"You're an introvert", often accompanied with, "you're shy", feels like a judgement, being less than, that there is something wrong with you, or something you are missing. For many people, it certainly hasn't been seen as a strength or something to be admired or envied. Even the dictionary definitions are unhelpful:
noun; an outgoing, socially confident person.
noun: a shy, reticent person
Being an introvert doesn't mean I am shy, doesn't mean I don't like people, doesn't mean I am not confident, or even that I can't enjoy public speaking.
For me, the most simple and helpful way of understanding introversion versus extroversion is that an introvert's energy is drained by being with people, and they need alone time to recharge, whilst an extrovert's energy is drained by being alone and they need to be with people to recharge.
The world we lived in until a few weeks ago was set up for extroverts. They were in charge. They made the noise. They shouted loudest. They were the life and soul of the party, whilst us introverts were made to feel we were lacking somehow if we didn't want to join in.
Well, how the tables have turned. The introverts I know are coping really well with 'social distancing' and 'isolation'. For many, it is just perfect. We can happily stay at home for extended periods. We get to choose when and how we interact with people. We can chat on the phone, join something online if we choose to. But mainly we are enjoying the freedom to choose not to 'be sociable', or to try to fit in.
So, I could be compassionate and say to all the extroverts who are struggling to get their need for social contact met, I see you, I understand what you need. But right now, after a lifetime of being judged for being an introvert, I just want to say get over yourselves and think about the introverts who have had to manage years and years of feeling judged as they found ways to fit into a noisy, busy world.
But for now, Introverts Rule!
Don't worry, I certainly don't expect extroverts to start behaving like introverts. I get that you need human interaction to make you feel okay. Once you recognise that is what you need, take steps to find it. Even with physical distancing, you can find ways to do that.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!