Liquid Footprints

Confessions of an Introvert

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Introverts are often considered strange or socially awkward. Introverts are wrongly considered shy. An introvert isn’t someone who has problems being social. Although we can. An introvert is someone who becomes drained during social interactions. Conversely extroverts are energized during social interactions.

Social events exhaust me like few others things do.

I love spending time in small groups. I dislike parties and similar social occasions.  It’s not that I am shy; they just drain me. For every hour of social interaction I need 2-3 hours of time alone. Of course there are a few exceptions.

Now, I work at a job that requires me to be social for the entirety of my shift (retail). While I relish chances to assist people, my co-workers often don’t understand just how draining it is. Sadly, work takes up so much energy I have to shut myself away from my family to recharge. People often don’t understand what introverts need to work and social optimally. Luckily, my managers both understand and give me time to recharge during the workday when it is hectic and crowded.

I don’t want to go as far as to say introverts should be accommodated like the disabled, but we certainly need some consideration from our more outgoing friends. Introverts are unable to change their introversion. It is as set as being human. No amount of pushing will make an introvert outgoing. If anything pushing will just turn us off further and need a long nap.

Really being an introvert isn’t so bad. We have much higher quality relationships than most extroverts. Because we have so few relationships, they are very deep and focused. Introverts, I like to think, make the best lovers. At the least we tend to listen more. We make better leaders because we consider outcomes before we speak, and our need for solitude allows us to make more informed decisions. Our self reflection also let’s us prevent mistakes from repeating in the future.

Introverts are not socially awkward. From this introvert’s perspective many outgoing people are the ones looking foolish and awkward. They strut and pose about with endless chatter that says nothing meaningful. Many seem to flit upon the winds of pop culture without an anchor in reflection and mental discipline. Their need for relationships lead to no end of trouble.  Far better to be calm and develop a few deep lasting friendships than have many vessels in the shallow waters.

I do, at times, feel discriminated against as an introvert. This was particularly true when I attended a local church.  In study I would pose a question I have reflected upon and researched only to have it disregarded in favor of idle biblical-text speak. Mostly it was just darn trying to get up every Sunday and force a smile; all I wanted was to hide in quiet with my sketchbook for the day.  I was often guilt into going to family gatherings when all I wanted was to be alone.  It took me years to learn nothing was really wrong with me.I thought there was something deeply wrong. Certainly, I was aware of introversion, but it took a complete break of my mental dissonance on many levels to finally be true to myself. So now I don’t go to social functions when I need to be alone. I feed my needs well, am now more friendly, and ‘on’ when I am social. People appreciate being around me more when they finally realized they needed to spend less time around me. It’s a bit odd, but with introverts less time spent with them is time better spent. It is just higher quality.

So if you are an introvert, guard your solitude viciously.  Those close to you will thank you. If you know an introvert, don’t chatter endlessly at them about nothing. Be silent around them. An introvert will speak to you when they are recharged and ready to have a deep, meaningful social exchange.


Author: Chris

Wanders the world of Japanese culture and library nerdiness.

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