An account from an introvert

Ian Maure

A couple of years ago, ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain helped me realise so much more about myself. You see, for years others had told me that I was shy, that I should be more sociable and then there were others who saw my professional side who would never have described me as shy or quiet. Nothing seemed to fit until I read this book.

The identifying aspects of an introvert helped me understand parts of my character which had previously been a contradiction to the idea of being shy. I recognised myself in a lot of the characteristics for an introvert which I could also see strength in being.

Here’s what stood out and reassured me:

1) I can spend time socialising as long as I take time for myself at some point: Previously, I had socialised but would always find myself tired afterwards even if there was no real physical reason for being so. Often, I would find myself saying no to invitations simply because I knew I would end up tired and would need time on my own to recover. Now I know this is part of being an introvert, I build relaxing  time and solitude into my schedule rather than saying no to all invitations.

2) I love spending time on my own: I don’t just need time to myself but I love it. It restores me and I am always happy to relax and reflect especially as that is when most of my decision making occurs. 

3) Music and books really effect me: This was the main part of the book which resonated with me as I had never understood why I could be so sensitive to   instrumental music or just a word in a song which would have a huge effect on me. It was always something I had tried to hide before as others never understood why I could listen to a piece of music over and over and be so emotionally affected. Now that I know it is part of being an introvert, I know there is no need to hide it or be embarrassed by it.

4)  Small talk means nothing to me: I have no interest in small talk at all and clearly have no idea how to do it. It irritates me to the point of either walking away or needing to change the subject to something of more depth. Why waste time on small talk? Surely there are more important things to talk about?

5) The world and its peoples and cultures attract me greatly: Travel and getting to know people from different countries and cultures truly appeals and I have no problem travelling on my own. This is one of the characteristics which made me believe I was not the shy that others would wish to label me as actually I could be outgoing and enjoyed other people’s company if it fitted in with an element of discovery. Travelling alone fits into my need to find time to restore myself and I enjoy connecting with individuals rather than groups. 

6) I notice things others miss: There are many times when I’m in conversation with others and will recall details about a situation or a person that the others didn’t see. I pick up on other people’s emotions even when they aren’t mentioned and often they stick with me. I prefer to help them or get to the bottom of the emotions rather than have a superficial conversation.  

7) Meditation and quiet hobbies give me relief: Meditation and quiet hobbies feed my soul and I come out stronger from those times spent alone. I enjoy hobbies which allow me to reflect and connect with my thoughts and feelings and sort through them. This never feels like time lost or unproductive because it helps me focus and I am able to perform many tasks afterwards.

8) Being in nature restores me: Walking through the woods or being near to water completely restores me. As long as I can be on my own with my thoughts and able to soak up my surroundings.

9) I am a very private person: Again, I can be sociable but there is a definite level of how many questions I will answer or details I will provide about my private life. My professional life is a different matter as that is deemed public, however if too many questions or comments refer to my personal/ private life then I will immediately clam up. The positive part of this for others is that secrets are safe in my hands as they will never be shared with others. 

10) Writing thoughts and feelings down saves me: It is very rare for me to enjoy discussing events or feelings with other people as I get more from processing them through writing. At times when I know I will need to chat things through with others then I will need time to prepare and also to know what will be discussed. 

Have you recognised yourself in this list? How do you find being an introvert? Is there anything you would add to the list? feel free to send your comments through the contact form below.

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