I recently read a book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. The title is self explanatory. I think that we all know (or have an idea) of what being an introvert means.
I will let the introverts think about this for a minute and the extroverts talk about it among themselves excitedly.
As a kid, I lived inside my own head much of the time. (I still do.)
I never enjoyed group activities, like Girl Scouts. I went to one meeting before I told my mom that I had no desire to attend again. I wanted to be in my own room playing with my Barbies, reading Little House on the Prairie for the 20th time or playing lava carpet with my little brother.
When I made a friend, I didn’t want to share that friend. I liked one on one time with them, but once you started adding more people to the mix, I became uncomfortable in my own skin and would shut down. I hated slumber parties for this reason.
When someone would finally notice that I wasn’t actively engaging in the conversation, they would ask me if I was okay.
Well, shit. Not really.
Although as I got older, I learned how to entertain myself. I stared off into space, tried to find an animal to pet, or just simply listened to the extroverts talking animatedly with each other, wishing that I could be like them.
I would dream that when I spoke, everyone would stop and listen to me. What was wrong with me? I was funny, smart and had witty things to say. I could carry an intelligent conversation with the right person.
You know, alone with that person.
I have a low voice and often people will ask, “What, I didn’t hear you?”
Must I repeat myself? Do you know how hard it is to actually talk in front of more than one or two people? It takes all that I have just to muster up the lady balls and it ain’t easy, man.
It’s more than being shy. It is a personalty trait, passed down to me from my father. Now, that man had mastered the art of enjoying his own company and being true to who he was. And he was funny, funny as hell. Smart and kind too.
After years of punishing myself for being an introvert, I am finally attempting to embrace it. Society tells us that we should all be outgoing, a people person. I even had a therapist when I was a teenager tell me that I needed to get out more, join some clubs.
Of course that made me feel like I was a hermit freak because the idea of doing that made me panic.
I am not energized by being around large groups of people. More often than not, I need to recharge myself afterwards by being alone and doing my own thing. I need to recharge my “people battery” if that makes any sense.
I dislike small talk, yet flourish when having a “real” conversation with a trusted friend or family member.
Yes, introverts get lonely too. We tend to have a small circle of other humans than a large one. I have never in my life had a group of friends who meet at a coffee shop, because I would eventually zone out anyways.
Finally coming to terms with who I am feels so good.
Do you have any thoughts, fellow introverts?
And extroverts, what do you think?