It has taken me a long time to realise that I am not shy. I am an introvert.
When I was younger, like primary school age, I was really gregarious and chatty and I made friends really easily, especially when we were on holiday and things. In my teen years I got quieter and quieter and I just thought it was due to low self-esteem, I was ‘just shy’. Now I am more confident in myself, I realise there may have been an element of shyness, but overall, it was that I am just an introvert.
I have found lately that certain people just really do my head in and it was what prompted me to write the post. In theory I should get along with them; we have things in common and seem generally similar. Yes, I understand I’m not going to get along with everyone, but as a rule, I’m discovering these people are extroverts. The need to fill silence. The need to constantly talk can really do my head in. Having said that, my best friend is an extrovert but she doesn’t fill the silence with idle chatter and isn’t a ‘likes the sound of her own voice’ kind of person, which is obviously why we get along. I think the balance is right with us. She likes to be the centre of attention at a party. I couldn’t think of anything worse. Perfect.
So for any extroverts out there, or equally other introverts, here are some things I have learnt along the way about how you should be friends with an introvert:
- If we hung out yesterday, we don’t want to do it again today.
- No offense, but we need time to recharge after being with people. Even when we’ve really enjoyed ourselves and had fun, it can be really draining.
- If you call on the phone, it better be a major emergency.
- We hate talking on the phone. I’m almost certain texting was invented by introverts who wanted to avoid phone calls.
- We like to listen because we’re good at it.
- We pretty much have the superpower of listening but part of that process is processing. Silence is ok so don’t feel like you have to constantly talk. Superficial ‘small talk’ is the worst.
- Don’t text us and ask us to be ready to hang out in 5 minutes.
- Obviously sometimes things happen spontaneously but for me especially, probably going along with my OCD, is that spontaneity should be the exception, not the rule. We need a lot more than 5 minutes to mentally prepare ourselves to be with people.
- ‘Tired’ can be code for ‘we don’t want to be around people anymore.’
- If we say we want to leave the outing because we’re tired, it might not mean we’re literally tired. We might just be ‘tired’ of being surrounded by people.
I know for people that don’t ‘get’ this, it will sound like I’m a proper anti-social misery. Not at all. It just needs to be planned and prepared ahead of time to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.
Anything else you would add to the list? Monica gives great advice for anyone who is interested in doing marketing as an introvert.