5 Things I Learned From Being an Introvert
Ah, an introvert. There are so many misconceptions about introverted people but once you get to know us, you will truly love us. Below are 5 things I learned from my experience as an introvert.
1. I’m Not Shy, I’m An Introvert
Even though I’m well into adulthood, I can remember what elementary and secondary school was like. I’ve always been an introvert. I loved learning, still do, but it’s always been hard for me to “fit in.” Books were my friends and while I had associates, I wasn’t too concerned with keeping a huge amount of friends. It could be that I’m getting up in age and my memories have changed a bit. The more plausible excuse would be that I was so used to being alone as a child that I didn’t actually feel like I was alone.
Make sense? 😐 Who knows!
The point I was attempting to make in that short ramble session is that I was a kid who was okay with being alone. I grew into an adult that is okay with being alone and in fact, I gain my energy from this. Unfortunately, some would call me everything other than what I am and that is an introvert. Often-times people use introvert to describe someone who is shy but that isn’t always the case. I will admit that sometimes shyness can coincide with a person who is introverted, but the to shouldn’t be confused as the same.
People may mistake introverts with being shy due to the fact that most, like myself, don’t feel the need to mingle in large groups, like our extroverted pals. Sometimes if I’m in a large group for an extended amount of time, I can seriously feel my body’s energy drain. It’s almost as if my body is seeking its resting period. Once I remove myself from that type of setting, my body snaps back into normalcy. I used to mistake myself with being shy but as I grew into an adult, I realized I preferred being alone – doing things alone, not because I had a fear of being around people, but I really enjoyed my time alone. And as the years went by, I became more and more comfortable with the fact that being an introvert was okay.
2. I May Not Have a Lot of Friends, But I Am Friendly 😀
Today, someone called me friendly. I was temporarily shocked because I don’t think anyone has ever called me friendly to my face. I’ve been called everything but friendly and even some of my friends call me mean, but that’s because I am bluntly truthful with them. Hearing my co-worker describe me as friendly was shocking because I’ve never thought as myself as friendly. I would describe myself as nice but I tend to associate the word friendly with bubbly, and I’m not bubbly – or at least that’s my perception of myself.
My co-worker explained that she always sees me speaking to people even if I don’t know them, and it’s always done with a smile. I realized that I didn’t notice this about myself because it is a part of who I am. Personally, I take issue with walking by someone and not acknowledging their presence. What I’m not good at is small talk, which I am working on it. But many have described me as the female version of Larry David’s character in Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I don’t disagree.
3. I’m a Bookworm 🙂
I don’t know where I inherited this from but I am so thankful for it. Of course as a child I didn’t know that reading would increase my writing skills but it did. I only knew that I loved jumping into stories and I could easily read a book within a day. Reading increased my writing skills, which made me want to read and write more. Writing was ow I expressed myself as a child and I used it to let out so many frustrations of a sad, sometimes depressed, and sometimes “in love” youth.
Walking into a library and inhaling that big whiff of “book smell” was/is the best. I love the smell of books. My favorite are the older books where the feel of the paper is little rough but you can hear the pages turning. Ah, it’s amazing. Being a bookworm helped me navigate my creative thoughts. Trust me, when I express how weird my ideas get when attempting to write something and there’s not a single person in the room who agrees, but when I’m reading something like a fantasy vampire novel or a book about dragons, witches, and other worlds, I feel right at home. I’m able to place myself into the reading which makes reading the book a lot more fun.
4. Dating is Hard 😕
I’ve learned from personal experience that dating an extroverted person doesn’t work for me. Someone that is always at the center of the group wouldn’t gel nicely with my personality. They would bore quickly with my inability to embrace those types of interactions. Unfortunately, I’ve only met one person that could somewhat match my introverted nature but it didn’t work out. Sucks because we were odd together which made it normal, and it was nice.
Unfortunately, the current dating culture isn’t so kind. Therefore, I don’t date. Purely a choice I made after careful consideration, and it turns out to be the best choice. If I force myself to date, it becomes a horrible chore that I’m not willing to complete. I must admit that sometimes, not a lot, but there have been moments where I wished I slightly a bit of an extrovert.
5. Family Members Will Judge 🙄
When I was on an extended absence from work, my sister would always find ways to squeeze in encouragements for me to “go outside.” She tried to cover it up with concern for me going “stir-crazy” but I was totally fine. The problem wasn’t me; it was her, because she couldn’t understand how I was so comfortable with being alone. The sheer thought of me being alone and okay with it made my sister cringe. I had to explain to her that when she tried to force me out of the house it was irritating and I would be no fun to anyone.
This happens a lot with my family. As mentioned earlier, I have three children. One is an extreme extrovert, one is a mild extrovert, and the other is an introvert. The one thing they have in common is that they believe I need to get out of the house. I slightly blame this on the fact that they are still young and they haven’t yet identified themselves as being extroverted or introverted. They don’t know what these terms mean, even if they have heard them, so when they see Mommy mapping out her new idea on the whiteboard, quietly reading a book on the couch, becoming engrossed in one of the many “a-dramas” (Asian Dramas for those who aren’t familiar), or working out in the living room as opposed to going to the gym where I hold a membership, they are a little perplexed.
Explaining to family members why I don’t “hang out” more often used to be challenging but now I don’t care. I get straight to the point when someone invites me to go somewhere that I already know I am not up for. I don’t give unclear answers – I give an honest “No.” My Mother calls me sensitive, my Father calls me secluded, my youngest sister says I’m married to my home, and my kids just go along with it now. I stopped giving explanations because no matter how much I explain, if you’re not an introvert, it’ll be difficult to grasp. That’s perfectly okay but I choose not to exert the energy in attempting to bring my family into my introverted side 😉
And of course we all love each other, so no harm no foul. That’s just part of my life as being an introvert
For my introverted readers: What are some things you learned from living as an introverted person?