Monday, August 15, 2011

Introverts unite!

Did y'all feel the introvert love on Facebook today? Because you should have. Several of us were sharing links about what it means to be an introvert, and how it probably doesn't mean what you think it means.

I always fancied myself an extrovert. I like to talk, I like to socialize, and hey! I love to be onstage. That's all extrovert stuff, right?

Not necessarily.

After all my talking, socializing, and performing, I needed some quiet time. If I didn't get said quiet time, I got really stressed out and anxious and depressed. (Yes, you can be anxious and depressed at the same time, but that's a whole other blog post.) For a long time, I thought this was just me being a whiny unsociable brat, and I pushed through it. Till one day, I couldn't push through it anymore. I needed help.

I went to see a psychologist. My dad had died, and I was depressed about that, and depressed about feeling like I wanted to be alone because I felt like people expected me to be ON and when I wasn't ON, I was letting everyone down.

"Aha," she said. "You're an introvert."

I started to say "but---" and before I could get it out, she said, "Forget what you think that means." Then she explained to me that the term "introvert" had been unfairly misused to the point where it had negative connotations. "It doesn't mean you're a serial killer or a psychopath," she said. "It means that you get your energy from inside. Extroverts get theirs from outside. One isn't better than the other. They're just different ways of relating to the world, and the world needs both kinds of people."

Y'all, I am not exaggerating when I say I felt like a huge burden had magically lifted from my shoulders. I read everything I could about introversion. And when I began to actively nurture myself as an introvert, everything changed. It made all the difference. I'm no longer struggling between the me who likes to be onstage and the me who likes to be alone. I can do both. Woot!

I got really tickled at a job interview I had just after I found out I was losing my job. The ad was for a "research assistant - Master's degree required." Perfect! When I got there, though, I discovered the employer was into personality profiling. He declared me a "double extrovert" and said someone like me wouldn't be happy doing research all day. Some personality profiler, huh? I tried to explain that I love love LOVE doing research, but he wasn't listening. (Whatever.)

So if I turn down a social invitation, or sneak off at a reenacting event for a few minutes, it's nothing personal. If you catch me being quiet instead of chatty, there's nothing wrong. It's just me recharging the batteries so I can keep on having fun.

Till next time ---- here are some of the links we passed around, if you're interested:

1 comment:

  1. We know what you mean! Doyle and I love doing Events, but when it's "our" time, we'd rather curl up with a great History book or do a little solitude fishing.
    So many people think we have to be in the spotlight all the time, when we really enjoy our quiet time best.
    Thanks for explaining it, I guess we've struggled with the same thing for years and didn't really understand it!