A personal perspective on being an introvert
When you hear the word “introvert”, what type of person comes to mind? There area a lot of misconceptions about being one, and even the dictionary defines it as someone who is antisocial, shy, and awkward.
While I can’t speak for all introverts, as we are as different and complex as everyone else, I can tell you that these misconceptions are not only on the whole incorrect, but potentially damaging to people’s view of themselves and others.
A good friend of mine that I’ve known since we were twelve will occasionally text me with “I think I’m an introvert…”. Usually it’s because she says she doesn’t want to go somewhere or seems to be enjoying staying home alone. I take it upon myself to give her as much information about what being an introvert is like without telling her whether I think she is or not.
Whenever I am explaining introverts to her or anyone else, I normally start with this: Introverts replenish their energy when they are alone. Simple as that. Extroverts tend to gain energy from others,, which is why they seem to need social interaction more than we do. But that is not to say that we don’t like being social. We just like (and often need) our alone time, too.
In my experience, introverts are also more selective about their social interactions, which is perhaps why we get accused of being antisocial sometimes. I have been accused of “not having a life” more times than I can count, simply because I chose not to spend my time with people I didn’t particularly care for. I do think that introverts are a little more sensitive to the energy of others, and oftentimes we choose to socialize with people that don’t suck all of our energy from us (Energy Vampires are a thing, google it).
Because of my sensitivity to the energies of people around me, large groups, parties, and crowds can be difficult at times. Attending a social gathering of this nature (or not attending as the case may be), will often depend on a few factors: Will there be a support squad of like-minded and/or understanding buddies who will help buffer you if you feel overwhelmed? Is the gathering or event something you really want to do? Is there a quiet spot where you can recharge a bit? Being prepared, knowing your limits, and having methods of coping help me and often other introverts make attending things like rock concerts, fairs, museums, and parks an enjoyable experience.
I also find that I and some others I know are generally more selective about the type of activities we engage in. Some people may assume that we don’t like to try new things. I personally just don’t mind opting out of something I am genuinely disinterested in. Most of the introverts I associate with love to explore and try new things, places, food, etc. But what we don’t do is try to bully or manipulate each other in doing anything we are truly not interested in doing. Everyone has there limits, likes, and dislikes. It’s important to respect that. You shouldn’t assume someone “doesn’t do anything” just because they don’t do what you deem as fun.
Sometimes people have also made the assumption that I don’t want to go anywhere. So it may surprise people when they learn my introvert friends and I love travel. The biggest thing I’ve missed during COVID quarantine has been vacations, road trips, and even day trips with the other Adventurers.
Just like every person is different, every introvert is different. But it is important to remember that if you are an introvert, you are not confined to the box other people may try to put you in. You define what being an introvert means to you.