I found a good article the other day titled “Caring for Your Introvert”.
The author makes his case much better than I can. I wish I could just paste the whole thing here for you, but that would be cheating. And lazy. But here’s a quote:
How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice?
First, recognize that it’s not a choice. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s an orientation.
Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don’t say “What’s the matter?” or “Are you all right?”
Third, don’t say anything else, either.
I am an introvert. That’s not to say that I’m pigeon-holing myself. What’s the sociology term? “Career deviance”.
A term coined by Becker to refer to deviance that results only from a person being labeled a deviant. The person accepts the label, as do others, and forms his or her life around it, leading to increased criminality. This term is the same as Lemert’s secondary deviance.
I don’t mean it fatalistically and I’m not saying that it defines me or is my identity, but it is an accurate description of my social metabolism.
In a nutshell, it means:
- In order to recharge I need time alone.
- I prefer to spend quality time with a friend or a few good friends and not a large group.
I find myself thoroughly perplexed and frustrated by this at times.
To some, it’s not worth the time to hang out with someone for the sake of just hanging out. If they’re going to spend their valuable time doing something it’s going to be something worth doing. Something grand that involves a lot of people. Like this:
Him/Her: “Yeh, we should. Oh, I have to study for so-and-so. I’m really busy with work, sorry. Maybe in [name of month]. I’ll have more free time then. Hold on one sec, I’ve got to take this call. What? Happy Hour? I’m there!”
- To me, socializing is worth the effort if I can really talk to people or be with people.
Being with a good friend or friends is like finding a health power-up when you’re playing a video game. Conversely, being in large groups is like stepping on a land mine. Being in a bar or nightclub is like walking off of a texture-mapped wall into a pit of lava.
These are not absolutes, by the way. And I’d like to clarify. Being introverted is not the same as being anti-social. I think most introverts love being around people, but they want to spend time connecting with smart, funny, self-aware, thoughtful people. It’s all about the people.
Being introverted is not the same as being flaky. I’m where I’m going to be when I say I’m going to be there. Give or take 15 minutes. Heck, I (and other introverts) value face time. If I make an arrangement to meet up three and a half months from now at 5:23 PM in front of 123 Main St., I’ll be there. Even if you forget. Now, how long will it take me to get back to you after you leave a voice mail? Ehhhhh…
- Telephones are draining.
What is known as phone phobia is more common than I realized. Google “phone phobia” and you’ll find lots of people saying things like, “I have this aversion to telephones and I don’t know why. It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only one.”
For someone who needs alone time to recharge, a ringing phone is the equivalent of trying to get a good night’s sleep and having people throw ringing alarm clocks through your window at random times throughout the night. Obviously, many times you’re glad they did. But you may have to recover before you’re fully awake and up to speed. This is one of those things I just have to suck up and deal with because an aversion to phones is a social handicap, but don’t be surprised if your local introvert prefers to email, IM or text message.
Here’s what it boils down to, my friends. I value you and your time. Maybe more than you realize. So much so that I want to sit down and hear what’s going on with you and what you’re up to and what your plans are. I want to learn about and care about you and who you are and what you want to do with your life. Maybe we’ve got common interests like making music or playing sports or the outdoors. I can’t get to that in a bar/club where we have to yell at each other, only hear half of what’s said, pretend we heard it all, and keep yelling until our throats hurt. Or if your plan or habit is to drink so much that you forget the night entirely.
see more dog pictures
“I SAID, I LIKE THIS SONG! WHEN I WAS IN…”
If my life were music, there’s a lot of rests. When the notes come they mean something.
But please, do not take away from this blog entry that I don’t like to socialize. That’s my point. I do. There are even periods where I make great efforts to be outgoing, assertive, to initiate social contact, to risk rejection, to put myself out there, to go for it.
And then it takes a few weeks to recover from the effort. No joke. And it’s all worthwhile. I just need downtime afterward.
Oh. One more thing. Obviously, not everyone is built this way. I don’t mean to say that my way is necessarily more worthwhile than yours. Even if we may frustrate each other now and then, introverts and extroverts. Life is full of trade offs. There are pros and cons. Some people thrive with their life being more like death metal over a classic Public Enemy industrial hip hop track.
But this is where I’m coming from. Usually.