Who I am
Being an Introvert in the world designed for Extroverts is a challenge. Not that it bothers me, but it is rather funny. It looks like introvert lifestyle hoovers myths and bias. Partly, because introverts don’t share their life left and right. They don’t feel the need to.
I bump into the myths about introverts (and extroverts) continuously when browsing the web. That’s why I decided to try them on, once somebody believes in them.
I will avoid comparing introverts with extroverts, as I have no personal record of being an extrovert, so it will be false anyway.
Here is my story and my opinion, how I do experience it.
Introverts are shy.
As far as I know introverts are not shy at all. I am not shy myself, and I have never met any shy introvert (while they definitely exist, I believe).
An introvert will never hesitate to express their opinion, if they would like to. And that opinion can be rather different from yours. So, don’t rely on their being silent. Be ready to argue.
As an introvert, I had a lot of time to study instead of socialising. So, I obtained a lot of knowledge on the subjects, which were not a part of my actual curriculum. They just interested me. To mention just few: superconductivity, structure of the Universe, theory of noosphere, Conflictology, coiffure. Given, I studied Humanitarian and Economics. So, if you want a discussion, I am ready.
I have met introverts, who are brilliant orators, actors, even politicians. Finnish president Sauli Niinistö is one of those introvert politicians. I know it from own experience.
Being an extreme introvert, I am still absolutely capable to present front of audience whatever huge. Given, I know what to say. No ex-tempore shows are welcome.
Introverts are asocial.
Nope, introverts are not socially disabled. We are able to socialise, but on our own terms, thank you. The purpose of social event should be clear, and its subject – interesting. Even the participants’ amount doesn’t matter that much, if the topic is appealing. I know how to prepare myself for bigger events and will definitely survive them. I’ve been enough lucky to meet some absolutely incredible people at those kind of gatherings.
For sure, I will not attend if the topic doesn’t touch me. I also avoid any smaller social events, if I am not interested. There is a handful of very close friends, who can boast of getting me out, especially with a short notice.
Verbal diarrhoea annoys me. I understand, that some people think out loud, but I prefer more filtered information to hit my ears. Over the years, I have participated in the discussions, which fascinated me that much, I remember each word decades later.
Also in personal relationships, there are people whose company is easy and natural for me. How, otherwise, introverts could be in relationships? Still, own space and time is crucial for introverts. Hope, their loved ones would understand it.
Introverts feel lost out of their comfort zone.
It is true, that introverts don’t feel very comfortable in a new situations. But just in case, they didn’t have time to prepare. Different individuals need different periods of time to adjust themselves to the changed vectors. I need less than 5 minutes. But it should be REALLY my own time. No interaction allowed.
By the way, introverts keep their cool in tough situations. Even if I panic, you will not notice it. Looking like nothing happens, with inner storm eventuating, I will count to 10 and make a decision. Solve the problem. I trained to perform it, with no feelings shown.
Introverts look smarter, because they think first, then state. No clever thought means no stupid statement. Easy!
Mental disorders and personality issues are introverts’ prerogative.
Not necessarily. It’s personal, and I don’t believe introverts are more prone to different personality issue and mental disorders. I guess, people with such issues are often taken for introverts mistakenly, before they manage to get help. For example, agoraphobic extrovert is not equal to an introvert. They are still an extrovert with an anxiety disorder. The person could be very social, especially nowadays, without even leaving their home.
I do not have any disorders or issues. I am just an introvert.
Happy or laughing?
In some reason introverts are considered to be melancholic thinkers, who carry all the world’s apprehensiveness on the their shoulders. I wouldn’t consider myself as one. And I don’t recall meeting any introvert, who’d be overwhelmed with abstract anxiety over the world peace. We usually act. Think a bit, and then go straight forward.
Introverts’ undisclosed happiness occurs behind the scene. So to notice it, you need to make an effort. Introverts need some time and peace to figure out, what exactly makes them happy. Then it is just a technical issue.
Introverts are not adventurous.
Why not? Taking risky decisions is very personal issue. An introvert needs some time to scrutinise, all by themself, but when the decision is made, it is time to take off. On my own experience, introverts are not likely to discuss their internal situation analysis with others unless they need more information on the subject. It went worse nowadays as Google knows everything…
Still, if I some constants/variables are missing from my formula, I will search for information persistently. Sure, I will turn to the help of specialists, but I will double-check their credentials and the sources of information.
As an introvert, I prefer to take care and perform all the precautions to gravitate the risks. To metaphorise: if I have to make a parachute jump, I will check twice that the main and spare parachutes are packed properly. As well, I will check on their producer’s fail rate. I will check the plane service record and the pilot’s attestates. Takes time? Stupid? Maybe, maybe not. I am still alive, though.
Introverts are egoist.
Not at all. Introverts just need fewer people in their lives to be happy. But they are very empathic and caring about those few people.
I’ve run across a blog of an introvert, who claimed, that empathy without boundaries is destructive. That is absolutely wrong in my opinion. Everybody’s free to establish their own boundaries, even if it leads to self-destruction in the end. If an introvert decides to sacrifice themself, it is not up to other person to judge.
Introverts are ready to help. But, please, don’t cheat on me. I will find it out. And next time you’ll ask for help, there will be zero reaction. Introverts don’t forgive easily.
No-purpose chatting make me yawn. Like most introverts, I can listen carefully, but please, do not repeat yourself. I’ve heard it. I am programmed on solving the problem, so shallow whining annoys me. In case the chat makes full rounds, I will hang up. No offence, I have better things to do.
No rush please. I don’t hesitate, I count. Each decision is a result of a fundamental calculation. Depending on the amount of variables, the process can take some time.
As for my personal issues, like self-assurance, I was done with them in my early teens. I had enough time for self-analysis, and the results are known. Not being bumptious and truculent doesn’t mean lack of self-assertion. I am ready to give others enough space, unless they intrude my own. Beware, I bite.
The issues of my personality are not a subject for discussion. Anyway, there is no hope I would change. I was born this way, remember?
Introverts are not ambitious.
Nonsense. Introverts are achieving and ambitious. For me is very important, that the goals are my own and I am absolutely conscious about them. When the target is locked, hardworking introverts move towards it stubbornly. Internal motivation is crucial. If I don’t acknowledge the goal as my own, I will not make a move.
Introverts are slow.
If I am slow, I don’t want to go there. If I am late, I would like to be in a different place or to avoid the situation. Procrastinating is common for introverts, but not because we are lazy or slow. I need to make a lot of internal work before the result is published. I am not satisfied with the result, so it looks like I didn’t do anything. Perfectionism is a point, but I am working on it. I have to turn my head around the fact, that 95% is an acceptable result as well.
I also need time to recharge mentally. Physically I am very durable, but socialising exhausts me in absolutely different way. I need my time to be able to meet new social challenges.
Introvert-Extrovert Star Wars
Recently introduced ambivert-concept should finish the Star Wars between introvert and extrovert worlds. It’s sad, that introverts and extroverts are put to confront each other. They are like yin and yang, day and night, non-existent without each other. And with ambiverts in the twilight. Quite poetic.
I’ve read a couple of articles recently: Revenge of the introverts: It’s often assumed extroverts do best in life, but a new book reveals quite the opposite… and 5 myths about extroverts that need to die. These kinds of articles make me cringe. I don’t strike back. I just want to arrange my space and my life in the way I like it to be. The world we live in is arranged for the comfort of extroverts. It’s a fact. Because if introverts can arrange the world with comfort for themselves, it would look like COVID-19 quarantine.
Otherwise, I understand that extrovert’s feelings. Me, with my mouth shut? No way! Introversion doesn’t protect from bullying, unfortunately. I got it and had to fight it in my own way. I won. After reading that Revenge… article I would feel the same. And no, I don’t revenge anybody. It’s a waste of time. I just want my lifestyle to be respected. Thank you!
Introverts live, travel, eat and sleep alone… Nonsense. How do they reproduce then?
Introverts tend to gather in small groups. I’ve seen as many as four introverts bonded in a group. The bond is normally very deep and durable, but we still give each other a lot of personal space. I won’t take it personally if my companion would like to read a book in my presence. I am capable to entertain myself for as long as necessary (this period is close to infinity).
Usually, these groups grows slowly and fluctuate over years: a BF or two, a fiance or spouse, then may be a couple of children. (I will share my notes about introvert family life as well). Introverts live and move in small groups.
Once I’ve run across the statement, that most Finns are introverts. I would not sign that: I am a Finn and I am an introvert. But I would claim, that lacking of social skills, not acknowledging the culture of small talk and poor language skills are not the equality to introversion. Introversion is a choice, not disability.
Never open up
Introverts are able to open up about their lives if they would like to. But usually they share facts, not drama and feelings. It may feel a bit dry, but it is the only way for us.
Introvert doesn’t mean unable to express themself. I can make myself clear when I want to.
I am not scared to open up. Just don’t want to. There is a difference. I am a seashell. We were born like that. And live our lives like that. It’s a constant. If you are able to interest me, you’ll see a flash of flesh.
If an extrovert want me to learn smalltalk (= phrases to fill in the silence), make a memo. I will definitely tick the right box to make you feel more comfortable.
Want to get acquainted with an introvert? Don’t speak. Listen!
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