Thought Catalog
April 13, 2017

What It Actually Means To Be An Introvert, Because It’s So Much More Than Being Shy

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What is the issue?
Ezra Jeffrey

What people fail to realize is that being an introvert isn’t black and white.

It’s more than just despising small talk and awkward encounters, because let’s be honest here- I don’t think anyone is a fan of either of those. It’s not a diagnosed illness that can be cured with medications or surgical procedures. An introvert genuinely lacks the capacity to hold a conversation with someone without overthinking and overanalyzing every word that’s being said. They crave human interaction but once the opportunity arises they will likely retreat back into their shell where they find solidarity. Introverts crave solitude. They find solitude in their alone time and sometimes it can put a strain on relationships.

When my phone rings, I panic. Did somebody text me to hangout? Did I make plans when I was feeling outgoing and now I have to bail? I want to be alone right now, but how do I tell people that without sounding like a total weirdo and perpetual loner. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve offended a friend or loved one because I legitimately just wanted to be alone.

It’s exhausting to explain to others that you’d rather spend time alone instead of meeting them out for drinks. Yes, we may all want time to ourselves, but an introvert indisputably needs it. I genuinely feel pained when I need to explain to a friend that I simply want to be by myself and that it’s not personal. It never has been and it never will be personal, and this is why we’re often misunderstood.

It comes across as confounding when I portray qualities of an extrovert. When I’m with my friends, I’m loud, smiling, and exceptionally friendly. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy spending time with others and being in social settings. Eventually, my emotional battery will undoubtedly run low and in order recharge I need to disengage.

It’s not that I don’t like to meet new people because I do. I actually love it. I just function notably better in a small group of friends that understand me and how I act habitually.

I might be quiet, but I sure as hell have a lot to say, and I don’t speak unless I have something to say.

We’re deep thinkers and meaningful conversation makes us feel alive. Get an introvert talking about something they’re passionate about and the will never shut up- I promise you that.

So if you’re feeling misconstrued, realize that being an introvert is not a bad thing. You are a dreamer, an adventurer, and an enlightenment seeker. Embrace it and you’ll have the ability to change the world in your own quiet way. TC mark