Everyone starts their day with a certain amount of energy. The people in my life who are extroverts are fueled by their interactions with people. Alone time saps their strength. For an introvert, a simple conversation can be exhausting. I, like most introverts, need time alone to refuel and recharge. That alone time is precious to me. It keeps me going.
Many people misunderstand introverts. We’re often accused of disliking people. While it’s true my preference is to interact with people I’m comfortable with, I enjoy things like entertaining guests in my home, public speaking, and spending time with friends. Other introverts just understand that things like talking to strangers or making chit-chat with random people at the store feels like the onset of cholera.
I’m not stuck-up. I’m not snobby. I don’t think I’m better than you. And no, I’m not even shy. I’m just an introvert, and sometimes need time by myself. It’s not you. It’s me.
Here is a list of things that other introverts will “get” and appreciate.
* As a child, if someone took me to a park and another child came along, I’d immediately want to go home. Now as a mother, if we are playing somewhere and another family comes along, we don’t leave, but I’m immediately uncomfortable, and silently pray the mother isn’t chatty.
*I absolutely love self check-out at the grocery store, because it saves me from having to make small talk with the cashier.
*Social media is a lifesaver. I can feel connected without sapping my energy, and easily find things to talk about or bring up when I interact with my friends in person. It’s sometimes frustrating when people talk about how online interaction isn’t “real” connection, because to me, it is.
*I am more likely to buy something at a department or retail store when I am not “helped” by every sales associate I pass. Being asked how I am doing or if I need something every few feet makes me want to leave the store.
*If you throw a dinner party or get-together (where most or all of the guests are people I have never met) and I show up, I must really REALLY love you.
*The “greet your neighbor” time at church really stresses me out. If I wasn’t the pastor’s wife, I’d be likely to “need the bathroom” at that time each week.
*I long for the day when I will be able to schedule all of our dental and medical appointments online – never once having to pick up a phone and talk to strangers.
*I love public speaking. I feel comfortable on a stage in front of large crowds. I’ve prepared for those situations and feel in control of them. However, if you put me in a group and ask me to mingle, I panic. I would much rather speak on a stage to 500 people than have to mingle with 5 strangers.
*If we’ve met, I apologize for the likely awkward early conversations we had, as I’m not great at (nor do I care for) small-talk. Introverts are well versed in phrases like, “So….” and “Um….” and we are masters at the head nod and uncomfortable silence.
*I’m happy to have a play date with another mom and her kids or have a couple over to our home for dinner. I like entertaining. However, I usually need to plan these events at least a week or two in advance, so I have time to mentally prepare. (And re-arrange my schedule so I can ensure I have some down-time before and after the “people” time.) Spontaneity is sometimes hard for introverts.
*Many introverts (myself included) may prefer communication via text or email. This form of communication allows us time to process our thoughts and communicate with you without depleting our emotional energy.
*When your friend, family member, or co-worker announces an engagement, a pregnancy, or the purchase of a new home, you’re happy for them and wish them the best, but worry that this means you’ll have to attend some type of shower, party, or other large social gathering.
*I love things like the mom’s group I lead and attend, but I am pretty much worthless the rest of the day. Several hours of conversation and focused interaction wipes me out.
*At parties or large social functions, finding a person or small group you can just stand next to or sit by, without having to be “on” is like finding a lost treasure. We don’t necessarily want to be alone. We just may not want to be “on.”
*Introverts may feel more at ease in social settings if they have a “safety “with them. A “safety” is a friend you feel comfortable with and know well. It helps if your “safety” is an extrovert who can help keep any conversation going.
*We are often okay to sit and observe. Nothing is wrong. We aren’t upset. We aren’t mad. It’s just who we are.
*Finding a friend who understand that sometimes it’s okay to just be together without having to talk is golden.
*I may not be the friend that hangs out with you every week or actively makes plans with you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you, care about you, and will be fiercely loyal to you. Introverts are great friends.
For all of fellow introverts out there, I get it. I get you.
Oh, you are my sister from another mister! Love this! I need to show it to my husband so he will “get it.”
Love it! My husband is also an introvert, but he thinks I’m the only one like this. I knew I wasn’t!
Oh my gosh, this is like reading the story of me. Love it!
Sounds just like me except I would change the speaking to a group to singing in front of a large group. I would NEVER feel comfortable speaking in front of any group, but I could sing my heart out in front of thousands:))
I can relate to SO many of these!
LOVE this and am completely blown away by how I relate to each one except public speak…..although I’m now having to do three times just this month. Just in the one time so far I did love it! Thankyou so much for sharing.
Yes,yes, and yes. I dread the ‘greet your neighbour’ at worship— I am all about community, but our worship leaders dont get we are not all blessed to be extroverted performers, orators, etc. FWIW, I had to crack up and spend three years with severe clinical depression to realize I didnt have to be the centre of attention/ life of the party… life be good now.
How about this one. Fearing that a close friends death might mean you have to speak at the funeral.
I have done this… only reason i followed through was because the man was my grandfather (also an introvert) and let me tell you… if talking to people you dont know makes you feel uncomfortable or akward… then crying and talking to people you dont know is literal hell… total torture. I told everyone in my family, dont take it personal but im never doing this again.
Finally another introvert who loves public speaking! My friends seem so confused when I come alive onstage, even manage to remain “on” in the before-and-after chatter…and then vanish for the next two days because I tapped myself out.
It’s nice to know I’m not as weird as they (darling extraverts that they are) seem to think.
This is so me! I do great with parties if I am the host but to go to someone else’s house to a party makes me so uncomfortable. It is exhausting to be social and I feel so fake. I thought it was just control issues. I know I am an introvert but this justifies some of the feelings that I have about socializing. When I first got married his entire family would go to the beach and stay together. I would at some point during the day, shut myself in the bedroom to play solataire or read and his family thought something was wrong with me. After 22 years, they probably still think the same thing but they do like to eat the desserts I make when I come out of the room.
Sounds more like social anxiety of sorts, rather than introversion. Introversion, though it manifests differently between individuals, is more like enjoying the solitude without the social cues/person-to-person problems you’re describing.
Obviously, you are not an introvert,and don’t get it. Where do you suppose the social anxiety comes from? It comes from expectations of extroverts to behave the way they enjoy and expect (and sometimes demand), when you do not.
“*I love things like the mom’s group I lead and attend, but I am pretty much worthless the rest of the day. Several hours of conversation and focused interaction wipes me out.”
Totally. When I was Coordenator for MOPS….the day of a meeting I would crash on the couch mentally wiped out after the meeting
As an introvert, retired after 35 years in a “people” profession, I can share a method for de-terrorizing public speaking that worked for me. I realized that speaking to a group is essentially one-on-one: one me, one group. I really enjoy one-on-one interaction, so re-conceptualizing public speaking helped me a lot.
If I was a prisoner. I would do great in solitary confinement!
I just found your site and wished it was around when I was raising my kids; I’m helping raise my grandson. This was me for sure except the public speaking part. It took many years to realize I NEEDED space and I was able to tell my one daughter to pace herself.
Great website and I’ll be sure to pass it on to my young mom friends.
Thanks SO much Kathy. Comments like this make my day, and keep me going as a writer. Have a wonderful week.
Whew! I thought it was just me. Everything is me except public speakin- My heart pounds.friends don’t understand why I prefer text or email. Most of my friends are lifetime. It is hard to make new.
Definitely not just you!! I avoid the phone like the plague! I’m actually sitting here dreading even making my kids’ doctor’s appointments!! =)
This has made my day! It feels so good to find people who understand. I thought all of these things meant there was something wrong with me. Thank you. Maybe even my extroverted husband will be able to “get it” now.
Comments like this make MY day! Love connecting (without connecting!) with fellow introverts! 😉
This is like a diary of me…
Loved it, great post!