First things first. The picture above is going to be the only picture in this whole post. I generally don’t make my posts as huge blocks of text, even if this one is broken down into titles and paragraphs and all that fun stuff. This picture was taken 2 years ago when I was visiting the fam in Holland, MI. I tried to find pictures that went with the titles in this post but decided against it as I didn’t know if the people in them were introverts or not. It’s a bit of a long read, but if you’ve ever wondered about introverts, maybe my post will help you understand us better.
Don’t Come To Our Homes Unannounced
Seriously. Please don’t do it. You have to understand, our home is our safe space. It’s where we go when we want to escape all the crap that stresses us when we’re outside and have to deal with other people. When you just drop in, you bring the outside inside. Not only that, since we weren’t expecting you, when you just come over it interrupts the peaceful flow of our environment. It’s why, on those rare occasions that every relative seems to be at our house at once, a knock on the door (even by mistake) is enough to make my heart beat faster.
Think of it this way. Your presence disturbs something (besides my peace, this is. 😆 ) You’re either going to move something, or touch something (and if you’ve just come in from the outside and haven’t washed your hands, that’s a big no no for me). First of all, dropping by unannounced is 100% rude, I don’t care who you are. What if the other person already had someone over, or was feeling sick or depressed, or maybe even was on their way out to run some errands? Now, they feel obligated to entertain you. I wouldn’t, but some people might. Mostly though, it’s just because you just dropping by is forced socializing and there are few things I hate more than that.
We Hate Talking On The Phone
It’s bad enough that most jobs involve talking on the phone, even if the phones aren’t that busy. Must our non work time be spent holding a phone to our ear? Even if you use those wireless earbuds, I hate having to think up things to say. I work better with visual cues. How many times have you and the other person started talking at the same time only to have to have the “you go first”, “no, you go first” conversation?
I can’t speak for every introvert (obviously) but I also hate voicemail. Part of it is because some people still do not get the concept of voicemail. 15-20 seconds max. Please do not leave me long ass rambling messages that go over the 1 minute mark. My niece gave me a great idea that I’ve since implemented. She leaves her mailbox full so people can’t leave her voicemails. It’s 2018. Please, send an email. A phone call is just like the unannounced visitor from the above example. Just the sight of my phone going off, or the sound of a ringing phone makes my whole body tense up.
Small Talk Drives Us Crazy
It’s true that we’d rather have meaningful conversations with people close to us, but not with every Chatty Cathy within a 10 block radius. Small talk is the introverts version of being punished for something we did in a past life. Is there a point to any of this? Who are you anyway? We’re waiting for the elevator. That doesn’t mean we have to chat about nothing for the 10 seconds or so to our respective floors. One time I had a guy get on on the 4th floor and get off on the 6th and he still tried to talk to me. Another time I had come back from a run (back when I was into that) and I kept my earbuds in my ears to discourage talking and a woman made a gesture for me to take them out because she wanted to ask me something. Now I know what you’re thinking. “What’s the harm in talking to them? They’re just trying to be friendly!” So their desire to chatter to anyone who happens to be there trumps my desire to be left alone?
Introverts consider small talk a waste of time. We like to be in our own heads most of the time, so having to make idle chit chat about topics like the weather is a waste of valuable thinking time. I always tell my mom that the questions and answers are always the same. I tell her that I might as well just record the conversation and when someone tries to talk to me, just hold up phone and press play so as to avoid all of that. Here’s a sample of every weather related conversation I’ve ever been forced to have with another person.
Random Person: Wow, it’s hot outside!
RP: But then in the winter we’ll complain that it’s too cold. Hahahaha.
I think my mom wanted to kill me when someone said something about the weather, and I said “Yeah, but in the winter we’ll complain that it’s too cold. Hahahaha.” She knew I was being a jerk, but it came across like I was into the conversation. Hey, it was either that or close my eyes and pinch the headache that was beginning to form between my brows. I know these things make me seem like a total bitch, but I really am not. Ask my mom, or my brothers, or my nieces. I just would rather be left alone. Here’s a good way to tell whether or not to make small talk with someone. If they seem friendly and approachable, that might be a good indicator they’re up for chatting. If they have RBF (which I do, and no I’m not angry. That’s just my face) that’s a pretty good indicator that you should just let this one go.
Silence Is Golden, Not Deadly
Not every moment of silence needs to be filled with talking. That shit is exhausting for an introvert. Even just listening to a conversation (not someone else’s of course, but one in which we are expected to be a part of or listen to) is a drain on our energy. I love being with my mom because we can sit in a room either watching tv, reading, or whatever and not say a word to each other for hours. My mom is also an introvert but not in the same way I am. She prefers to have her own space and time, but she’s always polite to whoever drops by. She was raised in a different time and unfortunately she is too nice, which means that it always falls on me to be the asshole, which I don’t mind at all. She’d prefer that I’m not so ass-holish about it but she realizes it benefits both of us. If you let people take advantage of you, your home, or your time, and don’t say anything even if it inconveniences you/stresses you out, they’ll do it again and again. I see it all the time.
We also can have great conversations as well. The point is, we understand each other. We need time for ourselves. Introverts don’t need to be isolated but we do need alone time and that can mean sitting in a room and not having to talk with anyone. Silence allows us to recharge our internal batteries. When we (introverts) don’t get that time, we become frazzled and snappish over the smallest things. It’s also why I prefer to eat lunch alone when I’m at work. I just spent the morning having to make small talk at random times, relevant talk to my boss or anyone who called, and it’s going to be more of the same in the afternoon into the evening until it’s time to leave. Is it too much to ask to have 30 minutes to an hour to eat my food and recharge my drained energy?
Your Version of Plans Is Different Than Our Version of Plans
To an extrovert, plans involve leaving the house, going to a party or meeting up with friends for dinner or drinks, or something else with a lot of people. To an introvert, plans usually means curled up at home in our pajamas with a book or a good tv show or movie. If our plans do involve us leaving the house, it usually involves us leaving, getting there, and coming back, alone. I like doing things like going out to eat alone. It means I can actually focus on eating my food. I do not feel lonely or self conscious. I do not feel the need to bring along a book. I’m happy just being by myself.
We’re Perfectly Happy With Our Lives And Don’t Need To Be Fixed
A lot of books about introverts seem to try to get them to become more extroverted. Being introverted doesn’t bother us, but it seems to bother extroverts. Why? There’s nothing wrong with being introverted. Being able to enjoy your own company should be seen as an advantage. How is constantly needing someone around you in order to do things seen as the more desirable way to be? I knew a girl who never went to restaurants, even ones she really wanted to try, because she didn’t have anyone to go with her. She hadn’t taken a vacation in years because she couldn’t find anyone to go with her. Jesus Christ, do you need someone with you in order to breathe as well?
Being an introvert means we don’t stick with bad relationships or friends because we can’t deal with the idea of being alone. Personally, I think that behavior is something that needs to be corrected rather than someone wanting peace and quiet. I may be an extreme introvert but I’d still say I’m pretty happy with who I am. I don’t need someone in my life in order to be able to live it. I like to travel and I don’t have to find a travel buddy in order to take a vacation. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all. I did go to Italy the first time with Esther and had a blast. I’m talking about people who don’t even take vacations unless they have someone with them.) There are so many advantages to being by yourself that I truly don’t understand those people that seem to have some sort of allergy to being by themselves for any amount of time. You get to do what you want, when you want, without having to take anybody else into consideration. You can have things exactly the way you want them. You can just be you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting friends and relationships, but when you seem to have no identity without them, that to me is a bigger problem than someone who is content with their own company.
When We’re Forced To Socialize, It Always Comes Back To Bite Us In The Ass
Think that chatty co-worker who somehow came to think that you’re besties. Look, at work we’re paid to not only do our jobs, but also to be pleasant. Not just to clients, but also to each other. This means that we all have a work persona and a real persona. It’s not that we introverts have anything against the other person. It’s just that if we didn’t work together, we probably wouldn’t interact with them. The small talk that we are forced to engage in for the sake of keeping a pleasant work environment drains our energy and the last thing we want is to let that overlap into our personal time. Besides, half of workplace friendships consists of office gossip and shit talking other workers. That is not my thing and I try to avoid giving off the impression that I’m willing to listen to things like that. In my opinion, becoming friends with someone you work with is like dating someone you work with. Eventually you’re going to have a disagreement, or even a falling out. To keep harmony in the office, and also to prevent someone from having the ammunition to screw you over at your job, let’s just keep work at work.
It doesn’t even have to be a co worker. It can be anyone that you were nice to out a sense of politeness who somehow came to view the interaction as something deeper than it actually was. If someone comes over to talk to you, it would be rude to not at least make some kind of remark back, right? Well, now Chatty Cathy thinks you two are best buddies and you find yourself spending most of your time avoiding her calls, texts, e-mails, etc.
“How Do You Expect To Have A Relationship If You Don’t Meet People?”
Please, stop asking this. Do we seemed worried about it? Then you shouldn’t be either. But since you ask, there are plenty of ways. Online dating is popular, and not just for introverts. It’s not like we’re holed up in our homes with half a dozen locks on our doors. We do leave the house. Just because it isn’t for parties or some other huge gathering filled with noise and crowds doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for us to meet people. We just happen to be more selective about who we date, which apparently is also wrong.
Look, relationships are great. It’s just that we don’t spend our every waking minute consumed with having another person in our lives. If it happens, great. If not, we’ll be okay. This is where being comfortable being alone and with your own thoughts comes in handy. I’m thankful that I haven’t been subjected to “well meaning” relatives or friends trying to fix me up. To those of you who have had to deal with such occurrences, you have my deepest sympathies. I think that anyone who knows me, knows me well enough to guess how I would react. I would firmly, but politely tell them that I will not be tricked or cajoled into going out with anyone and that any further intrusions into my personal life would not be tolerated.
I hate hearing “He’s such a nice guy. Why don’t you just give him a chance?” (this is always said to women), or “You’re too particular”, or (one of my favorites) “Just go out to dinner with him. You get a free meal and you might like the person.” Ok, first of all, I don’t go around using people for food. Secondly, accepting someone’s invitation to a date gives them the impression that you’re interested in them. What do you say at the end of the night or if they call you wanting to get together again? “Uh, thanks, but I only went for the food”?
We Don’t Like To Be Touched
I really can’t stress this enough. If you’re an affectionate person, fine. But please assess the situation, especially if you know the person. Please don’t grab my hand or arm. Please no hugs or kisses. Kisses especially because just please don’t put your mouth on me, especially if my cheek feels wet when you’re done. As for hugs, it’s been 5 seconds. I think you can let go now, or at least loosen your grip so I don’t feel like I’m being killed by an anaconda. Now there are exceptions to this preference. My mom for instance can hug me whenever she wants and there is no time limit. In fact, I love when she hugs me. Friends and relatives? A smile and a hello will do just fine. Touching is personal, even if it isn’t in a suggestive way. Grabbing my arm means I’m about to be taken in a direction I didn’t want to go, or have to stay in a place when I wanted to leave.
So that’s about it. I’ve read a lot of articles about introverts, written by introverts, and they do a much better job of really getting at the core of what makes introverts tick, but I figured that I’d get my voice out there too, because why not? These don’t define every introvert of course, but these are just general things I’ve noticed about other introverts, and things that personally bother me. I do feel that this world is very much slanted in favor of extroverts and that needs to change, not to the other end of the issue but to a more balanced existence. Even jobs. Most office jobs can be done from home. Why there aren’t more easily accessible, legitimate work from home jobs in 2018, I don’t know.
People love to say things like “that will only make you more introverted and that’s the last thing you need”. Of course, those things are usually said by extroverts. It’s not up to them to decide what is best for someone else. Hopefully, as the years go on, more opportunities will prevent themselves for introverts and we’ll stop being looked at as people who need to be changed.