Quit telling me to “live a little.” As an introvert, I feel the most alive and wildly free in my own company.
Let me be the first one to admit that being an introvert in a world full of extroverts can be quite a task! We may feel lost, out of place, and misunderstood… but all we need is some time away from the alien world full of people, and we’re back to winning at life (preferably, inside the safety of our bedrooms). We might be wired differently, but we’re certainly not less-than, isn’t that right, my fellow introverts?
Having said that, extroverts tend to be of the opinion that introverts don’t have a lot to say, but oh wow… Between us, introverts, I have so much to say to the world — and had I been an outgoing person, I probably would have said it all by now. Nonetheless, since we have a unique way of going about things, I’ve come up with a list of “secrets” — so to speak — that I would want the masses to know (ideally without any unwanted attention directed toward me). As you know, we introverts tend to like the comfort of communicating through the curtain of a screen better.
On that note, let’s get right into it. As an introvert, I am certain you will be able to relate to at least half of these points, as well as to the awkward stories from the movie known as “my life.” On the contrary, if you are an extrovert, welcome to our humble abode — your introvert friends might not say it, but they’re glad you’re here.
10 Secrets of an Introvert Living in an Extrovert World
1. Yes, I do get lonely sometimes.
I know, as an introvert, I am always going on about how I would prefer my own little space away from the world, but a person’s got to have some kind of social life. After all, there’s a difference between being lonely and being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t host a house party (shudders) due to my loneliness, but hey, a hot cup of hot chocolate with my best friends wouldn’t hurt. So, yes, I would like to be invited to the pool party next weekend (though no promises about actually showing up).
2. For me, “breaking the ice” conversations don’t exactly break the ice.
Okay, small talk and I will never go hand-in-hand. I mean, I probably wouldn’t be able to strike up a conversation with someone for the life of me. I do want to know about your cat’s favorite food, but I’m afraid I might not have any interesting additions to make to the conversation. And it’s not just about cat food — I often find my tongue knotted in the middle of any casual conversation, especially one that includes people I just met two awkward nods back. I speak on behalf of all introverts when I say: We don’t mean to come off as rude, but this is just about as loosened up as we can get.
3. If you see me “using” my phone at a party, I’m probably just admiring my screensaver (or reading an ebook).
I’ve honestly lost count of the number of phone calls I’ve faked at social gatherings. To really sell it, I even make a surprised face now and then. This one time, I went to a high school party, and I kid you not, I finished reading an entire ebook on my cell phone! And, not surprisingly, that was the best social hangout I’ve ever been a part of.
4. Please don’t sing “Happy Birthday” to me.
Hands down, is there anything worse than a bunch of people singing Happy Birthday as you stand beside the birthday cake and mouth thank-yous to everyone? As a matter of fact, this is undoubtedly the fastest way to drain my social battery for a minimum of the next three weeks. A better idea would be to perhaps simply text your introverted friends a cheery happy birthday message. Or write us a personal note. Trust me, we’d be just as glad, if not more.
5. Nighttime is my favorite time of day.
For me, nothing compares to the feeling of solitude at night. I can quietly be my true self, and for a while, jump into my daydreaming (or dream) world and pretend that is the only reality that exists. Ah, even the thought alone is enough to make me long for the moon to come out. It feels as though the world truly is my stage and I was born to rule it (all within the 12 hours of the night!) because I feel extremely recharged due to the silence around me.
It’s comforting knowing my phone won’t ring either, reminding me of the fact that other people live on this planet. And don’t even get me started with the relief of not having to hold a dry, small-talk-based conversation. In a world full of extroverts, does it honestly get any better? Yes, probably, but you get the idea.
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6. I often rehearse what I’ll say before any type of conversation.
Honestly, how do people just make spontaneous phone calls at a moment’s notice? I need at least a good 15 minutes to rehearse beforehand, and even then, I usually prefer emailing. After all, it’s the least demanding method of communication I can think of.
Would you be surprised if I said I rehearse before calling and ordering a pizza — probably even more so than I imagine Steve Jobs would have before launching his first product? If you’re an introvert at heart, I’m sure you can relate.
I’ll also rehearse before more formal events, like a work presentation. I imagine confidently walking to the stage and introducing myself, “Hey, my name is Asma, and I’m here to talk about why water conservation is important…”
But this is what it actually sounds like when I’ve confidently walked to the stage: “Hey, I am water conservation and I’m here to talk about xyz…”
Yep, sounds about perfect, doesn’t it? (What a nightmare.) But instead of giving up, I’ll keep rehearsing even more.
7. Given the wrong drink or food order? Works for me! (I’d rather not make a fuss and send it back.)
You could put my least favorite condiment inside a sandwich before handing it to me and I will still not complain. Instead, I might try to convince myself it’s not that bad. Anything that saves me from unnecessarily exhausting my social battery will do!
One time, an ice cream parlor waitress gave me the wrong order (a mango split instead of a banana split), but guess who just politely nodded at her and dug into the ice cream? Asking for a refund or the correct order? What’s that?
8. I wish people would understand my need to recharge.
I know, it may be a difficult concept for extroverts to grasp, but recharging is a necessity for us introverts. I cannot go out with my friends every day for a week and still have plans for the weekend. I am running on the last bar of my social battery and will shut down any time now. (And I don’t want to suffer from an introvert hangover from too much socializing!)
Instead, what I need is some time with me, myself, and I, far from the population of the world, curled up in a cozy blanket and my favorite series. Doesn’t that sound just like heaven? (If you don’t have an “introvert zen zone” in your home, I suggest creating one — ASAP!)
Once I have recharged, I can take a confident trip down to the grocery store… and back! (Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration, but you get my point.)
9. I hate it when people tell me to “live a little.”
Here’s the thing, I am living, but through different ways and means, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. For me, being alive is to be happy — and I fail to find that happiness in a huge social circle or at karaoke parties. Instead, I feel the most alive and wildly free in my own company (or that of a close friend), all snuggled up in a blanket with an episode of Friends streaming on my laptop (or a murder mystery, depending on how I’m feeling). Our world is just as interesting and beloved to us as yours is to you, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Meg March (from Little Women) said, “Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn’t mean they’re unimportant.” I agree 1000 percent.
10. Please don’t give me solutions when I come up with made-up excuses.
“I’m so sorry, I won’t be able to attend your bachelorette party, my mother’s taking the car out of town.”
“That’s okay, my brother can give you a ride.”
“Oh… I mean… you really don’t have to, though…”
“It’s not a problem, see you there!”
“See you… I guess?”
So that just happened. I understand that you’re trying to be helpful, which I truly appreciate and value. There’s just a teeny tiny problem: Social gatherings exhaust me, and I have run out of my ability to make any more small talk for this entire week… So if I give you a seemingly legitimate reason why I cannot attend something, I hope you accept it and don’t think of a solution for me.
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