Check out this beautiful article written by one of my clients about her experience of realising she was an Introvert…
Originally, I believed introverts were people who disliked socialising and were quiet or shy. Sarah explained to me that this definition was wrong, and together we worked out that I was actually an introvert.
As a person, I am often loud and outspoken around those I’m familiar with, as long as I do not feel vulnerable (such as discussing a topic I am not confident in understanding or one that I am sensitive about). I am always making plans in my head about ideas for days out, and I love being with my family and friends. This is what made me believe I was an extrovert.
My main understanding is that I have what I believe most people call a ‘social battery’. This means I can socialise just as an extrovert would, but up until a certain point.
For example, when I’m on a holiday, at some point I have to separate myself from my family, like staying in my room or sitting on a balcony. I don’t do this because I’m mad at them or fed up but purely because I just need some alone time.
It’s difficult to explain the feeling you get and I don’t know the reason why it happens, but I think it’s something a lot of people experience and is tricky to deal with if you don’t understand what’s happening. It can also be hard to explain my behaviour to people around me, like my Mum who doesn’t really understand why I’m not out with my friends every weekend, because she doesn’t experience that feeling.
I definitely have a very close circle of true friends, which I know is a characteristic of an introvert. Despite this, I also like to be on friendly terms with lots of people that I can spend small amounts of time with, like having a quick conversation within a corridor, getting lunch with or spending lessons with. However, I would never get personal with people I wasn’t extremely close with. At school during my breaks I would often avoid places like the common room because it would be too much, and usually went there when it was in my free periods and there were less people.
I often fake confidence when I meet new people. I do this because I want to seem like an approachable person, when I’d usually rather not be speaking to people I don’t find interesting or have a relationship with. I worked as a cafe assistant for a time and didn’t mind small talk with customers, but I would always try to work in the kitchen with people I knew well instead of out front where I’d have to interact with lots of customers.
Something I have noticed since gaining a better understanding of myself, is that there are certain people who I find it hard to get socially exhausted around. For example, my few very closest friends and my Mum, are people who I find it hard to need to take a break from. I may need to take a break from the social event we are at, but I find I can relax with them rather than on my own.
Understanding I am an introvert helps me to keep in control of my behaviour. I can now understand that certain things are too much for me, and it makes me feel better knowing that it’s not that I’m too lazy for a night out, it’s that this week I really don’t feel like being around strangers and I’d rather we stayed in. (And often my friends are on the same wavelength).
Quarantine has not really been affecting me like I see it affecting some people. I don’t feel a need to go out and don’t think I will do long as I can entertain myself. Although, I do miss my friends and family, and would say I am looking forward to it being over.
-Anon, Lichfield, Staffs, UK
Sarah Terry is a School Counsellor and Author who works in Central England. Her interests include Counselling and Psychology, Personality Types, Jogging and Yoga and Meditation. Find out more here
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