Introverts unite!

I’m an introvert. Bet nobody was surprised to hear that. :P
Being an introvert means being psychologically wired in a way that makes you thrive on introspection, reflection and solitude rather than discussions and social gatherings. Simply put extroverts charge their batteries by talking and being with other people while introverts charge their batteries by thinking to themselves and being alone.

In early December last year Hanna and Cassie started a little blog project called Introverts Unite! to bring together bloggers (who often happen to be introverts by the way) and share their experiences of having this… alignment or what to call it. I found out about it through Alyssa and wanted to participate too. :)
Introverts Unite! badgeJust because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with me.

Being an introvert is almost exclusively viewed as something negative. Surely it can’t be normal to want to stay at home on a Saturday night, with a book and a glass of wine, rather than going to the club with friends? Or to get mentally exhausted after spending a few hours in a shopping mall on a busy Friday afternoon? Or get overly excited at the prospect of having a whole weekend to yourself and not be bothered by anyone?

Society tells us we’re supposed to be social and open. We’re supposed to have a metric shit-tonne of friends and exciting plans for every weekend. Having a buzzing and active social life is an accomplishment, something to be proud of.

But… what if you don’t have that? What if you don’t even WANT that?

I’ve never craved much social interaction. I love my family and my friends, but I don’t need to have them around me at all times and I most certainly don’t need to be surrounded by strangers.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind going out and meet new people. Sometimes I even want to! Being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy or socially awkward (I totally am though, I just try to hide it) or that you want to be alone all the time.
I have no problem meeting people, the thing is I don’t want to very often.

Introvert by Aubrey
Introvert by Aubrey

The only problem with being an introvert is that people won’t let you be one.

As a kid I was constantly nagged to be more outgoing. All my teachers always had the same feedback: “Karin do well in school but need to be more talkative and come out of her shell.” My mum, a hardcore extrovert, would never stop bugging me to call a friend or go out and do something! And with “do something” she meant do something with others, not just walk around in the forest by myself like some little weirdo.

God, I really was a little weirdo… :P Poor mum.

Anyway, to me “loneliness” is a beautiful word and it’s often incredibly difficult to make people understand it’s not because I’m depressed or sick – I’m fine, honestly. I just need to refill my energy deposits.

Here’s what I want people to realize:
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone, even if it’s often. If that’s what I want and it makes me feel happy and fulfilled then that’s what I need to be. Simple as that.
There’s also nothing wrong with having only a handful of close friends. Quality over quantity and all that. The trick is to find friends who understand that you need your private time.

And if you’re an extrovert, please don’t try to pester anyone into “coming out of their shell” and “be more social”. If we don’t want to hang out it’s not because we don’t like you, it’s nothing personal. Everyone is different and your way is not the only way. You’re not right, just different.

Comments

  1. 30 January 2013

    I heard about this through Alyssa as well, and I’m totally joining you cool kids ;) This was almost like reading about myself, I’m glad I’m not the only one who was nagged on to go “do something”. I did something! Lots of things! But they were mostly on my computer and I was mostly by myself, just the way I liked it. I loved my computer, all my friends lived in it :D

  2. 30 January 2013

    Yay, thanks so much for joining in! We are a misunderstood bunch, aren’t we? I still don’t understand why so many teachers don’t see the value in the quiet kids, too. But we turned out okay. ;)

  3. 30 January 2013

    Yay, I’m so glad you joined! This post is right on. I try to hide my shyness too, though I’m not always successful, and I was also the weird kid who liked to walk around in the woods by myself. :P I was always a bit of a loner throughout school and would prefer to spend time on my computer or reading at home instead of going to parties. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my introversion because people would try to break me out of my shell, and they made me feel like being introverted wasn’t okay. But now I’ve accepted myself for who I am, and I’m a proud introvert!

  4. 30 January 2013

    Haha, I think I had the same comments from teachers as well. Everything you described is me too. Today I am sitting at home and just enjoying the quiet and doing whatever I fee like doing instead of having to entertain someone else.

  5. 30 January 2013

    Jag är också introvert och känner så väl igen kommentarerna från lärarna under skoltiden ;)

  6. 31 January 2013

    *waves* I think being an introvert is a magical thing, or maybe that is because I am one? I think it is funny that your mother was also extroverted, maybe it kind of skips a generation or we just want to do the complete opposite? ;)

  7. 31 January 2013

    I push myself to be as outgoing as possible when I’m in groups of people, so it’s often assumed I’m an extrovert. People never believe me when I try to explain I’m an introvert, and it took my best friend 12 years and a bachelors in psychology before she said something to me about it.

    Being social, especially in big groups of people, is so exhausting! If I end up in that situation, I can’t sleep the rest of the night. It’s a whole thing.

    Introvert, I am.

  8. 1 February 2013

    “The only problem with being an introvert is that people won’t let you be one”
    – This statement is so true, it’s almost ironic. My parents are hardcore extroverts too. My mom even starts conversations with strangers on the supermarket. -.-

    Most of the time i’m just to lazy to talk. lol. and I don’t like it when people talk too much. I’m not sure if that’s considered as “introvert”, but I’m definitely the silent type. and people always mistook my silence as shyness.

    I agree with you here. Just because we prefer to be alone doesn’t mean we’re lonely. I think some people just need a lot of personal space. People should respect it. :)

  9. 2 February 2013

    Ha you guys are actually all lucky that you’re one thing or another – I’m something in between an introvert and an extrovert. It’s really frustrating and time consuming trying to decide whether you want to spend time with some people or whether you want to finish that piece of artwork or game you started playing. People also tend to classify me as an introvert only because I have a somewhat unique worldview so I don’t exactly get along with everyone and I’m constantly seen scribbling or wrapped up in some fantasy in my mind. Secretly I just want to be liked by everyone and have a social life but that’s impossible due to my views and the misconception that I’m a loner. But yeah, I get what you go through since I was always bugged about being quiet or being by myself even though it was just because I didn’t get along with many & had parents that couldn’t take me anywhere to socialize. Oh and the fact that I have a very imaginative mind… phew, I say a lot.

  10. Ann-Kristin
    4 February 2013

    Jag är också introvert. om man hela tiden måste ha ett späckat schema med aktiviteter på kvällarna skulle jag tycka vara jättejobbigt. Jag tycker det är skönt när man kommer hem efter jobbet och bara får vara hemma själv och mysa. Inte behöva fara iväg på något möte eller aktivitet som min man brukar göra ett par tre ggr/vecka.. Visst någon gång ibland kan man väl göra det också. Jag sitter också hellre hemma en lördagkväll med ett glas vin och en bok eller en bra film, än att ha folk eller själv behöva fara bort. Så tyckte jag även när jag var yngre. Men ibland gör man ju det också och det kan väl vara rätt trevligt emellanåt. ;)

  11. 21 February 2013

    I’m just now seeing this post; I’m so glad I did. People really don’t let us be introverts and I’ll never fully understand why, but that was beautifully put. xo