Like so many things in life, introversion and extroversion are not absolutes. They exist on a spectrum, a sliding scale. Most people fall more towards one side or the other, but can identify elements of themselves that are not necessarily associated with their dominant personality trait.
In my case, however, that sliding scale is pushed far over to the introvert side. Like, really far. I’m pretty much as close to a pure introvert as you can get. And, I’m cool with that. But the bad news is the world isn’t really structured around the strengths and needs of introverts. So I’ve tried to adapt the best I can. I can get by out among the extroverts and ambiverts (those falling in the middle of the scale) for a short time. But my true nature can’t be ignored forever.
This constant struggle to be a “normally” functioning human, i.e. extroverted, creates a strange tension in my life where I sometimes feel like I’m putting on an act. It can also lead to a lot of frustration and confusion with new and old acquaintances alike. Notice I said acquaintances. The people I call friends know these things about me, and carry on being my friend anyway. Thanks, friends!
But, anyway, for those of you who want an explanation for my annoying habits, I’ve put together this handy list.
I’m an introvert, y’all. Don’t hate.
1. You just want to sit at home all day. Some people say I’m a hermit. If a hermit means I like the safe confines of my carefully curated abode where everything is just how I like it, and I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, than yes, I am most definitely a hermit.
2. You never call. I don’t really like talking on the phone. Whenever possible I will write an email or text. Don’t take it personally. I just can’t stand phone conversations unless they serve a specific purpose. If I want to catch up I’ll do it in person where I can see your face and make a personal connection, but I’ll set that meeting up via Messenger, k?
3. You’re always the first to say it’s time to go. Contrary to popular belief I do go to social functions. I even enjoy them. But I have a limited amount of energy to expend on these gatherings. Large ones exhaust me faster than smaller ones. If I’m usually the first to say I have to go, it’s not because I’m not having a good time. It’s just that I know when I need a break to recharge.
4. Being in the same room together doesn’t mean we are hanging out. One of my favorite ways to spend time with someone is just to exist in an easy quiet, where no one is expecting conversation and people are engaged in things they love to do . For me, that is one of the best ways to be with others.
5. You’re never okay with spontaneous social gatherings. “We have a couple of hours to spare. Want to go over to so-and-so’s house?” Not really. “Someone’s in the neighborhood and wants to drop by.” But I don’t have my bra on, so no. I’m not trying to be mean, I just need prep time. It’s like game day; I need to get in the right frame of mind.
6. You never want to go shopping together. I enjoy shopping, but I like to go on my own, take my time, go to the stores I want to go to, and not feel any pressure to come out of the dressing room to show people what I’ve tried on. Nor do I want to comment on how good or bad those jeans make your ass look.
7. You never initiate get-togethers. This happens for two interrelated reasons. The first is that if I have to leave the comfort of home I want it to be worth it, and I’m afraid there will be too much pressure to interact and I won’t have fun. The second is that I am afraid you feel the same way and that a get-together with me wouldn’t be worth it to you. Introverts want to be liked too. We’re not total misanthropes.
8. You never want to play a pick up game of volleyball or join a rec team. Sorry, I believe in the benefits of being physically fit, but I’ll stick with individual sports, a nice run, or a long walk. All those people counting on me to not mess up or score a point? No, thanks! I’ll just watch. Or better yet, sit on the sidelines and stare at the clouds. Daydream believer right here.
9. You’re always trying to make the conversation deep and meaningful. “Can’t we just talk about the weather, celebrity gossip, who won Dancing with the Stars?” No. I want to know what makes you tick, what your greatest desires are, what you’re passionate about. I don’t like small talk. I like big ideas, deep feelings. Tell me about yourself. No, seriously, tell me everything.
10. You make it so hard to get to know the real you. I’ll admit I’m not the most open person, but if you’re persistent I will show you what a good friend I can be. If you promise to be patient and understanding, I promise to be kind, loyal, respectful, and even fun to be around sometimes. I know, wonders never cease.
Image credit: Fast Company