When I was a senior in high school, my best friend called me boring. Boring. Essentially, it was a huge criticism and caused me to spend the next few years hating everything about the word. And hating even more that she was right.
I began to equate my quietness and introvertedness (that’s a word!) as being boring. I hated it. I hated that she was right and I was boring. No wonder I have a hard time making friends, haven’t been on a date in eleventy billion months, and hate everything about the social scene. It’s because I’m boring.
A few weeks ago, Emily Jane wrote an amazing post about introverts and why we struggle with being social. It was a real eye-opener for me to find out there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’m not weird, nor do I need to seek out a more boisterous personality. There were so many interesting tidbits in the post that I won’t begin to talk about them here. The main lesson I took away from it was that I become overstimulated by too much social time and I draw my energy from being quiet. It makes complete sense to me. I cherish my alone times more than my people times. If I don’t get at least a few hours of alone time a day, I get stressed and jittery. (This is why it’s probably a good reason I changed my major from education to journalism. And why I hated my teaching experiences so much.)
My mom and I are both huge introverts. We spend many, many car rides in complete silence. To some people, we may look like we’re mad at each other or barely know one another. But the truth is, this is just the way we were made. If you were to tape a sensor to my brain to spew out everything I was thinking during these “silent” car rides, I don’t even know how many pages you would fill up! When I’m quiet and seem withdrawn into myself, it doesn’t mean I’m not engaged. The opposite is actually true. My mind never seems to shut off and there is so much happening in my brain that it would probably exhaust an extrovert.
I’m beginning to embrace being an introvert. I love the fact that being shy and quiet is such a huge part of me because there’s nothing to be ashamed of! While I would love to have more of my dad’s extroverted personality where he could get anyone and everyone to open up to him and become his best friend justlikethat, I realize it’s OK if I don’t. There are downsides to being so quiet and shy, mainly that it takes me forever to open up to people and let myself enjoy where I’m at. I worry too much about what people think of me. I can’t do small talk for anything. And I cringe at the thought of a car ride with someone I barely know.
But I need to stop worrying about that because it hasn’t gotten me anywhere in the past few years. I’m shy. Incredibly so. I’m quiet, to the point you may think I’m snobbish. (I promise I’m not.) Some may call me boring. So what? It’s who I am. I need to embrace it.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?