Time has arrived I think finally, when I have to try to explain to the wide world what introversion is actually made of. Because I realize that we are the most misunderstood species on the planet. But I totally get it, because if I were an extrovert, it'd have been difficult to figure out an introvert friend of mine too. Still, explaining ourselves is not something that's high on the list, but I'm still gonna try to do it. In fact, we are the last to usually complain or raise a concern, we sigh into darkness instead.
This is going to be a spoiler-free rant (of course I can't let you in on our trade-secrets! :P ). But this article will probably help you in deciphering that introverted friend of yours a bit better. Not that they expect you do so, in fact they'd rather you didn't but it's good for you both if you do.
First off, let me go outright and say what we're not. Because this is where most misunderstandings arise.
- Very Serious
Even before I begin, stop treating 'introvert' as a negative word already please! It's extremely frustrating to hear people talk about extroversion like it's the best thing since sliced bread. It isn't. Not by any measure.
Definition 1: Introverts are people who just don't have the need to constantly interact with others to keep them going. People who are extremely comfortable being themselves, being with themselves, just soaking in their thoughts, and wondering why isn't everyone around doing the same!! (The last part is not entirely true. A world full of introverts would be a very boring place indeed :)
Definition 2: Introverts gain energy by being with themselves. Extroverts gain energy by interacting with other people. In fact, after having too much social interaction, introverts need to lay low for a while to recharge. And it is extremely critical that they do so!
The above definitions are perhaps all you need to get a rudimentary idea of things. But now you probably need to know what we do differently from you.
#1 We don't talk as much
Yes, we do not talk as much as you'd like us to. But it's not because we have anything against you. We only like to talk when we feel like we have something important to say.
We genuinely like having conversations, believe me, but probably not the kind of conversations you might wanna have. So pardon us if you sense a slight disregard the next time you tell us how fun it was to pull a prank on your colleague at work that day.
#2 We are terrified of small talk
We just find it utterly pointless. So when you put us with a stranger, we'd look down, try to avoid eye contact just so we don't have to say anything, especially when we know that small talk is all that we are ever gonna do. We don't start a conversation when we know it's not going to lead to anything.
#3 We become wallflowers when in crowds
The noise, the din, and the totally futile conversations - this is enough to sap our energy levels down low. There's even a chance for us to feel more isolated when we're surrounded by people than when we are alone.
#4 We love being 'alone'
And no, that's not depressing at all. We can be alone without ever feeling lonely. Not that we don't enjoy company. We absolutely love having a friend/companion around to share and talk to, especially someone who stimulates our brain positively but also respects our privacy. But again, the more the merrier is very untrue in introvertville.
#5 We think a lot
If only you knew all that gets processed in our heads.
#6 We think before talking
Probably something that makes us not very effective at meetings. While extroverts think by talking, introverts like to carefully measure everything out in their minds before saying anything. This is what makes us undoubtedly good at public speaking as our points are just better thought-out. This is also what makes us good listeners.
#7 We rarely ever get bored
This is one of those divine gifts you receive on the side by being an introvert. There is just so much happening in our brains at ALL times, that we can feel very occupied even when all we are doing is sitting on the window sill and staring into the void.
Ergo, we might not have the urge to 'do' stuff all the time to keep ourselves entertained. And anyway, even when we actually want to do something, there's a smorgasbord of stuff to do that we never ever run out of ideas on how to pass time. In fact we feel that there is not enough time in the world to do all that we wanna do.
#8 We shut down when we have to recharge
Like I said before, refueling our brain is something that we need to do on a constant basis because in real life, social interaction is not something that you can forgo. But when we are completely drained, we literally shut down. And this is something no over ever understands.
Is it possible to "fix" introversion and become an extrovert? Not unless you have a very misguided understanding of what introversion is. At best, you can try to become an ambivert if you feel it helps in your professional life. Because introversion, in the end, is an orientation. It's not a phase. Just brood on that for a while.