Yes, I’m an introvert.
I love staying home. I loathe big groups and parties. I hate small talk.
I’ll wait in line at the self-checkout for ten minutes rather than breeze through a regular lane and engage in casual chit-chat about my day with the cashier.
Growing up as an introvert, even beyond college, I was constantly labeled as being shy. I remember once when a former co-worker said to me “but you’re so shy!” When I responded, confused why he thought so, he said that I went straight to my office every morning without stopping to chat with anyone.
In all honesty, it never occurred to me to stop and chat with anyone because I had nothing that I needed to chat with them about.
It doesn’t occur to introverts to stop and see how an acquaintances day is. Or ask how they are doing. Or to find out what they did that weekend. It’s not that we don’t care about people. Small talk just doesn’t make sense to us. We view communication strictly as a means of exchanging necessary information. Exchanging casual niceties is not our strong suit.
The only exception is when we are around those closest to us, those that we actually feel an internal connection to. In fact, many introverts actually become extroverts when they are around the right people.
Introverts are often labeled as loners. Boring. Rude. Stuck-up. Shy. Lonely.
In actuality, each and every single one of these labels is unfair. Introverts aren’t loners, we’re simply selective of who we surround ourselves with.
Introverts value quality over quantity. We’d rather have two or three people that we can bare our souls to than a room full of friendly acquaintances.
And while extroverts may find the typical introvert lifestyle “boring” it can be argued that introverts feel the same of the extrovert lifestyle.
Introverts often get labeled as stuck-up or rude for the same reasons that my co-worker thought I was shy. We may offer a smile or a hello, but we typically won’t be the ones to strike up a conversation. This is often misinterpreted by extroverts as being rude.
Introverts also aren’t shy or lonely. We enjoy time alone. We prefer quiet activities.
Honestly, for an introvert there is no lonelier place than in a room full of people we barely know.
Introverts carry a heavy burden.
We are consistently forced outside of our comfort zones in order to ensure the comfort of others.
Introverts typically learn at a young age how to be accepted by extroverts. We say yes to things that we don’t want to do to avoid hurting others feelings. We engage in small talk at social gatherings because that is what is socially acceptable. We pretend to enjoy all of the things that extroverts enjoy.
Honestly, it’s pretty easy to lose “yourself” as an introvert.
Most extroverts believe that they are the ones with a “normal” personality and that introverts have something “wrong” with them. But that is only because the introvert lifestyle does not make sense to them. It’s much easier for an introvert to understand how someone could enjoy going out and having fun with lots of people, than it is for an extrovert to understand how sitting home alone could be desirable.
The truth is, true extroverts can just keep going. They can be surrounded by people for extended periods of time and not burn out.
Introverts need time. We need space. We need to have alone time in order to breathe. Introverts spend a lot of time in their own minds. We are deep thinkers. We analyze people. We analyze situations. We constantly analyze our thoughts. Our minds are much busier than the minds of extroverts and we need this quiet time in order to deal with life itself.
It wasn’t until recently that I actually realized how common it is to be an introvert.
In the very first study of its kind, Myers-Briggs found that introverts actually make up more than half of the population at 50.7 percent while extroverts are around 49.3 percent. It’s highly likely that many of these outgoing people you know are actually introverts who are trying desperately to fit in with all of the so-called extroverts that society deems “normal.”
It appears to be a common misconception that introverts are a minority.
Yes, I’m an introvert.
No, there is nothing wrong with me.