Not that I owe anybody an explanation, but I felt the need to put some things out there that I often find myself defending simply because I’m quiet. I am an introvert, meaning that my personality is one of quiet reflection, observation, and oneness.
Even though there are millions of introverts living just fine out there in our world, I know we are misunderstood far more than our extroverted counterparts. I’ve been misunderstood more times than I can count on all my fingers and toes, and probably yours too if I borrowed them.
I’ve heard this so many times: “What’s wrong?”
And this: “Are you okay?”
This: “Why are you being so quiet?”
And this delightful advice: “Stop being so antisocial!”
Well, if you must know, nothing is wrong with me, yes I’m okay, I’m quiet because I feel like being quiet, and I’m not antisocial, you asshole.
I’m writing about some misconceptions to clear the air about us misunderstood introverts. Maybe it’ll help you understand me a little better, or some other lovable introvert in your life.
1. You don’t like to talk. I do like to talk about stuff that matters with people who actually listen. Just because I’m not flappin’ my gums to everyone around me doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy meaningful conversations.
2. You’re shy. No. I’m not afraid of approaching people or talking with people (see above). I will speak up to anyone when I feel there is a need, trust me. A shy person wouldn’t have done a presentation on masturbation in college, or have called her boss out on his shit as a professional, both of which I’ve done and would do again.
3. You’re a snob. I was called this often growing up, so much so that I kinda started to believe it. Well, I’m not a snob. I just like people to be real and honest and I don’t find a lot of use in small talk. It’s boring and insincere.
4. You’re lonely. I’m independent and I don’t rely on someone else to make me happy. I think they call that being a grown up. Forgive me for maturing a little early and enjoying my alone time.
5. You always look so serious. What you may see as serious, I see as thoughtful. I’m in my head a lot, thinking about all kinds of things and reflecting on life, constantly.
6. You don’t smile very much. Okay, maybe not. But this doesn’t mean I’m not content or happy. I let my feelings show when I feel like it, mostly with people I love very much.
7. You don’t have a lot of friends. Nope. The thought of keeping up and keeping in contact with a whole bunch of people makes me exhausted. I like to keep a few friends who get me and who I can be myself with.
8. Your life must be so boring. If you compare my life to the life of a very extroverted person, then I guess you could say mine is boring. If you were inside my head though, trust me you would not think that. There’s a lot going on in there, folks.
9. You’re a target for bullies and people who take advantage. Maybe so, but I also possess the ability to put the fear of death into people when I do speak up, because I don’t very often, so when I do, they know I mean business.
10. You always want to be alone. Not true. I relish alone time and I do need it for self-care, especially since my job requires me to do a lot of social interaction. However, I very much enjoy the company of genuine people, in small doses of course. And I crave connections with human beings.
11. You’re a weirdo. Alright, I’ve been called worse. But let me explain something. I am thoughtful and reflective and I want to be genuine, always. I don’t follow the crowd or do something just because others are. I sometimes do things out of the norm, march to the beat of my own drum, so-to-speak, because I think for myself. This is part of what makes me so interesting.
12. You must disappoint people. This is totally true. When people place expectations on me to be outgoing, super friendly, or invite them into my life willy-nilly, they will be disappointed. I do not live up to other peoples’ expectations; I live up to my own (see above).
13. You’re bitchy. Sometimes used along with snob, but just as much untrue. I speak my mind when I have something important to say, even when others don’t want to hear it. I’m honest and if I’m saying something out loud, it’s because I’ve been thinking it for a long time and finally feel like sharing it. So listen up.
14. You’re closed off. Perhaps, but I’m also very open. You might be confused, but just ask a few of my closest friends or family members to understand what I’m saying. I keep my guard up with new people, yes, and if I don’t trust you, you’ll never get to know the real me, only what I allow you to know. If I share my deepest thoughts and feelings with you or feel comfortable enough to laugh and let loose with you, please know how much of a compliment that truly is.
15. You don’t like people. I like people a lot, in small doses. For example, being hostess to house guests can be a lot of fun, when I am prepared and feeling up to the task. Spring something like that on me, though, and be prepared for a meltdown (just ask my husband what happened when he “forgot” to tell me his dad was coming to stay one weekend). Also, I feel like I should mention that I do not like surprises, this includes parties or gatherings of any kind. I need to know what to expect. Throw me a surprise party and I will turn around and walk out, leaving you to explain to all the guests why you’re such an asshole.
16. You don’t know how to relax or have fun. Very much to the contrary. I know exactly what I need to relax and have fun. I don’t need a party, a bar, a lot of excitement or people. I like quiet. If there is too much noise or talking going on, I will shut down and retreat to my inner world. This is not about you; this is simply how my brain works.
17. You would rather take the “easy way out” and write to someone than talk to them. I am a writer and I do use my writing to express myself. I’m a much better writer than a speaker, that’s true. But, this is not an “easy way out.” Writing is work for me and I think very critically about every word I put out there.
18. You need to learn some social skills to be more extroverted. I have social skills. I am not some mute who doesn’t know how to interact with other human beings. I simply take my time to survey my environment and I think before I speak. The world just might be a better place if everyone did that. Think about it. Also, I don’t need fixing because I’m not broken.
I’ll wrap this up with these, because they are my truth: