Over the last, I would say, year or so, I’ve started to see that I really am an introvert. Not so shocking, some might say, but to me, the fact that I understand that is huge. I think I’ve finally accepted that and am…ok with it. You see, I have, as many people probably have, always thought of being introverted as a negative thing. It always carried a negative connotation for some reason. I think that comes from the fact that the people everybody notices are almost always extroverts, and so introverts sort of gain this stigma of being loners or anti-social or boring. That’s a trait that I’ve come to realize in the not-so-distant past that has been one of my biggest insecurities—to be labeled or thought of as boring. I’m not really sure why I have always been insecure about that. But to hear from someone that I am boring is one of the worst things that I can think of hearing about myself. Weird, I know, but true. So this is probably why I have been so reluctant to accept my introverted self. And to be completely honest, I’m beginning to like the fact that I’m introverted. It takes so much pressure off of me to try and fit in to this extroverted world. “Fit in” may not be the best choice of words there. I guess it just feels good to be who I am. “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” St. Francis de Sales said that.
A word about introverts. Well, about me anyway. Some may say I’m shy when they first meet me. I wouldn’t say I’m shy; I just usually don’t talk unless I actually have something to say. Also, I’m not much of an “approacher.” However, if I’m spoken to, I’m more than willing to talk back and interact in a half-normal way, I think. And if I get talking about something that interests me, I can definitely talk. This is true when I first meet people (not outright talking to anybody and everybody who will listen), but it’s also true when I’m in large groups of people that I do know. I actually enjoy observing people interact. Also, I’m not dependent on human interactions. That is, I can be perfectly fine spending the whole day by myself—reading, writing, people-watching, nature-watching, thinking, whatever. Perfectly fine. In fact, if I don’t get the opportunity to do this after so long, I start to get antsy and have that “I need to get away” feeling. Again, it’s not that I don’t like people—not at all. In fact, I love people—it’s just that I need alone time too. Time to process and “recharge.” Even if it’s just for an hour or two. It really makes a world of a difference. Constantly being around people takes so much out of me. However, especially spiritually speaking, I know the importance of community and being in relationship with others. I try to have at least a few friends or a group that plays this part in my life.
The thing about me is that I’m not one to make lifelong friends with everyone I meet. I’ll be polite and friendly to just about everyone, but I can usually tell if I’m going to be close friends with someone within the first few interactions with him or her. I will honor those friendships and keep them close. And to those who I don’t become good friends with, there’s hardly ever anything “wrong” with them. I really have nothing against them; I just know I’m going to gel well with someone pretty quickly. I’m also not shy about being open and transparent about myself. Just get me in the right setting with the right people, and I’ll talk. I value transparency and honesty. I’m not interested in surface-level fluff. And trust me, I can tell the difference.
There’s so much more that goes along with all of this, but I’m still in the process of discovering all that makes up who I am and what about me I manufactured as a means to fit in. But I can tell you, the more I find out about myself, the more I like myself. Not in a narcissistic way; I guess I’m just becoming more comfortable and really enjoying my own skin.
As a disclaimer, this doesn’t describe me all day, every day, 100% of the time. There are exceptions to almost anything and everything. I’ve actually been working on this off and on for the last week or so, and I keep coming up with a small exception here and a small exception there, but for the most part, I would say this describes me pretty well.
I saw this on a good friend and fellow writer’s blog a while back, and I thought it gave really good insight into understanding introverts. I can tell you right off the bat, based on these myths, again, I’m not a “textbook” introvert, but I can definitely relate to the majority of these.