This may come as quite a stunner to you, so please have a seat or hang on to something, I am an Introvert. Let that sink in for a moment, as your heart rate and breathing recover from that shocking revelation. A sip of coffee or tea would be acceptable about now.
Most of my life, I have been aware of this fact, but wasn’t really able to understand what it meant. I was told I was “stuck-up” because I wasn’t gregarious and loud. I was thought to be “odd” because I preferred the company of a few people rather than a group (or herd or gaggle or glaring). As far as I was concerned, there were only three types of people: Friends (who are close and few), Acquaintances (those with whom I would be polite and courteous, but not permit to get too close), and Strangers (those whom I would acknowledge with a nod or wave but little more).
It’s not that I didn’t like people (although some people I would rather enjoy life without), because I truly do like people. Okay, most people. Well, to be completely honest, only some people. I don’t enjoy social gatherings much; rather, I enjoy a quiet evening with perhaps a couple of people. Sporting events, for me, are to be watched from a recliner with snacks, or read about on the internet tomorrow.
Now, just because I’m an introvert in no way means I am missing out on any part of life. I simply enjoy life in a different way. Introverts love to laugh. We have ideas and opinions. We usually speak when we have something to say, not merely to fill the silence with noise. Introverts enjoy elevator rides for the simple reason that most people will FINALLY shut the hell up when the doors close. When I wander off to my favorite hiding place, I tend to read. If someone sits next to me and insists on chattering, thank you for ruining my little outing.
Introverts aren’t lepers. We’re people and we’re normal. We can be outspoken if we need to be, but we process our thoughts differently. We can smile, work the crowd, and even be in the spotlight; but we find such things tedious and exhausting. If I must “mix and mingle” then, trust me, I will need some peace and quiet to recover. Those who know me know that I tend to get grumpy if I am concentrating and get interrupted. They also know that until I have had quiet time in the morning, I am absolutely cranky and irritable.
Those who think introverts should just “come out of their shell” or “get over it” are complete idiots!
Here are a few things I have discovered on a website dedicated to Introverts:
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
So……sing it with me: “I’m an Introvert and I’m okay……”