I don’t like going out much. I’ve always had a hard time making new friends or interacting with people. Don’t get me wrong. I love to travel and see the world, I enjoy meeting people and partying every now and then. Oh, and I love exploring random places. But most of the time, I prefer to be alone or with some really close friend, in nature or at home, writing or reading, otherwise just chilling with the headphones on.
When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time in room engrossed in some book or watching some flick. I remember my mom bugging me to go out with friends saying “Why don’t you go out and play?” But I didn’t want to go out and play. Well, to be honest, its still the same. I still get calls from my mother everyday, asking me to go out, meet people and make new friends. Growing up was a bit different for me, when every other kid was being advised and asked by their parents to stay home more often and choose friends wisely, my parents were asking me to make some friends atleast. This doesn’t mean that I don’t value friendships and relationships. It means that I can take social interactions only in smaller doses. Yes, I am an introvert.
Okay, that is so not only because of the fact that, I don’t like having avoidable meaningless conversations, but as Susan has depicted in the “The Power of Introverts” because of a completely different way that we, introverts have been wired. A lot of people would come to me and try to make conversation thinking that I am unable to do it for myself and that they could help me cheer me up this way. What they have trouble understanding is that introverts are happier being alone.
Close surface encounter with people and long bouts of social interaction can leave us feeling depleted. That does not mean we don’t like you or that we hate you, it only means that we need time quiet time alone. And, yes for all those who come to me and say that I should not be shy to talk, introvertness is not about shyness. It doesn’t necessarily translate into social fear or awkwardness. I am not shy to do even the things I am really bad at (Yes, dancing it is, oh! you thought of writing, well you right then). Well, I like writing, telling stories in my own ways. It is just that the small talks (be it on virtual platforms) exhausts me.
I may not really walk up to you and say, “Hey, I am tanu” or initiate a chat. But for one thing I am good at listening. You could for hours and about anything, introverts would listen with genuine interest. Introverts are good listeners making people feel heard and who doesn’t want to be heard. Well, that is one reason, that of the very few friends that introverts make, they make them feel valued making the friendship last really very long. Not that I have not tried to be social and act the way ambiverts or extroverts around act. It gets really difficult for me, for in a group or around people my energy drains away. It looks like I’ve zoned out because I’m on sensory overload, and need a minute to refocus.
So at work or a party, when see a group of people gathered around, I tend to stay away. Not because I’m shy, and not because I don’t like them — but because small talk depletes me. Its a different story when I see some one alone, I am more likely to approach them and have a conversation with them. It is in smaller groups that the walls come down and we are better able to get past chatter and learn something real about another person. We do have talks and try to understand what’s really going on their lives, but only when its done one-on-one or in a small group. And just to break your myth, we neither bite people, nor are scared of them, we do go out every now and then. Sometimes we prefer to go out with people we are very much acquainted, otherwise with a small group or one person. We love quiet moments as it makes it easy to connect and connection is important to introverts. Its interesting to know where a person comes from, what are his hopes, why he does what he does, what are his thoughts.And this information is hard to come by when everything is noisy and high-octane. But in addition to connecting on an intimate level with others, introverts need time to think through things, to connect with our own thoughts and dreams. Yes, we are dreamers. We do a all of day dreaming and bridging of your thoughts.
I write a lot of bad poems and end up filling my diaries with horrible doddle, well of what I understand its because the day is exhausting for me. I realize I do that mostly when I am at work or amongst some big group. That was the reason I used to loose myself in the music and try to forget about the world around. Daydreaming and music gave me an out — it was my quiet space in a world of chaos. It was my escape.
Well as an introvert, one thing I now know for sure is that I would not let anyone make me feel bad for not wanting to “get out more.” And if you are an extrovert who is always trying to draw the introvert out of his shell: just know, the introvert may be happy just the way he is. Don’t assume that the introverts in your life don’t like you or don’t find you interesting. If they don’t go to your party, it’s not because they’re shy, and it’s not because they’re snobby. Introverts are just like you, only quieter. We need our time alone, and sometimes, we need time alone with you — just the two of us, to really connect.