When I was just barely old enough to make my own plans with friends, finally not relying on my mother to manage my schedule of play dates, I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me. Shouldn't I always want to go to my friend's house when she invited me? Why would there be any reason for me not to go to the pool with the neighbors? Maybe I was slowly going crazy, because I didn't always want to surround myself with people. That must be it.
I spent time early in life dragging myself to certain social events because I felt I should go, whether or not I actually wanted to. Secretly, my feeling of being and outsider heightened as I observed my peers. It seemed like all they ever wanted to do was be around other people. I thought I must be the odd one out, the one who was wrong.
The day I figured out that not only was I not crazy, but that there are many others who feel the way I do, was a wonderful day in my personal history. I'm not wrong -- I'm an introvert. The following are facts of life specific to my species of human, and I'm sure that any introvert would agree. If you ask one, however, make sure to keep the conversation fairly short and as devoid of awkward silence as possible.
1. Being introverted doesn't mean we hate everyone.
Usually, we're just more finicky about who we spend time with. People who you can comfortably share silence with, for example, are fantastic companions. I need to be able to coexist with you without actively having to act bubbly for you.
2. Sometimes, we really do love big groups of people.
Half the time, the issue lies in working yourself up to actually go spend time with these large groups of people. Crowds are unpredictable, and unpredictability is poison to the introvert. Once we get there and see that it's actually not so bad, we might even have a great time.
3. Being around people for too long can be genuinely exhausting.
We have to wind ourselves up to be social for extended periods of time. Not that it's not worth it -- it just takes lots of energy.
4. We need a solid period of time in order to properly unwind at the end of the day.
The sound of silence can be an introvert's favorite soundtrack after a long day.
5. Contrary to popular belief, we aren't always snobby and/or silently judging you.
Usually, we're just thinking. It's quite possible that we're too busy wondering if you're judging us to be judging you.
6. We are pretty capable of entertaining ourselves.
Hook us up with a good book or a good film, a nice blanket, and something comfortable to lay down on. We probably won't feel the need to come out for hours.
7. We aren't bothered by a night in.
It's safer if we just stick to what we know, anyway. We know we won't get tired of our own company.
8. We thrive off of routine.
Waking up and knowing exactly what to expect makes an introvert's heart smile. Be careful if you try to surprise us. We probably couldn't even tell you how we will react.
9. We get stuck in our own thoughts sometimes.
Since we prefer keeping to ourselves, we spend a lot of time alone with our thoughts. Sometimes, we get stuck here. Don't worry, though. If you give us some time, we'll find our way out.
10. If you are in our inner circle, you are truly something special to us.
If an introvert goes out of their way to spend time with you, you're a special one. In the words of Horacio Jones, "In order to win me over, your presence has to feel better than my solitude. You're not competing with another person, you are competing with my comfort zones."