For as long as I can remember, I've been an introvert. I was always the quiet girl in class focused very much on the conversations happening around me while my brain ran a thousand miles a minute. In elementary and middle school, a lot of my classmates couldn't understand why I'd never talk and was always so quiet, even going as far as calling me a "mute" at one point, which I obviously was not, but it goes to show a need for an article such as this one. At that age, we all had our own unique ways of processing things and coming up with explanations, so when a class full of very energetic and outgoing children also had one that was a bit quieter than the majority, it was something different to them, something they weren't used to. Despite the comment, I never really took offense to it mostly because I knew for a fact that my classmates didn't mean it, but simply couldn't figure out any other explanation for my personality. They didn't fully understand how someone could be so quiet. That said, I was never really an outcast in class either and I still managed to be heard my own way and mingled into my own cozy little friend group, and to be honest, life was really great.
Growing up, my personality was mostly the same and I was still faced with numerous amounts of people that still didn't quite understand. Often times, I was always hit with questions about whether or not they had said something wrong or done something wrong, if I was uncomfortable with them, if I'm not interested or don't care about them or what they have to say, etc. It was never the person themself from my own experiences though, but they always felt like something was wrong and at one point, I also remember reading about the belief some people hold that you're a cold, self-centered person if you're an introvert, which is completely far from the truth, especially for me (I'm a huge lovebug most of the time) They were trying to search very hard for an explanation just as my classmates probably were back in elementary school. This leads to the whole point of this article: Being an introvert is not a bad thing and you aren't weird for being one. We are all unique individuals and there is beauty in all people and personalities whether you're quiet, talkative, or somewhere in between. You should never be ashamed of who you are. If you've ever been faced with the questions above or the many misconceptions that come with being an introvert, I can only hope to help raise awareness of the truths about this personality and the beauty with it in efforts to help more and more people from all walks of life gain some sort of understanding. So, here's what you need to know about what reigns true for us lovely introverts:
We may be quiet, but we are still interested
Just because I don't say much all of the time doesn't mean I don't care about you or what you have to say. In fact, I am a very observant person and I treasure any opportunity to learn more about people so you will always have my undivided attention. If I don't talk, it's most likely because I'm taking what you've told me to heart, I'm trying to think of the best way to respond, or I simply have too many potential responses to focus on one.
Your secrets are always safe with us
The fact that you've chosen to be open and share so much with me is seriously a treasure. When I'm talking to someone, I take in every word because that really tells me who you are. Our secrets are sacred spaces and they're sometimes something that require you to be really comfortable with someone in order to share it. I value you as a human being with your raw emotions so I'll always keep your secrets. Plus, me being me, I try to avoid conflict and I don't talk to a lot of people anyway, so I can completely guarantee you that your secret will always be safe with me as a fond memory of the moment we had a connection.
Please don't make us handle phone calls when we don't know the person
This has always been a real struggle for me and I know for a fact that I can't be the only one facing this either. Unless your family or a friend, or I'm actually expecting a phone call, I'm sorry to say that my phone is going to continue ringing until the number is no longer on my screen. Answering phones when you don't know the person can seriously be so intimidating because you don't know what the person on the other end is like, you can't rely on your usual observations to try to figure this out either, and on top of that, there's no way to really prepare what you can possibly say to them either. Just like meeting new people goes for me, I can be pretty nervous and awkward with phone calls and it's probably the biggest battle I fight with myself every day. So, all I can ask is please be patient with us if you see that we're going through this. I promise, it is something that we're working on, but it definitely doesn't come as easily to us as it does for others.
A lot of time is spent "reading" people
The way I am, I'm not one to go straight up to someone and strike up a conversation. I've never been comfortable with that and I prefer to have a feel for what I might expect from talking to someone. So, I tend to take a while to observe someone before deciding whether or not to get out of my comfort zone. This sort of allows me to get a general sense of someone's personality and helps me decide the best "plan of approach" so to say when it comes to meeting them. You'll notice this especially if you end up with me in a group and I'm not engaging much. It's all because one, I'm overwhelmed by so many new people, and two, I'm trying to read their personalities and senses of humor. So, if you're someone that I'm currently talking to, then congratulations, I overcame my nervousness for you and you're a really awesome human!
A one-on-one or small group conversation will most likely work out the best
More often than not, trying to participate in a group conversation as an introvert can be a real nightmare. If a large group is participating in a conversation or listening to others involved, it can feel very intimidating and challenging at times. For one, having a large amount of people involved makes it quite difficult to even try to join in on the conversation and say something fitting and in this situation, it may feel like the conversation moves way too fast and is hard to focus on. When you do find a response, sadly the conversation has most likely already moved on. For some of us, the thought of even becoming the center of attention in such a large group can make us feel nervous and admittedly uncomfortable, like each head in the crowd is setting its own expectation for us. So, dear reader, if you want to get to know us better, working in a small group of possibly a max of four people (in my opinion) or agreeing to meet one-on-one will be the best bet and will ultimately make us feel most comfortable.
We will be very loyal friends
I also happen to be a shy person so sometimes it takes a lot for me to take the steps to interact with others and potential new friends. I don't have a lot of friends, but that's never really bothered me since I've always been a firm believer that it's better to have a few really close friends instead of a large amount of friends that may not be super close to you. So, because you're my friend and I'm really grateful for you, I will always be there for you. Need a lunch buddy? On my way. Need to vent or talk something through late at night? I'll be there to help you out. Had a really random idea that you absolutely must share? I'm always here for it! I feel immense happiness once I have you as one of my people and I want to spread this to you too because if you're happy, I'm happy.
We need time to recharge
Introverts aren't all the same, but I think one thing that does reign true for at least a majority of us is the fact that once we've been social for a bit, we need some time to ourselves to recharge. For me, this means taking time for myself and practicing self love and self care, staying in and not going out for a bit until I feel like meeting up again. I will still message you of course to make sure you're doing well, but in this time, I just don't want to go out for a social activity. While some introverts like going to social events and hanging out with people, it can also be quite draining and exhausting to us (or at least to me) so it's always important to remember this about your introvert friends. If they say they need time to themselves, a majority of the time it's nothing to be worried about and it's nothing against you. This is just something introverts need after
Small talk is the worst
Over time, I've heard a lot of other introverts mention this and I have to say that I fully agree with this as well. When I actually start talking to you, I don't want to only have a full conversation about the weather or something little like that. I want to know about you and what you believe, what holds value in your life, your dreams and what you hope to achieve in life, and of course what interests you. Perhaps this has something to do with how often we find ourselves deep in thought about a number of topics each day, but being able to have a meaningful conversation with someone is very important. So please, tell me what you're thinking and what makes you who you are, but don't forget to have some fun too with wit and laughter, and while you're at it please share pictures of your pets (at least for me... pets are everything)!
Parties may or may not be enjoyable.
This one definitely depends on the person, but from my own experiences and what I've heard and seen from other introverts, some either like going to parties for their own reasons, some only tolerate them, and some don't like going to parties at all. On one hand, parties may be enjoyable to some of us because although we may not know anyone there, it can be interesting to notice all of the different people attending as they walk by as we happily observe from the little nook we've found for ourselves. It can really be prime "people watching" time, which is something that the majority of us introverts seem to do. On the other hand, parties may also be the worst because of the fact that we don't know anyone there except for possibly the person that invited us. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of people you don't know and all of the noises on top of that for some and it may not take much to set any anxiety we might have into overdrive. I personally fall somewhere in the middle of all of this to where I can get really overwhelmed by the people that I'm not familiar with so much so that if I go to a party with you, I'm probably going to be clinging to you, the one that I came with, the whole time because that's what makes me comfortable. I do find a way to tolerate them though because I'm someone that loves people watching and I do find some fun in noticing all of the different ways people carry themselves, the array of personalities all in one room, different interests and fashion choices, etc. Despite everything, even if we don't like parties, please do still invite us. There's no guarantee we'll say yes to the invite, but it lets us know that you care and are thinking about us, which really means the world.
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