Being an introvert has both it’s perks and disadvantages, probably much like it it is to be an extrovert or anybody else, for that matter.
There are different levels of introversion, and the way it manifests will vary from person to person. I consider myself to be a fairly functional introvert, which I believe to be somewhere in the middle. Essentially, it means I prefer not to be at a party having to make small talk, but I can uncomfortably deal with it (wallflower-style), if I have to.
For the curious:
- I do have some anxiety.
- I am not a shy person.
- I am an INFJ and HSP.
- I am open to some new experiences.
- I try and challenge myself daily.
Being an introvert allows me to be completely comfortable with being alone with my thoughts and feelings, so my head is free to “roam about the cabin” without judgment. My mind tends to drift a lot, and I have a great imagination, but this ability is also vital to sorting out my own feelings, making major decisions, and finding solutions to problems that arise. I also need time alone to recharge, rethink, and reflect. It’s like breathing for me, and it’s usually when my best ideas and inspirations come to me.
The truth is, being an introvert, I just don’t need the outside stimulation that others do. I get plenty of it in my own head and in what I choose to do with my time, which is usually pretty mellow, so there’s a high probability that I’ll say “no” to your next party invitation because, honestly, I’d rather be reading a good book, watching an independent film, daydreaming, or writing my next blog post. I still love you, though.
And, if I do decide to attend the party or gathering, I will likely be off playing with a child or family pet out of the way of the main event, or distracting myself with food at the party table. I may even leave early…and you may or may not know that I’ve left (ghosting).
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
The downside of this introverted thought process for me is that it can be slow when I need a quick answer, and it can become pretty dark. My thoughts can get heavy, as “looking inward” can turn into constant worry, dark thoughts, and can breed negative feelings and depression. It can be hard for me to pull out of these intense emotions that can be created solely through the introvert’s often complicated and thorough thought process.
Because of how useful my alone time is for me, I like to be by myself a lot. People think that I’m either boring or lonely, but I’m really neither of those things. I go on road trips, meet up with friends (usually one at a time) for lunch, explore my town (love the farmer’s market and lake) regularly, and attend shows here and there. I like to explore and learn, especially in nature.
Being an introvert means I usually don’t talk much, unless I’m in my element. My element is a close friend, one-on-one, or when I’m with family. When I’m not with a close friend or family – like in the same room – my inclination to communicate declines significantly. I’m much worse when it comes to the phone, and I’m sorry to those of you I have ignored or “forgotten” to call back. Texting or email is more my vibe.
My natural quietness is usually construed by others as social anxiety or shyness, disinterest, superiority, depression or rudeness, but chances are I’m probably off in my head about something. In social situations, I usually keep to myself, and avoid creating any kind of controversy or conflict. You won’t hear any discussion on religion or politics from this girl.
Also, silence is golden. Being an introvert, I crave it. It may just be me, but it’s the only way I can focus, in silence.
I feel like I have a limited reserve of energy, so I have to choose carefully where I spend it. Some things take more energy than I want to give, like large parties, family get togethers, and concerts. All that stimulation is mentally exhausting for me, so I may bail early (introverts almost always have an escape plan).
Afterwards, I will likely feel like curling up in the fetal position and sinking into the depths of my couch, not talking to anyone for awhile. Even a really long, but thoroughly enjoyable, conversation with one person can take my energy reserve down to nothing.
I usually “recharge” with time alone, like a hot bath, reading a book, going for a long walk, meditating or breathing exercises, and sometimes focused writing. Being alone with my thoughts and feelings recharges me, and I can just relish in the silence I’ve created in my own space.
If you’re a an introvert, or know one, chances are that you also know how much we dislike small talk. Why are we so averse to small talk? It feels shallow and cumbersome, and usually doesn’t go anywhere interesting. It feels like a waste of time because I’m not really learning anything real about the person.
I only like to speak when I have something important to say. Being an introvert fills me with the need to connect, so the only conversations worth having are those that lead to life stories, dreams and aspirations, and intimate details.
I love deep, think deep – I live deep.
Because I avoid small talk, large crowds, and I’m in my 40s, it can be especially difficult to for me to meet new people. I only have a small handful of close friends, but that’s because I’m very selective about who I spend time with, and it’s with those I trust implicitly and who at least try to understand me.
Introverts aren’t always sure how to get the ball rolling, but we do want to connect, and usually on a deep and personal level.
And, just for the record, introverts do like people…certain people, and not a lot at one time, but we like them.
What is being an introvert like?
Being an introvert is like being anyone else, in the sense that there is always a good side a bad side. All personalities have advantages and drawbacks. That’s just how people are.
I think we just like what we like and don’t like what we don’t like. I don’t like crowds, so I avoid most of them. I don’t like small talk or chatting on the phone, so I skip lame parties with strangers and text instead. An extrovert would do what he or she likes and not do what they don’t like. Introverts and extroverts just have different likes and dislikes.
Overall, we introverts have a few close friends that we hang out with on occasion, we think a LOT, we’ll probably notice your new haircut, we like to be on our own to recharge, and we’re fairly intelligent people who love deep and meaningful conversation.
So if you want to talk about the meaning of life, I’m your gal. If you want to talk about the weather or health insurance, not so much.
Introversion takes many forms, so although there are some differences from one to the next, we’re all pretty similar at our core and require alone time to recharge, overthink, and nap.
I know it’s difficult to put yourself out there (believe me), but know that we are very interested and would never judge. We’d love to hear from you in the comments – we want to know MORE about your inner workings!