I am an Introvert: a Confession Blog

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Okay, okay, okay... I am publicly admitting to something that I've not been wanting to admit to myself for a while. I finally told my boyfriend a couple of nights ago, and now I am sharing here.

I am an introvert.

THERE. I said it. And, okay, I realize that most of you think this is the biggest non-deal ever, that it doesn't matter, and what's wrong with being an introvert anyways? (To answer your question: nothing.) My boyfriend's response was, "Yeah. This isn't news. You've been an introvert since I met you [back in 2009]."

So why do I think this is such a big deal?

Because I really, really did not used to be.

Just to clarify: and extrovert is not a "social person" and an introvert is not an "antisocial person." That is a common misconception.

An extrovert is someone who gains energy while among/socializing with people. An extrovert feels empowered while socializing.

An introvert is someone who spends energy while among/socializing with people. An introvert feels drained after long periods of socializing. It's not that an introvert doesn't like to be around people--they do--but they would like to pick and choose how/when they socialize to maximize the energy they will be spending with people.

Here is a lovely comic which explains this which I found on the internet:

(Here is a larger version: botcrawl.com/guide-to-un

An introvert does like being with people, but they also like being on their own in order to recover. I noticed that after work (teaching, tutoring, nannying--all very social people-focused jobs), I just want to be left alone. I want to read articles online, play video games, and not be very social. This was very hard on Boyfriend because he felt that he hadn't seen me all day and would like to spend time with me. I don't mind sitting and watching TV with him, but I would rather just hold hands and do something quiet, not necessarily with a lot of cuddling or talking or anything interactive.

Boyfriend is also an introvert, but his job is very different. He doesn't have to put out as much social energy as I do and, thus, has more to spare when he gets home. I'm pretty much drained of all my social energy, and possibly of all my reserves.

He's learned over the past few months that this is what I need--some "me" time after work, and then I'll be back to normal. After finding all sorts of pictures on the internet, I've learned that the reason I am this way is because I am an introvert. I spend so much energy socializing, working with kids and people, that I just want to shut down at the end of the day and recover.

I didn't used to be this way. I used to be a total extrovert--wanting attention, feeding on the attention people would pay me. I was your classic theater high school kid.

I honestly have no idea what happened. Sometime over college, I changed. Maybe it was because I kept getting hurt by boyfriends/random guys crushing on me, so I decided to keep more to myself to keep safe. Maybe it's something else entirely--I did not notice the change at all. A year ago I would have called myself an introvert, though, looking back, I can clearly see that I wasn't.

So now I know. I'm an introvert. I like people, being with people, working with people...

But sometimes, I just want to be alone.

And that's okay.

So just to clarify: Extroverts aren't "cool people" and introverts aren't "anti-social losers." Extroverts are people who feel best around people, and introverts feel best when they are alone. But introverts do enjoy being around people, and extroverts enjoy being alone sometimes.

In conclusion, some notes on how to care for your introvert/extrovert:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD8151099
    Thank you for posting this.
    Did you know that in Harvard, they specifically push introverts to ``be`` extroverts. Corporate America ( and Canada, too) has become sold on the idea that teamwork is some kind of be-all and end-all. It is as pervasive and as wrong as when white people believed that they were the ``natural`` masters of all they surveyed.
    Think about all of the great Thinkers and Doers of our times. They go off and do their work by themselves.
    Someday, Introversion won`t be considered a bad thing.
    I`d like to think that the next battle for equality ( think women`s rights, black rights, gay rights) will be Introverts rights.

    Cheers! emoticon
    2569 days ago
  • THEBEE59
    Wow, thanks for this blog! I am well aware I am an introvert...and it's difficult in dating because a lot of men don't get why I need space but still like them, ugh.

    I was looking for an introvert team on here and that's how I came across your blog. So glad I did. Now I'm friending you.
    2834 days ago
  • FROSTYJO1957
    Thank you for this blog. It gave me a better understanding of myself and others around me. Awesome blog!
    2844 days ago
    Wow... after reading this I think I'm actually an extrovert, even though I've spent my life thinking I was an introvert. I'm shy how ever.
    Thank you for the blog, it's an eye opener.
    2844 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12121677
    Loved this blog. I am an introvert, but I am also shy. But this made me look at part of myself with a different eye. Thanks for posting!
    2844 days ago
    Love this blog...friending you now :) lol
    2844 days ago
    I think if you asked anyone who knows me, they would think that I am an extrovert, but the truth is, I am not. I love people and talking and parties, etc., but I do not gain energy from them; they wear me out.

    As a teacher, I am "turned on" all day, and when I get home I don't even want to have music playing--I just need solitude and "me time".

    Thanks for this!
    2844 days ago
    Thank you so much for this post. I have always been an introvert and it's been extremely hard to explain to many people in my life. My ex-husband would frequently gripe at me because after coming home from a demanding customer service job, all I really wanted to do is have 15-30 minutes of "me" time in order to recharge from the day. He couldn't even give me that no matter how much I tried to explain it to him. Living on my own has wound up being the best thing ever because now I have that recharge time during the week and then be my normal self around my boyfriend all weekend, even when we're out and about socializing.
    2849 days ago
  • LEB0401
    VERY informative. I've defined myself as an introvert before, but I was still shocked at how much I identified with the characteristics mentioned. Wow!
    2849 days ago
  • LYNSEY723
    Can a person be both? I think I'm both.

    Anyway - it's great that you have learned this about yourself! This will probably provide you and boyfriend more happiness in the future since you now understand what each other is feeling when coming home from work. These illustrations put it perfectly!
    2849 days ago
    I wonder if I am changing with age or just becoming a more mature extrovert? I love to see people having a good time so I host a lot of events but I am usually exhausted afterwards and need to be alone for quite some time. I am beginning to wonder if I was every really extroverted. When I am in social situations I am very social and people call me a people's person but in most moments, I am a quite thinker who prefers to role solo or with one person. You have gave me a new insight.
    2849 days ago
    I LOVE THIS POST!!! I want to print it off and keep copies that I can hand to people when they ask me why I am angry when I don't beam like I freaking star at get-togethers or parties. I found the "How to care for introverts" rules a couple of weeks ago and now I keep a copy of it on my desktop at work. Number 2 and number 3 are my big ones. I don't know about you but in public, even large gatherings I don't feel drained of energy until someone (usually a person I have never met who doesn't know me at all) tries to pull me into the fray by poking fun at me. There is nothing that makes me feel more insecure and panicky than that. I love to be "around" people, I love to observe ... that is enough to make me feel like I am part of what is going on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert!
    2849 days ago
    I think most of us are a mix... I am definitely energized by being around people, but I like time to myself too. Congratulations on understanding your needs, and explaining them to your boyfriend.
    2850 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12229405
    emoticon Thanks for explaining introverts so well.
    2850 days ago
    A definite 'YUPPERS' for me too! Thanks for sharing & reconfirming that we are not alone :)
    2850 days ago
    This explains a lot. After a day of teaching I want to be alone and quiet. There are times during the Christmas season I want to hibernate I am just exhausted being around people. My family thinks I'm reserved but this made sense to me. Thanks for sharing!

    2850 days ago
    I am totally an introvert, and normally I am okay with that. But sometimes I think I should be more of an extrovert... and that is when I run into trouble.
    2850 days ago
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    2850 days ago
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    2850 days ago
    I think I'm a little of both!
    2850 days ago
    thanks for bringing attention to our plight..introverts unite!!
    2850 days ago
  • DALID414
    I'm an introvert too. Thanks SO much for explaining the TRUE meaning of it.
    2850 days ago
    I don't think that I fit to either of them, I guess it depends on the day and the mood. But thank you so much for sharing!
    Now I'll be able to notice the difference and you gave us great tips on how we should behave in order to make both categories of people feel comfortable.

    2850 days ago
    Well...reading your blog has given me the courage to do the same. I also am an introvert. I am realizing this just now.
    2850 days ago
    Yup, I'm an introvert too. My bf is an extrovert and is always trying to "get me out my bubble". I like that # chart on caring for introverts #4-7 & #11 are spot on for me. I should have my bf read it! :]
    2850 days ago

    Great blog!
    2850 days ago
    Well done post! Me too. (-:
    2850 days ago
    I with you. Both my husband and myself spend a great deal of time with the public at work. When we get home...we are spent. I just recover faster than he does.
    2850 days ago
    I loved this post. You're very honest and I appreciate that. It's made me stop and take a look not only at myself, but also at those around me.
    2850 days ago
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