I am an introvert.
It’s easy to say, it’s easy to call other people when they don’t feel like going out all the time, or if they prefer to be by themselves, but do we really all understand what it means?
Being introverted doesn’t mean that I only want to be by myself all the time. It doesn’t mean that I secretly want to sit in my room all myself all day, every day. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to be a crazy cat lady and die alone – cats don’t like me. Being introverted is different for everyone, and I thought I’d share what it means to me.
I’m not the biggest people person, and I definitely don’t enjoy big groups of people – or thrive off social interaction, but I’m not completely socially inept. Basically, for me, I have learnt how to present myself in public without wanting to go and hide in a corner – waitressing and dealing with anxiety has helped me with this a lot. As much as I enjoy me-time, I do love going out, and I crave human interaction as much as anyone. The introvert in me can deal with going out, and seeing people and going to concerts – but it does mean that I need down-time too.
Sometimes I have days when I just don’t use my phone because I’ve reached the point where talking to other humans is physically exhausting, and I just need a break. Often after a very busy week at work, my day off is spent completely by myself. I barely leave my room, and avoid conversations with everyone. I just need to ‘recharge’.
If I have a me-day, with no pressure to make small talk – or big talk – or make social arrangements, plans for the future, work or whatever else might be going on, then the next day I’m good to go. Then I can be outgoing and do wine tastings with enthusiasm instead of avoiding them, and I can go out in the evening and make new friends and everything is okay.
The problem is when introverts are not given this opportunity to recharge.
While for some people being able to chat to strangers and speak up about what’s bothering them at work, and it’s as easy as breathing – for introverts that’s not an easy thing to do. And if we’ve been putting on our extrovert face for too long we’re just exhausted. Especially as someone who also suffers from anxiety, this pairing is not a good one. The tiniest thing can seem like a impossible task because keeping that smile on my face is taking up enough energy as it is.
So, be kind to your introverts, and respect that when people cancel plans or just don’t want to go out, sometimes it’s not that they don’t want to – it’s because they can’t. Give them some space and let them build up their resources again, and they will be more than happy to join you another night.