Being an introvert has been a lifelong challenge. As a child, I was so shy I wouldn’t speak to strangers. As an adult, sometimes I’m the same way, though not so much now. Some extroverts have a difficult time understanding me. And that’s ok. But if you’d like to get a little understanding of an introvert’s life, read on.
In the role of Office Manager at my church, I encounter people all the time. Friends, acquaintances, and strangers are all in my office from time to time. I’m perfectly fine with one on one, or maybe as many as five people at a time. If there are more people than that Who are strangers to me, I start becoming uncomfortable, at a loss for words, I get quiet.
In small group situations, I’m ok if I know everyone pretty well, but if I’m in a room with twenty or more, and many I don’t know, not only am I uncomfortable, I get nervous. Like in church on Sunday morning, I need to sit at the end of a pew close to an exit. I need to know I have a way out. Put me in the middle of a pew with people on both sides of me and I feel trapped. It’s uncomfortable, and a little scary.
I avoid functions where there’s going to be larger groups of people. It’s not that I don’t like people, I just find the situation difficult. The entire time I’m wishing I was home reading a book. Yes, I can be there and talk to people one on one, but I don’t want to be. There are too many sounds, voices, that make me want to retreat to my own quiet space.
I’ve had people tell me I’m crazy, that I’m unsociable, and that I don’t like people. That’s not it. I’m an introvert who likes peaceful surroundings and situations. I love spending time with my pets, reading books, knitting scarves, and watching movies. I just do. That’s how I am.
It’s frustrating for me to have folks try to change me into a more outgoing person. I’ve been pushed, pulled, coaxed, and tricked into going to different functions because someone else thinks it would be good for me to get out and about, to party and have a good time. But that’s not who I am.
In my mind, I get plenty of social interaction at work and with other encounters throughout the day. Then I’m done. It’s such a nice feeling to get home to my pets, put my PJ’s on, and curl up with a good book. Sometimes I’m writing instead of reading. That works for me, too.
Being an introvert does not mean I hate people. It just means I like being with them in smaller doses than others might. In most cases, an introvert just wants to be an introvert. Don’t try to change me, just let me live life my own way.
Thank you for letting me share a bit of my life with you.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you want to change who you are?