I’m afraid I fit the cliche of an introvert; I’m shy, I’m quiet, I take the stairs to avoid small talk with strangers on an elevator, and the love of my life is my cat- whom I cherish as if I’d physically given birth to him myself. It sounds pathetic, and I admit it probably is, but I’ve found I can be HAPPY as in introvert- something that a lot of introverts haven’t discovered.
How to Be a Happy Introvert
An Introvert's Guide to Coping in an Extrovert's World (yes, it is possible!)
The Happy Introvert
My 5 Step Journey to Being a Happy Introvert
Introverts are often described as antisocial, boring, or even selfish. But why? We enjoy the same things extroverts do, we just need to do it in moderation.
Being an introvert myself, I know how important it is to compartmentalize my time; for every hour spent socializing, I need two more for myself to recharge. This is something extroverts don't understand. While extroverts feed off of people and get their energy from one another, the opposite effect happens to introverts. Introverts are thinkers and observers. Its natural for us to watch the world go by without speaking. We get our energy from being by ourselves to think and observe. This brings me to my first point of topic:
- Friendships. As humans we need socialization- we crave it. Most introverts are drawn to one another, which is a good thing because they understand when one needs to be left alone to recharge. However, if you find yourself drawn to an extrovert, its okay! You CAN be friends with an extrovert as long as you can explain why sometimes you need time to yourself. My best friend is an extrovert and while I love her to pieces, it gets exhausting being around her too much and she took it personally when I needed to be left alone. Explain to your delicate extroverts "Its not you, its me." If you can do that, your friendships will never suffer again.
- Dating.The dreadful D word. If you are anything like me, your life has become a never ending cycle of friends and family asking why you don't date. While you may have other reasons, I'm guessing being in introvert is a big part of why you aren't dating. It can be a hassle for anyone but someone who would rather have shorter dates, and "a romantic weekend away" sounds more like "you mean a whole weekend with no time for myself?"- this could be a problem. In our society, you are expected to spend every waking moment together with that special someone in order to show you love them. Introverts don't want that. In fact, nobody (other than a 15 year old middle school girl) wants that. I fooled myself into thinking that once I found a guy I'd rather spend time with than be by myself, I'd date him. I've realized and accepted that as an introvert, I'll always want alone time but that doesn't mean I have to be lonely. Its much easier to shut the door on dating than to face the reality of being an introverted fish in a sea of extroverts.
Dealing with dating is pretty similar to friendships- you HAVE to explain that you need time to yourself. Another thing I love about our modern world is the ability to communicate through texting or e-mails. Its a great way to talk to your beloved without having to bare the draining face-to-face conversations where your brain needs to stay on social mode for 3 hours without a break. That doesn't mean you wouldn't enjoy an evening out once or twice a week with the right person so if you've cut off dating altogether, maybe its time to get back out there. You can still enjoy dating without giving up all your recharge time.
- Find What You Love.
This should be a must-do for everyone, not just introverts. If you're lucky enough to have a job or career you love, hold on to that. If not, you've got to find something you love doing that pulls you away from the stress of being in this hectic world. Take up reading, writing, knitting, baking, hiking, swimming- ANYTHING that you find you're passionate about, keep it. This is your way to recharge.
- RECHARGE. RECHARGE. RECHARGE.
If you are an introvert, this should go without saying. You MUST recharge your brain. To get our energy and drive, we have to have time alone to recharge. Typically, time alone doesn't mean sitting a room staring at a blank wall, although if that's what you're into, by all means go for it. The majority of us like to have a little hobby that shuts our minds off from what causes our introverted stress. Find something you love and stick with it (unless you love murdering people then you should probably kick the habit.) Whatever helps you recharge, do it. Introverts need to recharge. If we don't, we turn into angry, grumpy people and its not very fun.
- Be Proud to be Introverted.
I used to hate being introverted. I thought needing to be left alone and not wanting to spend time with people I cared about had to mean there was something horribly wrong with my mental state. I was wrong. I didn't know there was such a thing as "introverted and extroverted," but when I read about it, it was like I'd discovered this missing piece of my life; I could understand why I am the way I am and I know there is NOTHING wrong with me for it. Stop letting people, society, and yourself tell you how you should be and start embracing who you are. When you can love your introverted yourself, you will easily find how happy you can be in this extroverted world.