I frequently had a book with my around company or at a friends house. I started to put myself to bed at 2 years old. I would sit on the bench when at the park and people watch. I would write instead of watch movies. It wasn’t typical.
Here’s something most people don’t get. When an introvert feels overloaded it stresses their whole body, an acute anxiety takes over. There’s an intense urge to be alone and in a controlled setting. At some point it feels like sirens are going off in your mind. Everything spins out of control. And now, at this point, it’s hard to enjoy the rest of the event or occasion.
Every time you go somewhere you dread it and fear how worn out you will be by the end. You start queuing up the answers to all of the questions that are inevitable. How do you explain to people just how painful it is to “let loose”? How do you explain that there are deeper topics you want to talk about instead of the latest popular movie?
Unless you’ve experienced this for yourself you won’t fully understand. You also can’t understand how horrible it feels to apologize for something that is an intricate part of who you are. It’s also all you’ve ever known. Trying to transform your personality to fit the status quo’s expectations is the worst part. But, no one seems to understand.
I always wondered why it was so important for me to be social. Enjoying company of others and events generally means doing what you like. At one point I refused to ever again apologize for not wanting to do some things that only created stress. If the point of the occasion is to have a good time then I will unapologetically do what is peaceful and pleasurable to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I have friends, I swear. I have people who have seen the deepest parts of me. They know my personality and accept it for what it is. These are the friendships that I cherish.
I do enjoy some events and parties. I have learned to have a great time at them. I enjoy spending time with my friends. The difference is that I need time and space after these events. I don’t gain energy from interacting with people. I gain energy from quiet.
The difference is that I no longer put myself in situations where I am demeaned for not being a typical extroverted partier. That’s not me. I refuse to feel bad when someone tells me I am antisocial for not wanting to do what they want to do. There is nothing wrong with being a passionate, smart, nerdy, and introverted individual.
One thing has been sure. I have learned to adapt. I have learned how to interact in highly social circumstances with poise and certainty. I’m not antisocial, just purposeful. I can speak to a room full of people with confidence, knowing I do have valuable information to share.
At the end of the day I make myself tea and read a good book in the quiet of my room without expectations to live up to. Not everyone enjoys life by being the life of the party. Some of us enjoy a few really deep friendships and doing things we have a profound passion for. This is me, I am an introvert that has learned to adapt to some social expectations by being confidently myself and always taking the chance to calm the stress in my life in the quiet.