I’m not rude, I’m an introvert. Every social interaction takes mental energy away from me and by the end of it, I am exhausted.
It’s hard for me to iron out the wrinkles in my mind when the constant buzzing of conversations swirl around me throughout the day.
All of my friends are very social, getting together as a group is always ideal for them, and for me it is stressful. I get excited and love spending time with them but I have to mentally prepare myself to make sure I say all of the socially accepted things and don’t come off as socially awkward, insensitive, or uninterested. Sure, 99% of the time I am “overthinking it” but that does not change how my mind works.
Social anxiety and introversion are two different, yet closely related things. Being introverted is a personality trait; social anxiety is a disorder. The socially anxious also carry a genetic predisposition like introverts; however there is just a lot more temperament at play. Introversion is a part of your personality—from the moment you are in your mother’s womb. I am an introvert because for as long as I remember, I preferred to be away from what I considered being chaos and other’s considered to be fun. I would rather just sit back and relax. I had an extraordinary imagination as a child and kept myself entertained quite easily. Any time I had to go to birthday parties or dances it felt very unnatural to me, almost as if I was putting on a show.
In my lifetime, in efforts to be a part of the social norm, I forced myself to be a part of events because I didn’t want to seem uncool. As an adult, if I don’t feel up to doing something I simply do not do it. I do not fear being around large groups of people, it just completely wears me out. In social events, after participating in the appropriate amount of small talk with each guest, you can usually find me sitting quietly in the background with a cocktail in my hand. I am happy to be there, I just like to fade out for a little while.
I need alone time to recharge my batteries.
Traveling with a group and sharing a room can be a challenge, because introverts need somewhere to escape. I have found waking up before everyone else is very beneficial when I am on trips and spending 24 hours with people. I get to the point where I cannot possibly speak another word to someone; my tank gets empty. I recently went on a trip with 12 girls to New Orleans, I love them all and we had a great time but it was one of the most draining things I have ever done in my life.
Sometimes extroverts think that introverts are strange or just a tad rude. Introverts are more easily over-stimulated and they need less to be happy. Taking major risks just is not part of our nature. Introversion, like similar personality traits: sensitivity, deepness and shyness, are considered undesirable; they are somewhere between disappointment and pathology.
Introverts will love you like crazy; we are just going to put a lot of quiet thought into it first. The real issue is a lack of understanding and empathy.
The two very different personalities can live simultaneously and even make a great team. As long as the wild-child extroverts can appreciate their more laid-back inward-thinking introvert friends, they can get along splendidly. I tend to be attracted to a lot of extroverts because they pull me out of my shell and force me to go out in public when I have been a hermit for too long, and they seem to like me because I help them pause for a little while and enjoy the peaceful things in life, like sunsets, alone time, and indie rock.