The generic definition of introversion to the uninitiated would be a person who is quiet or shy. This is bullshit. Introverts are NOT socially inept and instead prefer to be with their thoughts as opposed to gaining energy from being around others.
Coming from a person who has been berated with phrases like “why are you so quiet?”, “you’re so shy!”, and many more, it is something that you have to become accustomed to when you’re an introvert.
Introversion is a calm pool of water.
It is serene and must be unburdened by excess chaos.
It is fragile. The slightest tremor is enough to cause waves to shatter the peaceful pool.
I am an introvert which means I like my space but not that I prefer being alone all the time. My time in solitude allows me to work, think, and create.
This time is precious to me and I cherish it whenever I get the chance.
Coming from a (culturally) loud family, I frequently feel like the black sheep when I begin to feel overwhelmed as a result of vociferous interactions. So much so, to the point where I am guilt tripped into feeling ashamed for not being able to remain as energized and gregarious as others in my family.
At times, it is necessary for me to step out of the thickness of the jungle of socialization and take time to recharge in my quiet bubble.
A common misconception is that introverts can’t socialize but this is not in any way the case. For me, it is not if I can socialize but for how long and how many people.
For this reason, parties have never been my scene (although, I occasionally fool myself into thinking the next one will go well) and they might never be. However, I normally find myself hanging out with a reasonable number of close friends in an environment that doesn’t overload my senses.
Regardless of how alert I am, if I’m taken to a room full of a shit-ton of people with bombastic sights and sounds engulfing it, then I will inevitably become drained.
I will become drained physically and emotionally.
There is only so much an introvert like myself can take without having to leave the room for some alone time.
It is hard to describe this to others who are not introverted. Seriously, try this when language barriers are involved, like in my case. Some cultures are generally known for being loud and vibrant while other cultures are known to talk loudly in conversation.
For a person like myself who lives with a family who is generally loud, it becomes IMPERATIVE to know when to find time to unwind. Sometimes, the window is very slim which can result in an overload or you flipping your lid!
I understand that the extrovert’s version of this situation involves being drained after prolonged periods without socialization. While introverts create energy by spending time in their bubble, extroverts gain energy by socializing with people around them. Believe me, this part does not escape me .
More to the point, it is often difficult for me to explain my limits to my family without sounding like I’m complaining.
No really, try saying “can you turn that down?” OR “can you leave me alone?” without sounding like a whiny asshole. Pretty hard, right?
Earlier this month, I was at a concert with two of my more extroverted friends. It took some convincing but I’m willing to compromise in the name of experience.
Everything started smoothly enough. My dancing is dog shit so like anyone who is challenged in the ways of dance, I tapped my foot and swayed and after some time, the band left the stage.
“That’s it?” I said, secretly hoping that it was over. Suddenly the group storms out again to raucous applause as it dawns on me that it’s only halfway over. My heart dropped and part of me died that day.
You’re probably thinking that I’m a shitty person to take to a concert. But know that I went because I was invited and I was genuinely trying to enjoy myself as much as possible.
However, I do have limits and the night was beginning to push mine during that second half.
My friends were jamming on either side of me, oblivious to their surroundings and focusing on the music. The fact that they were so consumed by the noise started to leave a bad taste in my mouth.
By the end, I wanted to be anywhere but there (well, not anywhere).
I was exhausted, drained of all emotional reserves. As the concert ended, I strolled off on my own to find myself a nook of solitude.
Walking into the night past energized amoebas of people, I tried to recharge, relax, and think.
We drove home and I was miserable through the entire journey.
I want to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with preferring to avoid crowds and excess socialization. I’ve learned not to be ashamed because crowds, loud parties, and small talk aren’t my scene. Without a doubt, I prefer smaller groups or solitude.
You should never have to change yourself so that you feel excepted by others. If you have introverted qualities, then don’t pretend you’re something that you’re not.
Own up to it.
Here are some interesting pages I found about introversion!