

1: They’re gross.


100%. Nothing is pleasant about them. Yes, some are cleaner and/or more hygienic than others, but nobody likes peeing in the same room as other people. (It’s a rock fact!)

2: People. See also: Interaction; speaking words. That said, I do love me a good conversation, but if you don’t know me personally, you better not be making direct eye contact.

If there are enough people in there at once, the latter shouldn’t be an issue. In Costco, for instance, or a movie theater, people will be too busy talking to their fellow extroverts to care anything about you. The times you really need to watch out are when there is only you and one other person. Here are some ways to avoid this dangerous situation.

First, gauge bathroom attendance before making your own trip. If you’re in a restaurant, make sure to be seated with a clear view of the bathroom entrance, in order to see who is going in and who is coming out. If you see a steady stream of people, go for it, it’s probably safe. As mentioned before, there will probably be enough people to distract. You can even try going while the hand dryers are running. This is easier to time this when there are more people around. If there are only one or two people going in at a time, and there’s not a big enough time slot for you to squeeze in there, you can probably hold it through the ride home. If there’s no way you can last that long, and you’re not making any more stops, bushes out back or dark corners can be used in a pinch.

Second, if you find yourself in the taxing situation of being alone in a public restroom with only one companion, try the ghost method. This is where you remain completely quiet when you hear someone come in, and you remain in your stall until they leave. You can even lift your feet up if you think you’re in danger of them looking under the stall door. If you slip up and make a noise, sluggishness is the key. Make sure you keep moving, but each action must be done as slowly as possible. Come on, you can unroll that toilet paper slower; like fun, that’s the best you can do!

Finally, if you fail all this previous training material, and end up out of the stall with another person there, wash your hands like the wind. This is the situation where portable hand wipes or sanitizer come in handy. If you do utilize these items, first of all, good on you, mate! Second of all, however, make sure you run the water for a little while. You don’t want them to take you for a savage. And if, by some unfortunate series of events, you end up side-by-side at the sink with one other person, look down, wash, dry, and get out of there. If they talk to you…….. good luck.

Thank you for reading, I hope you feel more prepared now for your next public restroom experience. Have a wonderful rest of your day.