Tuesday, October 29, 2013

365 Days of Happy - Day 303

I find this introvert-extrovert perception to be so interesting. Must be why so many of my Days of Happy are of articles defending and defining introversion. 
Here are some of my favorite points from What Is It Really Like to Be an Introvert? by Kate Bartolotta

As someone who works with people all the time, you'd think I'd be an extrovert. I'm friendly. I'm not shy. But when I get close to my 'people time' limit, it's time to shut down, be quiet and hole up with a good book. I love helping people, but there's a huge reason that I balance that type of work with where I get to be quiet and dive in to working with words instead of being bombarded with interaction.

It's because - although I don't fall into some of the old stereotypes - I'm an introvert.

I spent years feeling guilty if I wanted to spend time alone instead of doing things with friends. I learned to make the best of it, and often pushed myself to be social - even when it felt exhausting. Many people do this, as extroversion tends to be prized in our society, while introversion is seen as a 'second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.' It is none of those things. For those of us who are wired that way, it can be our greatest asset.

Being introvert has nothing to do with lack of confidence. Many confident people are introverted and gather their strength from the time they spend alone rather than from the input of others. In some ways, I believe that the ability to enjoy being by yourself says a great deal about your confidence.

A lot of us fall somewhere in the middle between the two, and some interactions take more out of people than others.

A few things to consider if someone you care about falls more on the introverted end of the spectrum:

1. Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available.
For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We're happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel. We aren't mad. We don't stop caring about you. We'll be so happy to see you and talk to you again when we've had some time to decompress.

2. Silence isn't a bad thing.
Really. It's not an insult. It's the introvert's way of conserving energy and restoring him or herself. If we can be quiet with you (and you can be content being quiet with us) it's a huge compliment and a huge relief. Other times the quiet really does not need to be spent alone. We come back when we're ready. It's worth the wait.

3. Text. Write letters. Email. We love it.
There are times that you can't beat a face-to-face conversation, I'd agree 100 percent. But for introverts, sometimes being able to stay connected and stay in touch in a less intense and less draining way is a huge help. Being in crowds is tough. Even long conversations can be tough if we're already 'peopled out.' Having the freedom to respond when we are ready is a great feeling. Sometimes, it's right away. If it's not, don't be offended.

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