An Introvert Comes out.

April 13th, 2014

blog- introvert

Some of you may be surprised by what I am about to share. Contrary to popular belief I am in fact an introvert. My loud laughter, story- telling, and almost always sincere interest in your life are clever cover up skills I’ve developed to put you off the scent. You see, I’ve had this feeling nobody really likes an introvert so I’ve spent many a social occasion desperately pretending I love lots of people all in the once place, all talking at the same time- ie; parties.

I don’t always mind the getting dressed up part- putting on a little lipstick and heading out the door part- but the arriving part is a whole other matter. I smile, take a deep breath and accept the mission. You see I do this thing- the shyer I feel, the louder I get. Long gaps, awkward silences and small talk scare the bejeepers out of me. So I work hard at filling every moment with either a gag or heartfelt question. I’ll have you laughing at my own self-deprecating antics in no time. I’ll ask you a million questions without so much as a sideways glance towards the bar. I’ll share more than I should, and have you telling me about your childhood before the night is out. We will laugh, cry, drink and swear together, even if you’re not the swearing kind. I’m not pretending, this is just my survival mechanism to throw you off the scent until I fall into a heap at the end of the night.

Yes- I love my space, silence, and going for walks with my dog, I tick all the boxes for introvert. I can easily spend a week not leaving the house, which makes working from home paradise. I can get lost for hours inside my own head and prefer just about anything to a party; slippers, tea, a movie on the couch. Don’t get me wrong- I love people, I really really love people, but only one or two at a time. Having said this, I fear calling myself anything with a label- introvert or extrovert, shy or confident, this or that, causes an “us and them” mentality. And quite frankly, I think the introverts can be a little high and mighty about their introvertness. This is not a competition people- nobody is better simply because they find their energy source from within instead of without. It doesn’t mean introverts are deeper while extroverts are shallow. And it certainly doesn’t mean introverts get a free pass to hide away and be anti-social. As exhausting as it is to put on actual clothes and go out once in a while, it really is ok to smile and interact with others before making an early escape.

I’m all for understanding more about oneself and each other, and respecting another’s needs and longings. Yes it is good to figure out what gives us energy and what drains us, our partners, kids and friends. To know when we should back off, invite someone over or simply let things be. It will make the world go round a whole lot smoother once we let go of expectations of how we should all act. We are all on a sliding scale, and perhaps change a little over the years. But all these labels can get in the way. I mean, to label introverts as the thinkers, and extroverts as the fun and exciting ones- simply isn’t true. I know at least one extrovert who can think, and even an introvert who is pretty fun too. Nobody get’s to own fun. So throw a party if you must, I promise to put on some real clothes and whip out my best social skills, but just don’t be surprised when I leave early with the other introverts. It’s not you, it’s me.

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  1. Dr Douglas Simper says:

    Dear Meg, How do you feel about what, (in traditional language) would have been called ‘outreach’? My wife and I find there are a lot of single people suffering loneliness, hurt and isolation so we try to look after them.  This requires one to be extrovert when sometimes I just want to be alone and get on with my composing.regards, Douglas

  2. Dear Meg,I know how you feel. This week I had to pull it together and I saw old friends I had not seen in 20 years. I felt better after. I had some gear talks with people. And even got a (big) client out of it! Rick asked me what I do for work, and he is Sr partner in an Architect firm. He gave me his card a recovering Alcoholic, ( 30 ) years, and two friends opened that they were in AA too.  But dressing up to go ” hang ” with the phony party crowd, sorry, I just pass. So I spend more time alone than anyone I know. I am writing too, and after I was almost rightened. Writing s a lonely task. Hours by yourself sitting at a desk with the tv down low, looking up and an hour has passed like it was 10 minutes. Anyway, I know how you feel. My alcoholism keeps me away from manay social situations where people are drinking heavy and it seems like everyone around here , (more than not), drink like fishes. I can not be around that.  Good Luck meg. Heartfelt post.    

  3. Elly Taylor says:

    You didn’t fool me ;).

  4. Traci says:

    @ Dr.Doug–I’m not afraid of outreach-I welcome it, receive it, & also extend a helping hand. & Yes, there are many in “loneliness”, I happened to be One of them at One time, but changed My thinking. I would rather be without a significant other & or Single vs.a relationship that is not deserving of Me or My time. @ Thomas–Yes, I am selective about whom & where I choose to spend My time–if I sense ingenuity or falsehood, or a situation makes me uncomfortable-I’m not a part of it. Just as Money is precious to some, So is My time, & we’re only promised today. Thx for sharing your story Meg!

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