Being An Introvert In An Extrovert World

Growing up, I always thought being a quiet person was a bad thing. People assume you’re always hiding something, or you’re just too awkward to even function. I was always automatically deemed “shy” by a lot of people who didn’t even really know me. What a lot of people don’t realize about introverts is that we are not always so aligned with the shy and reticent labels that the world wants to slap on us. Introverts are complicated and have tons of different layers to them.

I think the urban dictionary describes it best. It says, “An introvert prefers to spend time alone in order to recharge their inner being.” Don’t get me wrong—I love to hang out with friends and being around other people. Life without others would be lonely and pointless, and I’m usually down to mingle with new pals from time to time. The disconnect between a true introvert and what others consider a “shy” person comes down to how spending time with others effects your energy. At the end of the day, I am always relieved to finally spend some time alone in my room watching Netflix and getting ready for the next day. It’s not that I don’t like being around other people, it’s just that it’s draining in prolonged periods. In no way is putting time aside for my self an act of seclusion or hiding, but it’s rather necessary for me to wind down from the day.

Extroverts on the other hand thrive from being around others. Other people are their source of energy. An extrovert and introvert can spend the same amount of time with a group of people and will feel completely different afterwards. Extroverts are considered to be more outgoing, which may be true given the way they flourish around others. Then again, I know quite a few people who consider themselves “shy” who are definitely extroverted people. Not all extroverts are party animals or super talkative. Everyone is complicated in their own way, and it’s hard to group someone into just one category.

You’ve heard about how the world is made for right-handed people? Well, it seems like it’s pretty much made for extroverted people too. There’s a social pressure to find a good group of friends, interact with everyone you encounter throughout the day, and manage to maneuver through relationships so as to avoid being lonely. Since when did spending time alone become a sign of anti-social and loner behavior? Turning down late night invitations to do something does not mean you are “no fun”, it just means you understand yourself better than anyone else. It took me a while to realize that being introverted is not a bad thing; it’s a trait of mine that allows me to become more self-aware of the best way to take care of myself.

Yes, I’m a homebody and might be quieter than most people or more reserved that a lot of my peers. At the end of the day no one is going to fit into the same mold, and you might fall somewhere in the middle of extroversion and introversion. For me, being introverted has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and push my boundaries in a lot of ways, and I have a greater appreciation for the time I spend with others as well as the time I spend alone. It’s a personality trait that I’m proud of and believe deserves more recognition in the social climate of today’s age. Calling it a night early on and going home for some "me" time is not a shameful thing, just like introversion is not a bad thing!