I don’t know how to break this to you, but I’m just going to come out and say it – I’m an introvert. Does that mean there is something wrong with me? No, not at all. Chances are, if you’re an introvert, you’re tired of people treating you like you’re weird because you enjoy your alone time. If you’re an extrovert you need to read this to have a better understanding of introverted people in your life. If you’re an introvert, do yourself a solid and pass this info along to those who need to see it.
How to Know if You’re An Introvert
Are you unsure if you’re an introvert or extrovert? You can find your answer by asking yourself the following question. After a long day do you get the urge to call up all of your friends and go out or do you get the urge to go home and rest? If your urge is to be alone then you are most likely an introvert.
Introverts need alone time to recharge. Extroverts gain energy from being around people – they need it. Just like extroverts need social time, introverts need alone time.
Introverts Need Alone Time
Growing up I was always in my room with the door closed. My mom thought there was something wrong with me. She thought I didn’t want to spend time with her and my sister. That wasn’t the case at all, I just needed alone time to recharge my batteries.
Since the majority of people are extroverts, this kind of behavior is viewed as weird or antisocial. That’s because extroverts can’t be alone for long periods of time. They get bored easily and it drains their mental energy.
The same way that being out socializing for hours on end drains an introvert, that’s what happens to extroverts when they are alone.
However, as an introvert you need your alone time, despite what others think of you. You need it for your sanity and for your energy.
You see, introverts tend to spend more time in their own head – meaning they are deep thinkers. Extroverts tend to spend more time outside of their own head, by doing more talking than thinking. I’m not trying to say one is better than the other, I’m just showing how we are different.
The Shy Myth
It’s a common misconception that introverts are shy. You can be shy or outgoing, no matter if you are an introvert or extrovert.
Growing up I was always described as shy or quiet. However, anyone close to me would say the complete opposite. In fact, most of them would say I don’t ever shutup. Which is true, when you get me started on something I can talk for hours. The difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that introverts prefer discussion and extroverts prefer presentation.
Extroverts love to talk, but don’t have the patience to listen. Introverts actually listen to people. We tend to get less action in a conversation because we respond slower.
Here’s the typical process of an introvert in conversation:
- Listen to what you’re saying
- Wait for you to finish before responding
- Process what you’ve said and form a response
- Give a thoughtful response
Here’s the typical process of an extrovert in conversation:
- Talk as much as you will allow
- When you talk they have already planned a response before hearing what you’ve said
- Filling the smallest gaps of silence with more talking, which means cutting you off or interrupting you if you took half a second too long to say something
Introverts wouldn’t be so quiet if extroverts would shut the fuck up!
Now I have nothing against extroverts, I’m just standing up for all of the introverts out there. I think most extroverts would admit that they love talking so I’m sure there’s not much offense taken here anyway.
One of my biggest pet peeves was how my parents would always introduce me to people as a shy kid or quiet kid. I hated that. The ironic part was that I would try to speak up and explain that I was in fact not shy, but they would cut me off before I could.
I’m sure if you are an introvert you can relate to this. We are written off as shy, like we have some kind of disease. Then people feel the need to talk on our behalf like we lack basic communication skills, when it’s actually extroverts who are much less effective communicators. Many extroverts would never know that though, because they don’t hear anything besides the sound of their own voice.
The Lone Wolf
There’s a reason why many introverts will claim the wolf as their spirit animal or indentify with the lone wolf persona.
I think a big reason for that is because wolves are independent. They work well in packs, but they can ride solo if they have to as well. It’s not uncommon for wolves to be members of several different packs throughout their life, while spending a lot of time on their own in between.
That’s how I feel introverts are, at least that’s how I am. Being a deep thinker, I am fascinated by people and I enjoy the company of others. I am easy going and I get along with most people I meet.
However, the great thing about being an introvert is that you don’t ever have to rely on the presence of others. Extroverts will continue to hang out with friends they don’t like or annoy them, because they fear being alone. An introvert can happily walk away in a heartbeat. Time is the most valuable resource and introverts don’t waste time on worthless people.
The same goes for dating relationships. We all would like to date the girl or guy of our dreams, but that usually means sorting through a few duds along the way. Extroverts tend to stick around in bad relationships longer, because again, they can’t stand the thought of being alone. Personally, I’d rather be alone than date a girl who is dumb or shallow.
When extroverts date introverts, there needs to be a mutual understanding.
Like introverts, wolves are also misunderstood. (I actually never knew this until a professor in college made us read a book about it)
I’m not talking about how hipsters are misunderstood. We all understand that hipsters lack any respectable qualities and are too lazy to develop them, so they must resort to getting attention by intentionally being different. There is absolutely no misunderstanding there – we are all thinking it and I just said it.
No, introverts are actually misunderstood because most mainstream social advice is created by and targeted towards extroverts.
Introverts Must Guard Their Energy
Everything that exists is connected through a form of energy. Every living thing has energy. We can’t see it, but it’s all around us.
You know that feeling when someone says something really awkward? Immediately, everyone in the room feels that sense of awkwardness and discomfort. That’s an example of how energy affects us.
The gift and curse of being an introvert is being highly sensitive to energy.
It’s a gift because it makes you more intuitive. Greater intuition means:
- Connecting with people on a deeper level
- Being better at reading people and quickly getting a feel for what kind of person they are
- Knowing the right things to say when someone needs to hear it
The downside to being highly sensitive to energy is that we take on people’s problems.
You see, extroverts tend to project more energy into the world and introverts tend to absorb more energy. Which means we tend to take on the emotions of people we are surrounded by.
This is why, as an introvert, you HAVE to avoid negative people. I think everyone should avoid negative people, but for introverts it is a necessity for happiness. Yes, that means even avoiding negative family members if you’re in that scenario.
As an introvert you must guard your energy. That means being selective about who you are around, who you talk to, what music you listen to, and even what you watch.
This all goes back to why we need alone time to hit the refresh button. That’s why, as an introvert, you dread big social events and you are always ready to leave before everyone else. It’s exhausting taking on the energy of all those different people.
One thing I’ve discovered is that alcohol actually seems to prevent this (absorbing others’ energy) from happening, at least from my experience. I don’t want to imply that I’ve lived a boring and tame life because I’m an introvert. It’s been quite the opposite actually, but that’s because my whole life I’ve always knew to take time to be alone when I could.
In college I went to parties, hosted parties, traveled and shared hotel rooms with large groups of people, loved going to crowded bars and clubs, got thrown out of said places, had drunken conversations with strangers, approached any girl I wanted to, participated in (and often lost) dance battles and then some other things that I’m not going to share here. Being an introvert doesn’t mean being a hermit.
The only thing was that I could never go to a loud college bar or club sober. Well, I did, but I avoided it at all costs. I’d rather pay for the cab than be the designated driver.
The problem with clubs and bars is that everyone is drunk and alcohol brings out the worst in people. All I could see was a crowded room full of angry and depressed people. I couldn’t enjoy myself. However, I found that when I was drinking that I no longer felt their energy.
You know the saying “you have to drink to have fun.” Well, for me to have fun at a college bar or crowded club, that is generally true. Since I don’t drink much anymore, I don’t go out to bars or clubs anymore. Plus, I’m past that point anyways – I got what I wanted out of college and I’ve moved on.
As an introvert you need to be mindful of this. If you are college-aged and don’t enjoy bars and clubs, that’s fine. However, if you aren’t against drinking and you would like to enjoy bars than alcohol in moderation can help.
I’m not suggesting to use alcohol at all times to numb yourself from society. Alcohol is a horrible drug and should really be kept to moderate use at most. I never had a problem with it, but I’ve never been addicted to anything.
Addictions are for the weak-minded. I have no pity for those who lack self-control and neither should you. Addicts’ self-loathing and needy behavior is exactly the kind of thing that drains introverts of their energy.
Just remember to guard your energy at all times. If at all possible, avoid people who drain your energy and bring you down. Since you know you are going to absorb their energy, you might as well surround yourself with positive and happy people instead.
I hope that helps some introverts understand why they feel the way they do. You’re not weird and you’re not alone, except when you want to be – haha! Also, I hope this gives some perspective to the extroverts out there. Please don’t misunderstand the message here, there’s nothing wrong with being an extrovert either. My goal here is to simply offer some insight that doesn’t get shared as often.
Extrovert or introvert, let me know what you think about all this in the comments.
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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