I like being alone. I crave time by myself. Many of us introverted types usually do. We don’t care if we have a houseful of people and we aren’t looking to be with a crowd. We tend to want to be with ourselves. We need time to think. We need time to be…well, just be. It’s not that I’m anti-social, I don’t think I’m anti-anything, it’s just I like being with me. I have shit to think about. Stuff to read. Stuff to write. Stuff to paint. Just stuff to do that doesn’t include others. I get in a crowd and it makes me uncomfortable. I’m much better than I used to be, but still…it makes me edgy. It’s better when I know everyone and they know me and aren’t expecting me to be witty, or engaging or a major conversationalist. I suck at conversation. I can be witty with a couple of glasses of wine and a good friend or two, but more than that and I shut down. I get nervous. I think they have more interesting things to say that I would like to listen to. Not that I’m not intelligent enough to participate, on the contrary I can be a smart ass…just, I have to know that you can take it first. I can talk about books and authors and movies and sentence structure and my dog and…other stuff. You just have to show me that you’re interested in that stuff too. We make you work for our time…you have to show us that you want to be in our company. We don’t NEED somebody else to feel ‘complete’ or to feel like we matter. We matter. We know that. We like our space. Our time.
We introverts are around but we aren’t as noticeable as our extroverted counterparts. We usually aren’t the life of the party. We tend to watch the goings on. Not that we don’t speak up, we just listen first. We tend to be lurking in the shadows or watching from the sidelines. We’re not ‘stuck up’ or think we are superior, we just wait until we feel we have something important to contribute.
I was always labelled ‘shy’…even ‘backward’. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean. Backward. Like, I walk backwards? I talk backwards? I don’t think I think backwards. I behave backwards? Who the hell made this up? Somebody backwards…
I think we are a misunderstood species. I think people make many assumptions about our personalities before they have the opportunity to get to know us better, but then again, that happens with anyone who is perceived as different…or even ‘backward’. It’s assumed we don’t like people or parties or any type of social gathering, so don’t get invited. It’s assumed we are stuck up, or have a superiority complex. We’re just quiet. It’s assumed we are ignorant or even stupid. We’re just waiting for an intelligent conversation and don’t want to bore you with semantics. It’s assumed we have nothing to contribute, but we just are waiting for the opportunity. We don’t do small talk. It’s uninteresting to talk about the weather and who really wants to know if it’s raining out…again. We take our time and want to get to know someone before jumping in to anything. Our time is valuable and so is yours.
I’m saying ‘we’ because this isn’t just a ‘me’ thing. Introverts are nothing new and I’m not alone. It’s like a movement of sorts, now. There’s Quietrev a website that has a newsletter I receive regularly in my email that talks about being an introvert and how being ‘quiet’ doesn’t mean that you are any less important, less intelligent or less anything. It discusses how to make gains in professional circles where networking is a key component and how to maneuver in a world that tends to dismiss the quiet few and reward the noisy majority. ‘Squeaky wheel gets the oil?’ is that the saying? We think that’s wrong. We can be heard, just in our own way and time.
Blogging gives me my voice. Writing gives me the opportunity to say what I’m thinking and people get to know me who otherwise may have had the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss me as uninterested or ‘stuck-up’, or that I simply have nothing to say. No part of that is true.
Give us our space and time and we will give you our thoughts…just don’t expect us to yell over anyone to be heard.