“You’re full of it!”
That’s how acquaintances usually respond when I tell them I’m an introvert.
But the truth is that although I may greatly enjoy all these things, they still take tremendous energy and effort. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since a dear friend shared Dr. Carmella’s curious infographic:
At first glance I resented it, because it makes introverts sound a little freakish (I don’t live in a hamster ball, nor must I be treated like a terrified wild animal). But I did like the explanation that “[introverts] naturally find most interaction exhausting.” That certainly describes how I feel about loud parties and crowded spaces.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy parties … it’s just that I sometimes find them overwhelming or even draining. In other words, I can function in these environments, but they’re not what I prefer.
“So,” you may be wondering, “how the hell am I supposed to interact with one of you introvert types?”
Well, I can’t claim to be a spokesperson for introverts (because that would be an oxymoron, and also unfair). But here’s what works for me:
Give me some space. Please understand that I like you — I really, really like you — but I don’t need to be in touch every day.
Give me some space, part 2. Please understand that I enjoy talking with you … but that it takes energy, so I prefer to keep visits short.
Don’t take my occasional silence personally. Please understand that I’m not ignoring you; I’m probably just recovering from a long week at work.
Don’t force me to interact. Please don’t try to “draw me out of my shell” by coercing me into a social event or activity. (And for the love of all that is holy, please don’t throw a party in my honor!)
Oh, and one more thing: I asked my husband what advice he would give someone who is just getting to know an introvert, and I think he summed it up beautifully.
No sudden moves.”
I guess maybe there is a shade of that terrified wild animal in me, after all. *Grin.*