I was talking to a friend on the phone recently and she said: I’m not an introvert, I really like people.
Which points me to one of those common misunderstandings about introverts. The reason I get “peopled out” is nothing to do with liking or disliking people, I can get peopled out after spending time with those who are very dear to me – it’s simply that it takes energy for me to interact with others, and the only way I can recharge my energy is through time when I don’t have to be sociable.
Of course there are some people whose company I find more tiring than others – like those who “talk at you” incessantly, without pausing for breath and without asking you anything at all about yourself; those who enjoy talking about lots of minor details and never go into anything deep or meaningful; those who talk very loudly – and also I get more tired if it’s a large group of people than if I’m in a one-to-one conversation. But the crucial point here is that it’s about getting tired from having too much of it – it’s nothing to do with a dislike for the people involved.
I know people sometimes misinterpret my behaviour and think I’m being arrogant, antisocial, rejecting them – I’m not, I’m just doing what I need in order to remain relatively sane and avoid getting to the point where I’d be in danger of strangling an innocent human being just because they ask “how are you” when I’ve totally run out of social energy.
Dear humans, it’s not that I don’t like you. Obviously I like some of you more than others, but that’s normal, right? I like you in small numbers, I like you when you’re ready to have a real conversation about stuff that matters, I like you when you’re happy to have a quiet, leisurely chat without rushing on to talk to the next person, I like you when you show depth, and not only do I like you, I need to interact with you – being an introvert doesn’t mean I don’t need social interaction, it simply means that I can’t do too much of it, I have to pace myself or I get exhausted, drained, unable to utter a sentence.
Nothing personal. It’s just how I am.