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. :)
Just 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.
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.