Introverts all over the world, unite!

“Many introverts feel there’s something wrong with them, and try to pass as extroverts. But whenever you try to pass as something you’re not, you lose a part of yourself along the way. You especially lose a sense of how to spend your time. Introverts are constantly going to parties and such when they’d really prefer to be home reading, studying, inventing, meditating, designing, thinking, cooking…or any number of other quiet and worthwhile activities.”

How this struck a chord. It’s a quote from an interview with Dr Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in Scientific American.

I am an introvert. Born as one and it is who I am now. Sadly, introversion is often misunderstood as shyness.

“Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, while introversion is simply the preference for less stimulation. Shyness is inherently uncomfortable; introversion is not.”

Sometimes I’d drop by my local cafe to be on my own. Away from the children, husband and other pressing domestic matters such as unwashed dishes in the sink. I do a runner from grown-up responsibilities basically. Many of my friends live in the area and it’s natural to bump into a familiar face. Most of the time my face is stuck in a book, newspaper or reading matter of some sort. A friend pops in for a coffee, sees you, comes over, starts chatting. It’s only polite to ask them to join me – I’ll admit that it’s sometimes tempting to keep my mouth zipped. A rising disappointment spreads all over my chest and neck as I put my book/newspaper/magazine/whatever away.

“We are not anti-social; we’re differently social. I can’t live without my family and close friends, but I also crave solitude.”

The world we live in today is more suited to extroverts than introverts. Social networking is demanding, with Twitter, Facebook and email all screaming to be fed on the hour. Success as a fully functioning individual in our digital world is one who collaborates, connects and chats. But periods of solitude is important for me. Not just personally, but also for my work as a journalist and writer. Ideas need time to gestate before gelling into something that can be worked on.

I’d say I spend about 20% of my time each day (sometimes less) online. After a few hours of disconnection, sometimes days, I dip back in. My Twitter and Facebook timelines buzzing with conversations and activity. It’s a 24 hour party and woe upon the one who stops dancing from time to time. I have to choose the right moment to cut back in to the dance. For no one ‘likes’ a friend who randomly disappears then reappears.

How do you navigate your way through our noisy and always connected world?
Are you an introvert pretending to be an extrovert?
I’d like to hear from you.

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6 thoughts on “Introverts all over the world, unite!

  1. The idea of 24 hours on my own just fills me with joy. I love, love, love my friends and family and socialising with them, but I draw my energy from within, I need my space to recharge my batteries!

  2. Hi, I just found your blog while searching for what other people were saying about introverts.

    I am most definitely an introvert. I had thought that there was something wrong with me before I figured that out. I am confident, I love people, I function well socially – but it drains me and more than anything, I need to take time out to recharge. I worry sometimes that my friends or colleagues think I am anti-social when I leave early, or go to read in a quiet place rather than joining my colleagues in our common room at lunch. Its great to know that I’m not alone in this. I’ll definitely be having a look at that book.

    • I’ve discovered there are lots of introverts out there. Quite a lot of them often masquerading as extroverts. So fear not, you are in good company and certainly not alone.

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