I have often suspected I am an introvert. The kind of loner who really likes people, loves to talk to them, but doesn't especially have concern about needing to be around them a lot. It's not a bad way to be at all. Not if one recognizes it.
I really have been socially active up to a point, then I want my own time for me. I have seen that in my son all his life. He is very successful, likes people, but also just enjoys being his own company. He toured Europe alone and just loved every minute. Haven't seen so much of that in other family members.
I read this article with a lot of appreciation. Introverts are different, and they are often misunderstood. Most like people, but they don't feel the need for them all the time.
From the CS Monitor:
Happy Introvert Day: Finally – a breather for those who prefer the company of one.
Ahh, Jan. 2. The day that introverts get to breathe a sigh of relief. We can come out of hiding; it's safe to answer the phone, and to stop pretending we're under the weather. Hip Hip Hooray! The holidays are over.The author talks about presidents she believes were introverted, and made excellent presidents. Then she talks about children who are pressured to be more outgoing. As a retired teacher I know that children are pressured. They are pressured by parents, by other children, and it gets painful.
Yes, from mid-December through New Year's Day, those of us with an introverted nature live in a state of perpetual dread. The weeks of office parties, neighborhood potlucks, and open houses drain all our energy. But today we can relax; we made it through.
I speak from experience. My name is Diane, and I am an introvert. It surprises most people because I'm outgoing and friendly and, in fact, very far from shy, but I prefer one person and one conversation at a time. I fought this for years, always trying to be someone else. I made myself go to parties; I tried to fix what I thought was "wrong" with me. It didn't help that other people would press, "But you're so good with people," as if being introverted meant living on the dark side. But I finally got it.
This is also one of the blessings of maturity, a wisdom that brings a "What you see is what you get" self-acceptance, or perhaps for introverts it's, "Who you don't see is what you get." It is a great relief to stop trying to be who you're not.
But it's no wonder that we introverts are sometimes defensive. Up to 75 percent of the population is considered extroverted, so we're outnumbered three-to-one. American culture tends to reward extroversion, while being disdainful and suspicious of reflection and solitude. I've learned to spot my like-minded peers, though. We're the folks walking toward a festive house saying, "How long do we have to stay?" Or we're the ones in the center of the room assessing others' interactions, and slowly backing toward the door. Introverts crave meaning, so party chitchat feels like sandpaper to our psyche.
Some of my favorite kids were introverts. We related to each other quite well.
Introverted children are pressured to "speak up" and "make friends" – or told they're not leaders. Introverted adults are hounded to "be more outgoing" and tortured with invitations that begin, "Why don't we all..." No thanks, we don't want to do anything that involves "we" and "all"; we prefer to visit you, just you, and not a dozen other people.I remember that until high school I would rather curl up with a really good book by Lois Lenski or Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings than go out a lot. I had a lot of friends anyway, and they tolerated it.
The 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, "The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." Introverts do.
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