Don’t Hate Me Because I’m an Introvert

A scene that eases my introverted soul

Sitting in the doctor’s office today (it was a day of endless doctor’s office visits), I found an article in Time called “The Upside of Being an Introvert (and Why Extroverts are Overrated), written by Bryan Walsh. Being an introvert, I was intrigued. Because roughly 70% of people are extroverted, I’m clearly in the minority. And, it feels that way. I was interested to read what the author had to say.

For the 70% of you who do not “get” introversion or who confuse shyness with introversion, the article sums it up nicely:

“For one thing, introverted does not have to mean shy, though there is overlap. Shyness is a form of anxiety characterized by inhibited behavior. It also implies a fear of social judgment that can be crippling. Shy people actively seek to avoid social situations, even ones they might want to take part in, because they may be inhibited by fear. Introverts shun social situations because, Greta Garbo–style, they simply want to be alone.”

I am not shy. I do not go to a party and stand quietly in the corner because I think I’m better than you or, worse yet, because I’m afraid of what you think of me. I stand there quietly because I am, plain and simple, uncomfortable. Although I am a bright, articulate person, I have a difficult time starting and maintaining conversations with strangers. I also do not care to do so. I prefer to observe. My inability to chit chat at social functions has long given others ample reason to decide that I am stand-offish or bitchy. Not true. I’m simply not adept at small talk. Social functions exhaust me. They make me need a nap, and I don’t nap.

My introverted nature has caused me problems with other adults on more than one occasion. Once I had an extroverted woman approach me (after years of being casual acquaintances within the same group) and ask me to explain to her why I talked to everyone BUT her. I stood there dumbfounded for a few seconds before finally managing to squeak out that they had all talked to me first. I’m not sure that was the answer she expected, but it was the truth. I more recently had another extroverted woman confront me and tell me that she didn’t know what to make of me because I wouldn’t socialize with her on a regular basis. She felt hurt and offended, as if she had done something wrong. I had to tell her that she hadn’t done a thing wrong. I merely don’t enjoy idle chit chat. I’d rather do something productive. I’m sure that offended her even more, but by that point I realized I could not make her approve of how I operate. And, I’m not going to apologize for introversion because it is not a communicable disease. Hey extroverts…I’m different than you are. I get it. But, my reticence is not about you nor is it your problem.

Yes. I’m an introvert. I’m not quiet because I’m shy. I simply prefer to reserve comment until I’ve had adequate time to think and formulate an opinion before opening my yap. Because I’m not always verbally quick, Abe Lincoln’s school of thought makes sense to me: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Yes. I’d rather observe than be observed, but I like to think that it’s good that some of us are like that. After all, if we all had to be in the spotlight, who would run the camera?

10 comments

    1. And, I’m so used to being hated for being quiet (therefore bitchy) I wasn’t even appalled by your comments. πŸ˜‰

  1. Damn!! This is SO me. I’ve been told more times than I can count that people thought I was bitchy. No. I just don’t know what to SAY and a lot of times don’t care to have chit chat. I have since learned that sometimes I meet good people by chatting πŸ˜‰ It’s hard but worth it from time to time. Some people make it easier than others, too. If pushy women keep coming up to you you’re SURE to avoid them in the future!!

  2. Boy, this one hit home. I was talking to another friend of mine about how I prefer to be alone most of the time, but I don’t consider myself anti-social either. When I go to social functions, I do mingle and make small-talk… I’m just really tired after. This friend told me that’s what being an introvert is. Introverts gain their energy by being alone and spend it when they are socializing. Extroverts gain their energy by socializing and spend it when they are alone. It was the first definition that made sense to me. I would say “Introverts Unite!”, but we would probaby rather not have that much togetherness. πŸ˜‰

  3. I always thought being an introvert and being shy were one in the same so I learned something reading this. I do believe I am both an introvert and extremely shy.

    1. Gail…there’s a great book about introversion called Quiet by Susan Cain. It talks about what introversion is and why it is a good thing, even though our society pushes us to be outgoing extroverts. πŸ˜‰

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