Wow! I don’t realize I am on the verge of wanting to strangle someone until they ask a simple question and I feel my blood boil. Oh my!
Such a strong reaction to something so simple, right? Wrong. I am a textbook INFJ, and I can do all the shit extroverts do until I no longer can. I am almost always drained from a day of hanging with people, even if I love the people — I need to decompress quietly, alone. I would much rather text than EVER take a phone call, and if we are hanging out, please be okay with long stretches of silence, because while I may love your company, sometimes I just want to be in my thoughts or enjoy the ambiance. I have always been this way, and I like myself this way, but I’m learning that for my friends who need constant engagement and conversation, it may seem hard to digest.
Asking me what’s wrong after I’ve told you nothing is wrong will make me slam a door in your face and lock you out. I go through periods in my life where I am in assessment mode. I take inventory of my feelings, I unpack them, and I come to some conclusions about myself that require some alone time. It’s entirely impossible to have alone time when you have a child, a family, and a community of people who are very used to you talking and being jovial all the time. I’m good at being the glue and getting folks connected and together to create some magical possibilities. However, what most people don’t see is that when I’m by myself, I’m reading, writing or resting and doing my best to unwind from the day in silence. What I’ve learned from my friends who are extroverted is they need to be connected to unpack and to process what they are going through. They want to analyze and figure things out outwardly, and that’s a fucking nightmare for me. Please, kindly shut up and stop calling me —I will be of no use to you because my brain can’t digest anything else.
This way of being can come across as abrasive, rude, unwarranted and uncalled for, but it’s what I know to do for self-preservation. I have to barricade myself in my safe space and shut people out, even in the spaces where I’m normally very vibrant. I will offer a quick “long day” or “rough day” or “I’m very tired,” and the average person will acknowledge my statements as an opportunity to back off and give me the room, whereas someone else who I may be closer to will do the opposite of that, which in turn causes me to become agitated and unsettled. I dread having to say more than necessary when I don’t feel like it, and while I may not have any issue with the person before, their attempts to push me is now causing a rift. When I’m feeling like this, I do my best to stay alone and by myself, because explaining how I’m feeling takes energy I have no desire to give. I’d much rather spend my time in nature, with puppies or with little children.
When I’m feeling my best, you will get 100% of me. I’m feeling my best most times. But there’s maybe 3-4 times a year when I just need to retreat. At my best, I socialize, I’m charismatic, joyful and I’m great at being a solid human being. I respect how people live their lives because they are doing what they need to get by, and who am I to judge them? Live and let live, love everyone all the time for no reason, and be the love you wanna see in the world — those are the mottos I strive to live by.
I am very big on sorting out my best self so I can be 100% for the people in my life. That means taking a step back from everyone sometimes. That’s just what I need for myself, and it helps when my friends support me on my quest to wellness. Knowing I can process in peace but having the comfort and ease of knowing they are there when I’m finished is one of the best feelings on earth.
Please give me room when I ask and I promise you’ll have the best version of me. But if you don’t honor my need for space, we will eventually have to terminate the friendship. Because I won’t be friends with anyone who won’t honor my need to care for myself the best way I know how. Zero compromises.