Good morning, Dear Reader! Today, I thought we would talk about being an introvert.
Introverts are often very quiet people, people who gain strength from being alone rather than being around others, become mentally & physically drained after being around other people, hate being the center of attention, focused, introspective, highly intelligent, explore their few interests deeply, become irritable without sufficient alone time & prefer having only a few very close friends rather than many acquaintances.
This describes me very well. I absolutely cannot tolerate much time around other people, even those I love dearly. In fact, a lifelong friend of mine is also an introvert, & when we get together, it doesn’t take us long & one of us will say, “You ready for some introvert time?” Neither of us is offended by this, since we both understand the strong need for alone time. Instead, we both laugh about it & go home.
It seems to me that most people are extroverts. They need to be around other people often as it energizes & strengthens them. They are highly energetic people & often bubbly & excited in the ways they express themselves. If they are alone for any length of time, they become depressed. They have many friends & many interests. Being the center of attention is a positive thing for them.
The large amount of extroverts compared to introverts can make being an introvert rather challenging. Introverts often think there is something wrong with them for not being like most other people. We feel like we are weird or flawed. We also feel like there isn’t anyone else who prefers the company of a good book over people.
Also, extroverts can’t understand us introverts any better than we can understand them. Often, they try to “help” us by making us more social, such as wanting us to go places with them when we would prefer the solitude of our own home with a good book. They also may think we are depressed rather than introverted, & try to “cheer us up” by wanting us to do things that cheer them up. If you are fortunate, the extroverts in your life understand that you are simply different than they are. They quickly learn not to try to change you, & that there is nothing wrong with you for being introverted- it is simply a personality trait rather than a flaw or illness.
If you are not as fortunate with the extroverts you know, life can be a bit more challenging. I had a friend years ago who I cared a great deal about, but he was very extroverted. He constantly wanted to go places & hang out with me. We always had fun together & I enjoyed it when we went spent time together, but due to my introverted nature, there were many times I would have preferred to stay home alone. I ended up hurting his feelings quite a few times for turning down an invitation to go to a bookstore (our favorite activity) or out to lunch. I didn’t mean to- I just needed my introvert time, & he didn’t understand that as he didn’t like to be alone for very long or stay home. He did accept my boundaries, & usually with only a little trying to convince me to change my mind.
Unfortunately, this is unavoidable when an introvert is friends with an extrovert. The good friend, like mine was, may have his feelings hurt, but will accept that you don’t want to hang out together 3 times a week (or however often he wants to). Some extroverts aren’t as nice as my friend was. Some may get pushy or use guilt to try to manipulate you into doing their will. They may push you hard to try to become more extroverted as they are. Don’t give in if you are uncomfortable doing so! You have every right to be as introverted as you would like to be, just as others have the right to be as extroverted as they would like to be! Set your boundaries & stick to them. You have that right!
Also try to explain to your friend that it is nothing personal or wrong with him- you just need some alone time. As he gets energy from being around others, you have that exact same reaction to being alone. Maybe explain it this way- “You know how good you feel after you spend an afternoon with friends (or at a party or whatever social activity your friend enjoys)? That’s how I feel after some time to myself.”
Most extroverted people will understand & respect your boundaries. As for those who don’t, or those who continually try to change you into an extrovert? You may want to reconsider your friendship. Normal healthy people don’t try to change other people.
If you are an introvert reading this, just remember- you’re not alone, you’re not weird & there is nothing wrong with you for being an introvert. There are plenty of us out there, but you may not know it as we’re most likely spending time alone in our own homes… lol