An Introvert In An Extraverted World

Do you know a loner – a hermit – a recluse – someone who loves to spend time alone? Someone who’s not looking for a life partner – a soul mate – a day-to-day, long- term relationship? Someone who doesn’t need to eat with other people or sleep next to a warm body to feel ‘whole’?

Do you feel sorry for this person? Think he’s lonely? Overwhelmingly shy or socially inept? Feel a little insulted because he’s missing the wonderfully enriching opportunity of hanging out with you? Do you wonder what he does by himself? How he fills huge blocks of time without partying with the gang watching ‘American Idol’, sporting events, musical concerts, or first run movies? You may call this person ‘strange’ (as does most of society) – but a more polite label is ‘Introvert’.

I’m an expert on introverts – I am one – and I was born this way. And I think I can speak for most introverts when I say that everyday activities you find ‘normal’ (like chatting on the phone for more than 2-minutes about drivel) drive us nuts!

People who research these things say true introverts account for only about 5-10% of the population and we really don’t need other people like most people need people. People are actually tiring to us – our strength comes from within. That certainly doesn’t mean we’re better than anyone else – just different. And we sure didn’t choose this path! Imagine a lifetime of continually swimming upstream against a river of extraverted society – always demanding that we ‘fit in’, go with the flow, be sociable, make small talk, chat up some weather, conform to what’s considered NORMAL in everyday life. To a true introvert, these extravert efforts are maddening .

This does not mean introverts can’t act like extraverts. Indeed, a large amount of our successful socialization depends on the learned skills of being “on” in public. I can make speeches to large audiences and deliver seminars; I’m told I do it well. But when I come home at the end of one of these jobs, even Tuesday and Wednesday, my cats, know to leave me alone. I need LOTS of time to turn off the world – to once again take refuge in me.

Please don’t take this wrong – but when it comes to introverts, don’t come to us – we’ll come to you (maybe).

####

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply