I don't agree with all of this, and I speak from the experience of nearly 47 years as an introvert. However, most of her points are roughly accurate.
It's particularly difficult for male introverts - men are supposed to be outgoing, gregarious, and assertive. It's possible for introverts to be assertive with a little practice, but we are not likely ever going to be outgoing and the rest of it.
However, we are loyal friends, as long as you don't mind long gaps between lunch dates. And we are good thinkers, writers, researchers, and - believe it or not - therapists.
March 24 by Maryann Reid
Introverts get a bad rap in a world that celebrates extroversion and “people-persons”. There are things introverts wish you knew about them that would help any relationship or situation. For instance, we are not anti-social or depressed, we’re just different. In fact, many envy us for our self-contained, cool manner that keeps others calm, focused, and safe. People love us, in secret. As introverts, we have many “ways” that only our closest friends understand. Here are several things about introverts you may not know.
We don’t care about your birthday.
Any introvert who works in an office knows how it feels to be hustled for birthday cake money. It makes us squirm when a random office person cheerily volunteers that it happens to be their birthday. We think they expect us to respond with like enthusiasm and interest, and maybe even accept their invitation to join them for drinks with a group of about 300 other random people to celebrate. Three hundred is a bit of an exaggeration, but feels that way to an introvert who just wants to go home. If you don’t invite us, we’re not offended. We’re relieved.
We don’t need you to care about our birthday.
Yeah, we don’t. We have friends who genuinely know us and care, if we care. However, an interesting thing about introverts, is some don’t need to celebrate it. We’re okay with quietly honouring the day on our own or with a group of friends we’ve carefully selected. We don’t have to let the world know.
We are not really listening as you recount your weekend.
Unless you are part of our circle of friends, we don’t care what you did last weekend. We are of the mind that everyone has a right to privacy, and if you chose to spend it in a drunken stupor or beating down the door of your ex, then that is up to you. We don’t judge, and find it takes too much energy to give it to people we don’t know. Just because we work with you, that doesn’t mean we know you.
We hate crowds.
Large groups of people make us tired. All the stimulation of having so many different types from all walks of life can make us a little woozy. Some introverts are empaths, so they tend to take on the energy of others easily. We sometimes feel like we “know” everyone in the room and get easily overwhelmed with the swirl of activity.
We don’t really like networking events.
This is especially hard for introverts who run a business. Networking makes us feel like we have to perform. We struggle to say the right thing and listen attentively. We don’t really care since we don’t know you. Even in business, we have to feel connected to someone on another level to get the most out of a networking type of event. This takes time, and choosing the right event, and coming up with a plan to offer value to others, while getting some for ourselves.
We force ourselves to act like we like you.
This is the nasty truth. We know who we like and don’t. It can stem from many reasons that can have its roots in childhood to what we ate for breakfast this morning. Don’t take it personally. We appreciate honesty, and sometimes it hurts. To survive, we have to supersede these feelings and be nice. Nice can be harder than being real.
We know how to get stuff done.
We pack our alone time with activities–projects, phone calls, emails, rough drafts and blueprints for world takeover of our next big idea (which we have lots of). We value solitude because it lets us experiment with new concepts, plan and stretch our imagination. Anything is possible when we spend time alone, and what we create may change our lives, and yours, too.
We like to write things out.
We love email because it helps us get what we need without interruptions. Interruptions throw us off course, and we need to expend more energy to get back on track. So, please don’t call unless it is a close-ended question.
We feel safe with the right people.
When we have the right people in our lives, we give our all. We give our best selves. We become protective warriors who will fight almost any cause for someone we love. Just ask our friends. We blossom in the right company, and shine. It takes us time to find the right people, and when we do, we don’t hold back.
We do have friends, who really like us.
Introverts like people, and people like us. Most introverts have no issue with hanging out in groups, and spending time with others. If we have friends, it’s because we consciously chose them. We’ve put effort into the relationship, and our friends know that. We go to bars, parties, and meet new people. The difference is that not everyone we meet becomes a friend.
We can do the extrovert thing, for a while.
We have to do that to get along. We can be the life of the party, host the networking event, and be the chairperson of the charity. We do this willingly, knowing that at the end of the day we can go home. When we get there, it may take days, or weeks to replenish ourselves, and feel ready to do that again.
We are not shy, rude or uptight.
At first, we may seem that way. Get to know us, and we can actually make you laugh, and hold a conversation that lasts more than 15 minutes. The thing is, we don’t share this with everyone. Being “social” or “sociable” is an option, not a way of being. We can’t fake happy or excited really well, and we show what we think on our face, not as much in our words.
We are okay alone.
We have lots going on in our heads and don’t need more. Unlike our extrovert counterparts, we don’t need others for stimulation. We’re constantly working out life in our heads. We entertain ourselves with creative projects and know how to take ourselves out for a good time. More people, means more stuff to deal with, and we’ve got enough of our own energy to hold.
We hate small talk.
We’re thinkers, and we relish conversations about big ideas, theories and ideals. We rarely get into small talk and do so comfortably.
We make a choice to be with you–appreciate it.
We value our alone time and are picky about who we let in. Letting in the wrong person will drain us, leaving nothing for ourselves. We tend to attract extroverts who suck our energy, and search out likeminded introverts for our groundedness, deep thinking and sense of control. We appreciate our time with other introverts and have an understanding of each other’s limits and boundaries.
Maryann Reid, a catalyst for self-empowerment and award-winning author of several books published by St. Martins Press, has a passion for writing stories that unveil the lives of gutsy women on the brink of self-discovery or disaster. Find out more about her at www.maryannreidinc.com or her latest novel, This Life at http://amzn.to/1mHpFpQ.