we are the quiet ones
the ones who don’t often speak up
when you are talking loudly and excitedly about WHAT FUN the party is!!!!! we’re wondering how long before we can find a polite excuse to go home.
now and again I just feel the need to remind you that we exist.
and that not everyone likes this sort of thing – the stuff that you enjoy so much. It’s not that I have a problem with you enjoying it – my problem is with the pressure, the expectation, the demand that everyone join in, the insistence that THIS IS FUN!!! when there are people for whom the thing you find FUN is actually torture.
I know extroverts who are not like that, who understand that we’re all different and that what they thrive on is not what everyone else thrives on, that different types of people have different needs, different ways of recharging, different ways of having fun. Those are people who have the maturity and understanding to let introverts have the space they need, the peace and quiet that is so vital to us, the time for solitude so that we can recharge our batteries from all that social interaction which is part of life and we have to do to a certain extent – and some of it we actually enjoy, especially when it’s a one-to-one conversation or a very small group of people and we can talk about stuff we actually find interesting. Some people wrongly interpret introvert behaviour as anti-social, stand-offish – but the truth is we just have to pace ourselves and can’t do too much social interaction or we’ll get totally drained.
I have learned this the hard way – overdoing it and then getting to the point where I couldn’t find the energy to even answer the most basic question. Energy – that’s what it’s about, for an introvert it takes energy to interact with people and so we can’t do too much of it, and if you invite us to a noisy party with hundreds of people and you say IT’S GOING TO BE SUCH FUN!!! we can’t share in your enthusiasm as we’re already feeling tired just from hearing you talk about it.
if you are someone who thrives on that stuff, I’m happy for you – as long as you leave me alone and don’t insist on dragging me into it. not because I don’t want to – simply because I can’t. it’s not the way I’m made.
if you are someone who thrives on that stuff, think how you would feel if someone said to you: I’d really love you to come to this thing I’m doing with a few friends, we’re going to this place I know that’s beautiful and peaceful, away from everything, and we’re going to sit in silence for an hour and contemplate the beauty of the lake.
I’m an introvert and the picture I’ve just drawn in words is one that makes me immediately feel happy, I have a real smile on my face as I type, just from imagining that situation – somewhere peaceful and beautiful, away from everything, where I could sit and look at water and just be… it’s my idea of utter bliss. But if you’re an extrovert then you’re probably feeling uncomfortable at the thought. You would probably really really hate it. You’d be bored out of your head after two minutes. And that’s ok – we’re different, what works for me doesn’t work for you, and vice versa. I just want you to understand that, and to accept us as we are just as I accept you as you are. I’m not going to pressurise you to come away to a quiet place with me and contemplate nature in silence – I know it’s not your scene. Please don’t pressurise me into pretending I enjoy loud parties, noisy crowds, all that stuff you love doing. I will not pretend.
Yours very sincerely