I’m an introvert. I’ve figured that out on my own. I was always told I was “shy”, but after much evaluation of introverts and extroverts over the years, it became clear to me which one I was. Sometimes, I feel like introverts are really misunderstood, because most of the population is extroverted. I’ve assembled my ideas down below into my own words and I’ve added quotes throughout the post just to give a glimpse of what being an introvert is like…
1. I’m not necessarily shy. I’m doing a lot of listening, thinking, and observing. I’m trying to phrase my ideas before speaking up. Just because I don’t raise my voice doesn’t automatically make me shy. I just feel like I don’t have anything particularly useful to share at the moment and would rather keep quiet than talk to say nothing.
2. Again, I’m not always shy. If I know you well, if you’ve gained my trust, if I’m comfortable with you, then I will talk with you, laugh with you, share things with you. I can be funny and I can be loud. It all depends on how close we are. I can be the quietest with one person, and appear outgoing with the next.
3. I don’t like small talk, but I enjoy deep conversations. Small talk with strangers is very nerve-wracking. I can’t keep the conversation going, because it doesn’t feel like theres much to say and it all feels very fake. But when it comes to talking in depth about things extroverts may not think often about, I’m a lot more comfortable and we could go on for hours.
4. I’d much rather be listening to a conversation than being a part of one. This is especially true in a large group. I feel like I benefit more anyways from listening to others discuss, because it allows me to think and process the information. For this reason, I dislike participating in meetings, group discussions, and seminars. Lectures are a lot easier on me.
5. I prefer writing over talking. Writing assignments have always been easier than orals, reflecting with a pen and paper has always been easier than sharing my reflections to group, answering questions on a sheet have always been easier than answering them out loud.
6. A small group of close friends over a large group of acquaintances. I am way more comfortable spending time with just 2 or 3 people I know well, that are close to me, than spending time with 10 people who I barely know. Socializing is just a lot smoother and easier one-on-one than with many people.
7. I won’t tell you when things aren’t going well for me. Ninety-eight percent of the time, I don’t go up to ask for help, because I feel like I have no reason to bother others with my problems – they already have problems of their own. When people ask me “how are you?”, I’ll say “I’m ok”. I give them that chance to wonder why I’m not “good” and check up on me, but I won’t say “I’m bad”, because that feels too much like asking for help.
8. I get tired and overwhelmed by the outgoingness of others. I’m not loud for starters, but when I get worn out by all the energy given off by others, I’m even more quiet. I like to sense some silence and calmness, so when it’s everything but silent and calm for an extended period of time, I get pretty overwhelmed and worn out.