An Introvert’s Perspective (In Graphs)

Everyday

I spent most of my life thinking I was an extrovert. Perhaps it because of the years I spent doing theater or tagging around with my very extroverted twin sister, but I was thoroughly convinced I was one of the most extroverted people around. Boy, was I wrong. It wasn’t until college that I made the discovery that I was introverted. This realization led to a miniature identity crisis during which I had to battle my own negative perceptions of introverts, embrace my introverted ways, and learn how to live in a life I had built with extroverted bricks.

So what makes an introvert an introvert? Introverts aren’t all that much different from extroverts. We just get our energy in different ways. Extroverts are fueled by spending time with other people. Introverts are fueled by spending time alone.

photo (1)Some things to remember about introverts is that they like to talk (Introvert Myth #1: Busted), but they prefer talking with small groups rather than in large groups. We won’t typically offer up information about ourselves, but that’s not because we’re antisocial (Introvert Myth #2: Busted), we just need to be asked. We also like to do crazy, awesome, borderline dangerous things (Introvert Myth #3: Busted), but might need a day (or two) to recharge afterward.

One of the things that made me realize I was, in fact, introverted, was when I thought about what I liked to do for fun (things that didn’t drain me of energy).

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But my life tends to require a lot of extraversion. So I implement a trick I call “faking extraversion.” I simply act like I’m extroverted and go about my activities as such. This comes pretty easy for me since I’m naturally outgoing (Introvert Myth #4: Busted). It works so well that I actually have to convince most people I’m an introvert.

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But this can only go on for so long. Like most introverts, I have a limited reserve of social energy (“fake extraversion”) and I run out of it eventually. If I don’t ration it off properly or give myself time to recharge, I crash. And I crash hard.

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At this point I have to become a temporary hermit and will spend anywhere from a few hours to a whole weekend “recharging.” I call my temporary sanctuary (or recharge station) my “hidey-hole,” and it can be an assortment of set-ups as depicted by the formula below:

imageExample:

Tea + Blanket + A Good Book + My Apartment = Perfect Hidey-Hole
Hoodie + Socks + Movie + Dark Movie Theater = Perfect Hidey-Hole
Hot Meal + Sofa + Board Game + Boyfriend’s Apartment = Perfect Hidey-Hole

There’s a lot of stuff going around the interwebs about how amazing introverts are and how people should treat introverts better, on and on ad nauseam. And although I agree that our society’s standards should change to be more understanding of the benefits of introversion, I don’t think that introverts are any better than extroverts. We have different strengths and weaknesses, different preferences and different pet peeve’s. Some of the best teams come from mixing extroverts and an introverts – like my sister and I. Ultimately, introverts are just people who need time to observe, reflect, and introspect. And I’m proud to call myself one of them.

 

 

 

 

Friends Happen.

Everyday, Ponderings

It always amazes me how one meets friends. Sometimes you know the instant you meet that you’ll be thick as thieves. Others times, you’re laughing milk out your noses together and you stop and you think, “I think we’re friends now.” Most times, it just happens. There’s no transition, no growth stage, no schedule. You’re friends and that’s all you need to know.

People say you can’t pick your friends and that’s only partly true. I’ve made a lot of new friends over the past six months. Some, I sought out. Others practically knocked down my door. I think that friendship is a desire to walk through life with someone. You don’t have to have everything in common. You don’t have to be from the same background. You don’t even have to like the same things. You must simply both have the shared desire to help each other grow into better people. And the willingness to get dragged through mud together. Thick, sticky, warm mud.

In the end, God made us to be in community with other people. And this was a lesson that was hard for me to learn. My nature is to hide up in my tower and close myself off to the world. Partly because I don’t like to be vulnerable, but mostly because it’s just easier to be alone. I used to think that I could do it all by myself. I had friends, of course, but I saw them as accessories, like something you were supposed to have. Now I know that they are something we, as humans, need.

Throughout my life, I’ve had friends come and go. There have been fights and misunderstandings and laughs and embarrassing homemade videos. Although some friendships ended in heartbreak and despair, I choose to believe that I’ve learned something from every one of them, whether that be about relationships in general or about myself. Really, I think friendships, true friendships, are God’s way of showing us glimpses of himself.

Notes From My iPhone

Everyday

Below is the text from a note I recently wrote on my iPhone. It reads exactly as I wrote it. I have not edited anything:

Why do we feel uncomfortable being alone? In a movie theater. At a concert. At church. I like being alone. I’m an introvert. And yet, I find myself at this very moment at a concert by myself and I feel so awkward like everyone is staring at me because I’m here by my lonesome. I feel so awkward that I’m writing this as an excuse to look like I have something very important to do. I’m a very important person, you know. I have tons of people who know me. They wanted to come so badly but something came up last minute…

There’s nothing wrong with being alone. It’s just that we are raised in a society that points at the person by themselves and screams “look! The freak! The social recluse! They must have poor social skills or BO.”

It’s ok to be alone. We need to let people know that more often. We as people need to be alone more often. And I need to get off my cellphone and be okay with it.