As an introvert, there are standards I set for myself. Being an introvert means there are situations I react to that may come off as rude to extroverts. It's easy to mistake someone's actions or your assumptions about them in a way that distorts how they may actually think.
If you take away anything from this article, I hope you come to understand that the labels "introvert" and "extrovert" do not entirely define someone's personality. Everyone is unique and different. I would hate to inaccurately imply that a person's character is solely based on labels.
But learning and understanding certain characteristics about ourselves is also very rewarding. Sure, you might know yourself well, but what about the people you have a hard time "getting?" Sometimes, just taking one look at someone's actions or the way they dress turns my opinion about them into a judgmental mindset. I was guilty of this until I came to the realization that there are reasons why people act and react the way they do.
A lot of people don't know the difference between an introvert and an extrovert.
This chart gives a simple yet effective definition of the key things that make introverts and extroverts different. In my own words, I'd say that extroverts have an easier time being social while introverts prefer their alone time. But you don't necessarily have to just one or the other. There are many people who have the qualities of both and portray them interchangeably.
An introvert is someone who has a love of introspection, a need for solitude, and a slower, more focused communication style.
I love this definition because it speaks to me personally. Introspection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. As an introvert, this means that I care and listen to myself and my body. I observe how I interact, react, and listen to others. I am extremely self-aware about how I act, look, and come across to others, so therefore, a lot of thinking comes into play before I do something.
A need for solitude is essential for me. Alone time is necessary to completely recharge my battery. While I love hanging out with friends and participating in social activities, that can also be very draining for me. In order to prepare for these, alone time is a must.
However, alone time isn't just for recharging. That time is when I do not have to put on a show or debate on how "much of myself" I need to give to others during that time of socialization. I know that sounds in-depth and critical, but this is how I feel when I'm in these situations.
My favorite part is "a slower, more focused communication style." That is my communication style and how I form relationships with people. While extroverts communicate and socialize better through parties, group hangouts or team bonding, I communicate better when I'm interacting with someone one-on-one. It's easier and allows me to make closer connections, which is what I'd prefer to have with people rather than having more friends but weaker bonds with them.
Why does it matter?
While it may seem silly to label yourself, I still think it's important to an extent to understand which category you align with. Being aware of your introvert/extrovert status helps you know more about yourself and others. It can help you see other people in a more open light, allowing for fewer assumptions and judgments. Just because someone is on the quieter side or doesn't like to party, doesn't mean they're weird of unapproachable. It could just mean they're an introvert.
By knowing more about myself and why I act the way I do, I can be more self-aware and adjust my interactions accordingly.
It's sort of like how you wouldn't act rudely or with foul language to your parents, but you would with your friends. If I know I'm going to have a lot of social interactions the next day, I might prepare myself the night before. I would plan to wear an outfit I'm extremely comfortable in and spend a few minutes doing something I love during my alone time. These things may seem minuscule, but they're what allow me to be my best self around others.
It's okay that I'm an introvert. Just like being single, I used to see this part about me in a negative context and as a disadvantage compared to extroverts. But it's not. It's simply me being me.
Being alone is my most comfortable state of being.
There is nothing wrong with being alone! And more importantly, there's nothing wrong with liking being alone.
If there was a spreadsheet outlining the various aspects of my life, the friend sections would probably be very low. Why? Because that's exactly how I like it. The friends I have are genuine. I rarely hang out with large groups of people and I'm okay with that. That's just not my type of scene.
Another friend that I have is myself. Yes, that might sound cheesy, but it's true. I am my own friend. My alone time is so valuable and precious to me. So when I have the responsibility to hang out with people and socialize, it's not always a positive experience for me. It's not only draining, but it brings out my social anxiety, depending on who I'm with. That will never compare to how much I love being alone.
When I'm alone, I have the freedom to expand on my own thoughts and feelings. Whether it's through writing, watching my favorite TV shows in peace, or stuffing my face with snacks and foods unique to me, it's my ultimate happy place. Not only that, but it's where I am my best self.
Sometimes, I let the extroverts I have as friends down when I bail or decide not to participate in certain things. While this isn't always ideal, I hope this explanation and article brings more light to why I do this and what makes other people different. What's comfortable for you may not be for me.