I am a slow learner. For much of my life I believed I was an extrovert. After all, I enjoy time with friends and family. I love a happy hour stop, glass (or four) of wine, and girl chat. I appreciate a good party or dinner out. I volunteer when possible, attend school and sport events. I socialize and subscribe to the adage “the more the merrier.”
But a while back, I stumbled upon an INTROVERT explanation which completely changed my view. The part that stood out? The use of ENERGY.
For while extroverts gain their energy from stimulating events and being surrounded by other people, introverts derive their energy in the quiet moments and by being alone.
It does not mean introverts are anti-social. It simply suggests they tend to lose energy and become drained more easily than extroverts, and as a result require ample time alone to recharge. In addition, introverts typically enjoy the moments spent on their own and gain satisfaction from solitude.
This. Is. Me.
I do well with groups and crowds and nights away from home … I just cannot do a lot of it, especially in a short time. I need to step back, take a break, renew and recharge – alone. Once I do, I am ready to get out again.
I AM AN INTROVERT. Or, more specifically an outgoing introvert!
Of course as a blogger/author who works hour upon hour from home and in isolation, that might seem obvious. In fact, writer often comes up under suggested professions for those who are introverted.
It is also possible I have changed. As we age, it is natural to simplify our time and surroundings. Perhaps my personality shifted when I embraced the concept of MINIMALISM fifteen years ago. Maybe that was the turning point – the one of filling my life with experiences rather than things? But then again, maybe not.
In truth, I am not concerned about why or how I moved toward the category of introvert. What bothers me is that I somehow made myself believe something was wrong with me.
I try not to be busy every day and night of the week. I avoid over-scheduling. I do not organize tons of interesting kid activities or adult gatherings. I am content to spend time at home. I have not mastered the art of keeping up with calls, texts, emails, and social media.
What is wrong with me?
Turns out, nothing is wrong with me. Once I understood what I was and what it meant, I made the decision to spend my time more efficiently and without explanation. My days are now better tailored to my personality.
I intend to live with purpose.
Yes, I still feel judged once in a while, especially when I meet someone new. And I feel left out at times, though it is often by my own design.
When an introvert says no too often, others stop asking. They are not the first to be invited or asked to help. They are not the person others think to call or text. It is easy to feel forgotten or dropped altogether from the friend list. And for an introvert who does not feel comfortable reaching out, this can be upsetting.
Please know, none of this is a sign that you are unlikable or unloved. It is not a measure of your worth or popularity. And above all, it is not rejection. It is simply a reflection on the business of life.
It is not uncommon to internalize these feelings or believe we are the problem. Society is geared to reward those who are more extroverted. And sadly, there are countless articles on managing introversion as if it is a chronic affliction in need of a cure.
You are not broken.
Even still, people with introverted tendencies often feel the need to explain and inevitably apologize. Stop doing that. Now. If you are content with your life, you do not owe an apology. Not to yourself. Not to anyone.
YOU ARE NOT
- unworthy of affection
- too serious
- socially inept
Introversion is a character trait, not a problem to be fixed. Do not feel guilty. Do not feel sorry. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed. BE YOU.
WONDER IF YOU ARE AN INTROVERT?
KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS AN INTROVERT?
They are not a label nor do they fall into one category. Many enjoy conversation, socializing, possess an excellent sense of humor, and are generous, compassionate, and willing to help.
- Be patient
- Give them a break now and then
- Do not pressure
- Avoid guilt trips
- Do not judge their decisions
- Do not try to change them
- Keep extending invitations
- Welcome them into your circle
- Do not make them feel forgotten
- Appreciate the time spent together