I am an introvert.
Most people don’t realize that about me. I have no problem meeting new people. I enjoy spending time with friends. I can talk to strangers. I have what you would call “good social skills.” So when I tell people that I’m an introvert, the main response I get is “but you’re not shy!” Although many people associate introvertedness with shyness, not all of us are actually shy.
I don’t think anyone I know would call me shy.
But what does being an introvert mean? In a simplistic nutshell, it means we feel drained after being around other people and need time alone to recharge. In comparison, an extrovert is energized by interactions with people and tends to prefer stimulating environments.
This is what being an introvert means to me:
- After a day at work where I’m surrounded by other people (and noises, lights, and smells), I need a quiet and peaceful location to relax and recharge.
- I’m easily distracted by noises and movement. And I can become overwhelmed with too much stimulation. Going to a shopping mall, particularly at the holidays with all the many sights, sounds, and smells is just too much for me (which is why you rarely see me at a mall, and never at the holidays). Internet shopping must have been invented by an introvert.
- Going to an event, like concert or party, takes a great effort on my part. So I selectively choose what events I attend. And when I do decide to go, I have to remind myself beforehand that the event will be fun. (I have backed out of going to events because I’ve been overcome with anxiety of just the thought of being around too many people.)
I have a constant stream of inner dialogue happening in my mind. If I seem distracted, it’s because there’s a whole world going on in my head, including past conversations, potential future conversations, quotes (sometimes they pop up like that VH1 pop-up video show), poetry, potential blogs, new story ideas, and the inner jukebox that plays songs that often fit my mood.
- I dislike talking on the phone and screen my calls. Again, I’m sure that it was an introvert who invented email, texting, and online appointment scheduling.
- I can spend hours reading. As a child, I read for hours, and when my mom would yell at me to go outside and play, I’d simply take my books outside and continue reading. I get lost in books and can spend hours in magical worlds (hence my preference for the fantasy genre). So while it may seem that I’m often alone, I’m rarely lonely.
- I’m not big on chitchat, but I love a good conversation about ideas and passions. I can talk for hours about books, politics, sociology, geek stuff, animals, etc. I’m probably one of the few people who can say I’ve gotten into a discussion on eastern political philosophy whilst at a dance club.
- And although I love a deep discussion, I communicate better in writing than in conversation.
- I spend a lot of time in self-reflection and self-discovery.
So I admit, I am an introvert. And like a true introvert, I prefer to be by myself and away from people. Because it’s true: we’re here, we’re uncomfortable, and we want to go home.
Are you an introvert? Do you share any of these traits with me? Tell me in the comments below.
Follow my Pinterest introvert board here.