Why are you so quiet? You are so shy. Do you ever talk? Open up a bit. Don’t be too serious. Be yourself.
If you are anything like me, you’ve heard these statements so many times…including from your inner critic. But you aren’t shy or serious or closed off, at least not that much, you are just an introvert. And by the way, you are being yourself.
Don’t worry, I’m not here to give a long monologue on what an introvert is and everything else you could have Googled about introvert life. Just a realization on my own change of opinions on my personality over the years.
Admittedly, I hated the fact that I was quiet. I hated my natural inclination to avoid the spotlight, my love for sitting in a quiet corner alone and enjoy my thoughts that somehow always seemed more interesting than any conversation I ever listened to. I hoped it was a phase. Something I would grow out of and one day I would crack jokes on how quiet of a teen I was. In fact, I decided to speed up the process at one point, making daily goals to talk to at least one person, make as many friends…you get it. But try as I might, I always ended up exhausted, frustrated and an over thinking mess wondering why I didn’t have anything to say for most part of the conversation or why I zoned out within ten minutes of talking to one person.
Introversion, it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows. Unlike movie depictions, we don’t sit near windows on rainy days, drink hot chocolate and wear oversized sweaters. It’s a personality viewed mostly as snobbish, antisocial and most times arrogant. It doesn’t help that I’m a girl. Remember all those articles you’ve read on researches done on men and women? Women are more social they say, they talk double the times men do in a day. It’s common for a woman to talk your head off than a man. An article I once read put it better, ‘we are so used to grandpa going up the attic to read a book while grandma entertained the guests, but what would happen if roles were changed? Everyone would think of grandma as a crazy old woman, right?’ Well think of me as the crazy old woman then. I would rather stay indoors and read a book than get out there and meet up with people. I would rather write my thoughts than talk them. Socializing exhausts me so much I need a day or two to recharge.
Of late though, I decided to do some research on it. Call it my way of self acceptance. Just trying to understand some things much better. And no, reading that Bill Gates is an introvert did not make me feel any better. He’s a billionaire, I’m just a student. In all honesty what made me feel better about it, was the realization that there are so many introverts in the world, who go through the same social exhaustion, judgment, criticism that I do. So yeah, I am one of those people who finds relief in solidarity.