I’m an introvert. There, I’ve finally said it! Introvert means a lot of things to a lot of people. It’s become a buzz word lately, social media agog with articles on how to be a successful introvert, how to deal with an introvert partner, how introverts can find love, so on and so forth. I’m beginning to think that I’m a member of a special species now and might get whisked away to a lab at any moment now to be tested and studied. 🙂 I don’t think the designers of the Myers-Briggs test knew when they created it, what a commercialized angle the introvert/extrovert/ambivert classification would take on.
Long before all this hype about introverts began, they already quietly existed in the community. Their near and dear ones knew them and loved them for who they were. Yes, they weren’t the boisterous party planners or successful public speakers or any of the things society wants all of it’s members to be. Instead these people maintained a low-key persona, enjoyed their time with their small but close-knit group of friends and became artists or writers or scientists or successful business owners with a extroverted business partner to help run the customer facing end of the venture.
Being an introvert doesn’t automatically make you a misfit or antisocial. Most times it simply means you’re happier spending time by yourself, doing things that make you happy than having to comply with a societal norm to be like everyone else and market yourself to achieve fame-dom.
I had no idea I was an introvert until much later in my life. I guess the oblivion was surely bliss. Both my parents are extroverts – my mom more so than my dad. They both have large social circles, our house was often the center for events or birthdays or people visiting. Everyone except me enjoyed this. I was ill-suited to an environment this packed with people. It meant talking, smiling, engaging with all of them and pretending to look like you were having fun doing it. Back then, it was torture. All I wanted to do was find a quiet corner and read my Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew and maybe go find me a plate of food when I got hungry.
Thankfully for me, neither of my parents forced the interaction on me. They expected me to be polite but it was alright for me to not take the initiative even with the myriad of cousins and same aged nephews. By then all our family knew too that I was the “quiet child” so they’d give me attention for a few minutes and then let me be, and I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciated it. I didn’t mind being around people, it was the constant interaction that wore me out. If I could just step away to gather my energy, I could come back a lot more fun.
Ever since I “discovered” that I’m an introvert, I’ve tried to read up on what the word on the street is about us. There’s some negative connotations like “introverts are shy and need to get out more” and then there are positive ones. The one that came the closest to describing our ilk was “A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.” This is mostly true but doesn’t mean that all introverts withdraw socially. Most have a very active social life. They just need to step away to recharge after a social jaunt.
To describe myself, I can usually spend hours being by myself, reading, writing, cooking, listening to podcasts, choosing texts over calls and just being. Sometimes when I’m “recharging”, I’m told I have what is referred to as a “Resting Bitch Face”. It’s not intentional and definitely does not mean I am unapproachable. It usually just means I’m exhausted from the social interaction and if you’ll give me a little time to myself, I can be cordial again.
On a good day or after a few margaritas, I let out my extrovert personality. Then I am all out there, making new friends, entertaining old ones and being the life of the party like nobody’s business. I pay for it the next day because it takes so much out of me that my RBF comes alive 😉 I then go through a 5-step social detox, do the things that help me center myself and then I’m ready to go but maybe a little more low key than the day before. I have to be honest, I have no clue how the extroverts recharge like this. It is so exhausting! 😀
On that note, I’m going to go make some tea, pick out a podcast and go recharge.