I’m Having An Introvert Day

introvert2I don’t really want to talk to you today.  I’m having an introvert moment.  But I’ve made a promise to myself that I’d try to blog more, so I thought I’d tell you about how I’m feeling to see if I can connect with other introverts.  I know you’re out there so put down your book and listen a minute.  Let’s celebrate us.

I like to google words and then switch the results view to images.  Often the pictures inspire me in my writing.  When I googled “introvert”, however, I was surprised to find words.  Lots and lots of words.  Homecoming!introvert3

When I was in high school, an assignment in a sociology class was to create a collage that illustrated your world.  I loved the assignment, and diligently clipped things from magazines to create a poster that I was ever so proud of.  I was excited to share it with the class… until I saw that I was the only one who used words, only words.  Granted, they were artistic words, done with different fonts, colors and sizes.  My prize project only illustrated how apart from everything I was, and how boring to other people.  I’m still proud of what I created.  It was me.

I had my annual review at work this week.  My boss said that I was a people person, which caused a lot of screaming in my head.  (“Oh, no, I’m not.  Far from it!)  To me, being a people person means that you’re outgoing, and I am anything but that.  I care about people, that’s true, but I just don’t like being around them all the time.  I can take people in small, short doses before needing to escape.introvertManifesto

I’ve learned to be a pretend extrovert at work.  It’s fun to play at it, but exhausting.  Fortunately, I work from home.  The days I have to go into the office are painful for me.  The building is large and holds thousands of people.  So much noise and constant interruptions.  How do people get work done there?

I’m a good public speaker and a leader at work.  I think I play “extrovert” pretty well.  I know that people can’t understand why I don’t want to go to after work social functions.  I don’t want to blow my cover.

In a Huffingtonpost article, they noted, “Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.”  I say Amen to that.

I’m reading Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet”.  I recommend it for everyone to gain a little understanding in living with yourself (if you’re an introvert) or dealing with others if you aren’t.  The Introvert – Extrovert Quiz

Spatial Orientation lists the 10 Myths about Introverts.  They were all so good I couldn’t pick a favorite.

Duncan Parviainen writes about being an introverted yoga teacher, and mentions many things that are true for me as well.  I will usually turn down lunch and dinner invitations to be by myself, not because I do not like you, but because that is how I recharge my energy.”

introvert1

Chris also contributes to the new food blog Three’s Cooking, learning to cook from the heart, for the soul.

99 thoughts on “I’m Having An Introvert Day

  1. Yes, that so true. I’m a stage person. I was the chairperson of college committee during my college days and I used to be on stage very often but it was a very difficult for me to talk to those same people after that. “I just switch off my social brain after coming down from the stage”- I don’t have any other words to say. I don’t like people wasting my time. Period. 😉 🙂

  2. I’m in a job where I have to be extroverted. I am infinitely grateful for my long commute, it gives me time to wind down and get my energy back.

  3. I’ve never really labeled myself as an “introvert,” but I probably am. Like you, I work from home. When I have to deal with my co-workers and with clients/prospects, I can seem very outgoing. I have to be. It’s my job. But often, there is the requisite lunch or dinner before or after client presentations or even at internal team meetings. I always try to find an excuse for getting out of them. “I have an important meeting tomorrow that I need to prepare for.” “I have to finalize a proposal for a prospective client that’s due on Friday.” When it works, I go back to my hotel room, order room service, and spend quality alone time.

    And if my participation is unavoidable, I play the game. And, like you, I think I’m pretty good at it.

  4. This is me too! In fact, when I read Spatial Orientation’s myths about introverts from the link you posted, every single one sounded like me (the reality, not the myth)!

  5. Oh yeah! Me too!
    And today is a day of no words. Then I surprised myself by writing a seemingly long mail to a friend of mine in north of Sweden. Introvert and sensitive! That’s one possible combination that Carl Jung talked and wrote about. That doesn’t mean I’m a total hermit, but yes! I want to be left alone from time to time.
    The more I do something with people around me, the more I need the quiet moments with myself. Moment!!! HA!!! Off course I hereby mean hours or even a couple of days.
    It’s really good to know I’m not alone in this world.
    And yes! I too can be extrovert when needed – and there are also times when I really enjoy that. I don’t want to be alone always and all the time.

    • Ha ha! Good point about the length of a moment. It really translates into hours or days, depending on the amount of people time you’ve had forced on you. I had to go into the office twice last week, and was in class with a couple dozen people yesterday, so I’m ready for some time off.

      • I’m so glad I now again have sundays free, so I have two days in a row. These last 3,5 months i have worked sundays and have had saturday and monday off. But on saturdays I did the shopping and doing errands, and on mondays I used to do the laundry, and the errands that couldn’t be done on saturday. So I never really felt I was freeeeee!!!!!
        Today has been wonderful. I haven’t spoken to anyone, and the people I’ve seen, have been through the window. Well I watched a movie too… 😀

        • Maybe that’s why it takes me a whole day to recover from work… just trying to get recharged after all the people interaction. Come Sunday afternoon I’m finally ready to do something but the whole weekend has slipped away. Hhhmmmm….

          • My biggest problem now, isn’t my introvert side though. At least I don’t think so, because I’ve been able to interact more with other people earlier in life.
            I blame the fibromyalgia. And I sure do have to do something about it. Starting with the food.
            I just wish this cold winter soon will be over. If only so that it would be a couple of degrees above freezing point instead of below.
            Remember that I last year at this time, also had increased problems with my body.

  6. Me too. Count me in as an introvert. I really have to be comfortable to talk to people and you know the few I do talk with strangers spontaneously. I think blogging is a great way for us introverts to feel contacted to the world. This is one place I like reaching out to people.

    • I agree! Blogging is becoming a great outlet for me, as is journalling which I also started doing recently. And I can’t tell you how much the advent of email made a difference for me at work. My husband will never understand why I much more prefer email to a phone call, and why I prefer not answering the phone when it rings – I need to know why someone wants to talk to me before I pick up that received. There is nothing worse in my universe than feeling like I’ve been put on the spot to answer something I would far rather think about first!

  7. What everyone else said! I’m a musician as well as an art teacher, and while I love being in front of an audience, I can’t wait to get offstage and home to a cup of tea and a good book. And I’m the one in the band who packs up in the background while the others schmooze with the public (and protect me from them!). It’s interesting that introverts are starting to speak up in such droves — I do think the internet helps. I started reading “Quiet”, but the library wanted it back before I was finished — it was on a “short-read” loan because so many people are wanting to read it, and they have several copies. I think that says something about how many of us are trying to understand how to deal with our extroverted culture.

    • I think we’re starting a quiet revolution. The world is too noisy. I wonder how many people who have things like ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are really introverts freaking out because they’re feeling claustrophobic in an extroverted world.

  8. I totally relate to all of this – I can’t even stand music with words! Introvert is a word I’ll have to become more familiar with… maybe that’s why I’m not really making progress trying to learn arabic – I’m really quite comfortable not talking to anybody, and it’s a perfect excuse if I don’t speak the language here! 😉

    • Me, too. There are times words are OK, but mostly I like instrumental pieces. When I have to get my energy flowing at work, it’s bluegrass or Celtic tunes, but no words. What I don’t get are people who can read with the stereo or TV blasting away. How do they deal with all of that input? Crazy!

      • I know what you mean, I need music to help me stay focused on what I’m doing, or else I tend to ‘submerge’ (if that term makes sense to you) and lose myself in an empty place… Smooth jazz, like Richard Elliot or Rick Braun always does the trick for me!

        • Of course I understand “submerge”. I’ll have to try out your musicians. I was a huge Herbie Hancock fan when I was younger but got away from jazz because I would feel a lot of emotion, which can almost equate to words.

          • Oh I loved Herbie Hancock too, but these guys have better ability to stay in the background and still entertain. Lol I wanted to say bluegrass music is like listening to a mockingbird in spring for me!

      • I’m the eldest of nine kids. We never had tv when I was at home, but lots of little kids make a fair bit of noise! I’m also a reader; so I learned to ‘tune out’ from an early age. I can read anywhere. What gives me trouble now is staying with the auditory if I am not fully engaged in a topic. I tend to zone out and just keep nodding. ~ Linne

    • Don’t you love being with someone who understands silence? Who can appreciate peacefulness? I cherish the quiet, still hours of the early morning when my mind is free to go wherever it wants.

  9. Loved this – laughed and laughed – all that I am is here!! !
    I’m the woman who gets to the door of a party, having come under my own steam so I can’t be trapped, , takes a glass of wine, hands it to the person i;m next to, saying could you hold this for me while I find the ladies room, and disappear out of the door again and home…

  10. A good skill for an introvert is to fake extrovert. Immediate superiority. Have you ever met an extrovert who can fake introvert? 🙂
    The ‘King and I’ principle works well. ‘Whistle a happy tune.’, and
    ‘You may be as brave as you make believe you are.’

  11. Extroverts give me their phone number and ask me to call them if I have questions. They put file folders in my mail box and say, “Let’s discuss!” on a post it note. I want to say, “I’d rather die than call you and a MEETING?” I am an introvert and after taking a learning styles inventory I learn I also have 0 aural learning ability. Somewhere back there in the early days of this journey, I learned to shut people out, my way of dealing with familial yammering, I guess. I think introverts are often very good with people. First, we tend to be imaginative so we have probably developed enough empathy to see what’s going on with others. Second, we don’t want to drag out contact beyond its being meaningful. People are usually happy to have their problems solved, their questions answered and a comprehensible response. That’s my theory.

    • I agree that introverts are often very good with people. We spend so much time observing and thinking. You can’t be good with people if you’re the one always doing the talking.

      I also agree with the phone thing. At work we do a lot of instant messaging. While I can get annoyed when it pops up in the middle of a thought, it’s much easier to deal with that a phone call. At home we always let the phone roll over to voice mail, which then sends us a nice little email. We can answer on our time frame.

  12. This is so funny because although I consider myself primarily an extrovert I have introvert tendencies. I actually think i fall somewhere in between. Your article helped me to see that even more clearly and I love you for that.
    I can not imagine you being introverted after following you for only a few months.
    Now you know how celebrities feel.

    • Dawn, thank you for the compliment. I think Cee was right in that the internet is a great tool for those of us who have introverted tendencies. We can live as our alter ego, but have the safety net of turning it off any time we want to.

  13. My family may be out sometimes and i would be at home alone and i think its important to have that time with yourself , there is a lot that gets accomplished. I never worry about feeling alone on weekends , a little sad but not anxious , on the contrary my husband can’t be alone for an hour, he needs people, energy . I completely understand what you mean .

    • I’m married to an introvert and we have to remind each other not to go too far away. The nice thing is that we not only have great conversations but we also revel in quiet time spent just being near each other. When we go on long drives, it will be quiet for hours. From time to time the person in the passenger seat will simply say “Just looking”, which is our signal that everything is OK and we’re just enjoying watching the world go by.

  14. Came here courtesy of Huntmode & think I’ll stick around for a while if you don’t mind. Huntie, Bill Hamilton & I have become a sort of support group for ourselves since we all suffer from COPD.

    • Hi, Benze. I’m glad you found me. Please do hang around for a while. Hopefully you’ll find words that inspire, strengthen and comfort you.
      I’m a Maxine fan and Rara’s blog is great, so I already know we have friends in common. Thanks for the mention on your blog.

  15. The collage with words? I’ve done that before. I love words. I’m also really good at faking extroversion. It’s a good skill to have in this world of social gatherings and “what’s wrong with you? You need to get out more.”

    • Oh, yeah, wrong thing to say to an introvert. I really need to get tee shirts made up saying “I’m having an introvert moment’ but that might just encourage all the extroverts to try to pull us out of our shells more.

  16. C’mon, Chris – sort it out: I don’t believe you can give lectures and be an introvert. Why do you WANT to be an introvert? Be nice: be extrovert. Not that I’d know anything about that … 😉

    • You are such a hoot, Margaret Rose! It must be that Aussie sense of humor. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by. I love it when you visit. BTW, I’m heading to the market today after work to pick up ingredients for your Yummy Pasta recipe. It has my favorite ingredients, ricotta and cherry tomatoes. Sounds fabulous. You’ll see it on ThreesCooking.com soon.

    • I’m thinking about sending the link to the blog to my boss. Seriously. I think managers should have more of an understanding of introverts. Not that it would help to change things on a corporate level since I work in such a big company (68,000 people), but it would be nice to foster some awareness on an individual level.

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  18. Thanks for the follow back at Benzeknees! I am an introvert who had to be an extrovert when I was “at work” & hated the phone or even talking when I got home. Now I am on disability at home, it has made my life much easier. Unfortunately, I’m married to an extrovert who loves to talk & hear the sound of his own voice. My extrovert is currently unemployed & driving me nuts 24/7 because he wants to talk all the time! I would love it if he would get a job so I can be quiet all the hours he is away.

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  20. “..the person in the passenger seat will simply say ‘Just looking’, which is our signal that everything is OK and we’re just enjoying watching the world go by.” What a great idea! Son and I traveled for 16 hours without exchanging words, save for that little bit about the bees hitting the windshield as we went through a few miles of vineyards. No one else is okay with my level of quiet and I must say, I haven’t felt this okay with my introvertedness (thank you, Chris and all of you!) since I read that even as an adult, Caryll Houselander climbed out her bedroom window as company came in her family’s front door!

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  22. I think this quote goes into my life box of best quotes – “the quietest people have the loudest minds.” Too often is being introverted seen as a negative in our society. What a refreshing stance. I loved it, it made me feel comfortable in my own skin. Accepting myself as a writer, for some odd reason, has been hard. This makes me see it in a new way. I remember, having grown up in a Latino family, getting in trouble for being too solitary or reading a books at the beach! Yes, so for me, I guess it took me a bit longer to assimilate that to be heard, sometimes you can be quieter. I still don’t really know which I am- Loud New York Cuban or introverted thinker. But you made me see I can be both and it’s ok. (I’ll hide in for an hour next Thanksgiving lol). Awesome piece!

  23. I’ve been studying and learning about this stuff forever, it seems; wish I’d known more when I was younger. A lot of things would have been different. It’s good to remember that Introvert/Extravert isn’t a point; it’s a scale and where we are can vary a bit from day to day (minute to minute?). An Introvert at 60% is going to have a different experience and present differently to someone who is at 90%. It’s good to keep that in mind. All Introverts are not created Equally Introverted!

    Other factors affect how I seem to others, too. If I’m rested and have had some quiet time, it’s easier to be with people. If I’m with people a lot or I’m tired, it’s harder. What I found interesting is the material about the Myers-Briggs results that are on the Kiersey.com website. They have a good version of the test, too. I’ve had the test several times, a couple of them for work; I usually come out at 95% Introvert (actually I test at 95% I, 95% N, 75% F, 95% P). So it was hard for me to understand why I like people so much and connect strongly with nearly anyone, given half a chance. Sometimes on one topic only, other times on many.

    Then at my last job, we were given the StrengthsFinders book and asked to take the online assessment (you have to buy the book to get a code to admit you to the assessment site). In looking at my top five Strengths and correlating those with my INFP resulst, I came to the best and clearest understanding of myself ever in my life. They have identified 34 strengths; we all have them, but in different orders. So an INFP like me, is going to seem very different from me. When I saw that ‘Connected’ was my second strength, the lightbulb went on! Of course, this book is written from a business manager’s point of view, but I was looking at the more everyday, personal applications. Then I could see how I connect with someone on a bus, have a great conversation, am totally involved and the next day can’t even describe them. Drives other people crazy, and did me, too, until now.

    Fascinating stuff, isn’t it? Another thing I found interesting is that when psycology was first being defined, of the three main definers, Freud and Adler were extraverts; Jung was an introvert. That accounts for the negative language used when describing introverts, and a social viewpoint that has caused a lot of pain to many of us (maybe to most of us). Freud and Adler seemed to think that how they were was ‘normal’ and so if someone was different, they needed to make a change in order to become ‘normal’. They never seemed to figure out that ‘normal’ is a long scale when it comes to Introversion/Extraversion. I always had trouble trying to read what they wrote, but never knew why and stopped trying years ago. Jung’s works, on the other hand . . . I owned a complete set of his writings at one point and he gave me a lot of insight into who I am and how I think, etc. His work on syjbols alone has affected my life in many ways.

    Well, hope that isn’t too much information, as they say! But the whole subject fascinates me. ~ Linne

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  25. Clearly you are not alone on this, so many likes and comments. I loved your post and completely get it. This is so true!: “I’ve learned to be a pretend extrovert at work. It’s fun to play at it, but exhausting.” This is why so many introverts don’t seem like introverts, because we can pretend pretty good, but it is definitely exhausting.

  26. Great post, Chris…Introverts are SO misunderstood! My whole career people have told me that with my “people” skills I should be in sales…there would be no more abhorrent job to me!
    Because I “seem” to be an extrovert, I attract the wrong people in relationships who don’t understand my need to be alone…

  27. I loved reading that you ‘play’ extrovert at work. I can understand this fully. When our friends visit from the UK, I can appear to be an outgoing person but really I’m not. And the exhaustion I feel after this exertion is unreal! Thanks for sharing, a really good read 🙂

  28. Fun article Chris, I enjoy your word play and lots of things I relate to as an introvert who played at being extrovert in a sales career for many years. Talk about exhausting! Though I’m finding that I’m closer to the middle and need my social connections too, even though it’s always easier to be alone. Thanks! Brad

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  31. I took that little 12 question “Quiet Quiz” and it says that I am 100% introvert. Which came as absolutely no surprise to me. It was only recently that I realized that there wasn’t actually anything wrong with me though, that the fact that I’m not a social person isn’t something that needs to fixed. I have many mental health disorders and have been on and off many different medications, and one of the things that I was trying to do with those medications was “fix” the things about me that make me an introvert. My friends would push me to try and find a way to get “better” and find a medication that would make me want to “go out and live a productive life.” I wish that I had known back then that the things that made me an introvert weren’t things that I needed to try and change, but were in fact things that I needed to embrace. I have been off all medications for almost 10 years now, and since I have stopped fighting my introverted qualities and have started to own them instead I am much more able to live with and have some control over my other disorders. I have set up my life in a way that works for me and am doing much better now because of it.

    And I completely understand your introvert days. Even though there is much less pressure with the interaction that we can have through blogging and commenting on others’ blogs, there are some days when even that can be too much for me. There are days when I just need to hide from the world as completely as I can.

    Thank you for your post. 🙂

  32. I get serious people overload. Even with my own family. I am long passed the point where it makes me feel guilty. I am just so much better if I had time to recharge on my own.

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  35. I sometimes think I developed my introverted personality in the hopes of not clashing with my gregarious and outgoing sister when I was young. I don’t know what your IQ is, but mine used to be quite high when I was in school and I do find many people quite tedious. Bullies in school and work seemed to seek me out because of my quiet nature, even though they found out later, their wimp radar was off. I once had a co-worker tell about some wonderful assertiveness training classes she took. She was a lovely person who was picked on by the more aggressive b’s at work as well. I really learned a lot from the classes about not waiting until you are about to blow up to clear the air with bullies and people with unreasonable demands. I spend most of my childhood as a bookworm. Great blog!

    • Yes, yes and yes. I read somewhere that 60% of all high IQ people identify as introverts, but I’d have to pull the reference again to be sure. I haven’t renewed my Mensa membership in many years, but I know that all of us were introverts. We would have quite large gatherings that got to be quite boisterous, but it was a case of introverts feeling comfortable with each other and not having to do small talk. We could also be our own intelligent selves, so that helped.

  36. You described my work life exactly! I even made a doll that was covered with words when we had to do that kind of creative project in our department. After work socializing? Forget it. I pretend to be extroverted 8 hours a day. That’s enough.

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  38. Sometimes living in this world is a little like being an alien. Finding your blog is a little like finding one’s home planet. These are my people. And I totally fit in with them. But I don’t have to see or speak to any of them unless I absolutely am moved to do so. And not getting out of my pajamas to do so is a total bonus.
    Great post. Lovely blog!

  39. Chris, thank you for the follow and thereby leading me to your wonderful blog. I love “Quiet” but there is another book that covers some of the same ground in a more personal way – “Introvert Power” by Laurie Helgoe. Can’t remember which book made this observation but I think of it often when I feel drained by work. Extroverts are energized by being with others, introverts are energized by being alone. I treasure my “alone time” as a way to recharge.

    • I still think my favorite is Marti Laney’s book. Helgoe’s is on my TBR (to be read) list. I want to put out a page of references, so if you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

  40. 61 Musings, It is okay to duck your head back into the shell, it really is, not everyone is out there, not everyone is comfortable being out there and that’s just fine. I feel I have both aspects, mostly the extrovert is in charge, but many times no so. Thank you for your wonderful post. Please take care, Bill, Also thank you for stopping by my blog and deciding to follow for a bit. I truly hope you find more and more reasons to visit and enjoy. Take care, Bill

  41. I never realized that I was an introvert. Staying quiet for long hours was my need. I used to feel exhausted after hanging out with some friends. It is just now that I have taken a back step. Now I understand myself and do not expect others to understand me.
    It is almost enlightening to be an introvert.

  42. I wish I wasn’t such an introvert right now. I’m bottling up things I shouldn’t and it’s stressing me out. Sometimes we just have to get over our own selves to help our own selves I guess. I love this post. We really need to celebrate every point on the continuum. We all have our place, and together we make things happen!

  43. Wow, Chris. You keep explaining us all so well. I would have loved your all-words poster. My husband and I are both … well, we’ve always called ourselves loners. Except when we are in a socisl setting, I’m like you – playing an extrovert. He is the opposite, getting even quieter. The more quiet he gets, the more I feel like I have to socialize. It sometimes feels like a double whammy. And then there’s my blog …. Where I think I’m going to write serious stuff but what comes out is un-serious. We’re all such complex creatires, eh?

  44. I am definitely an introvert and the more I read your blog the more I understand it. I always thought I was weird, strange, depressed… and the list goes on. But your blog is actually comforting and enlightening. I struggle with my blog so much like you did. I sit, sometimes for hours, trying to think of what someone would want to hear. I have it all wrong actually. I need to write for me and not concern myself with who might like it or not. It takes away from the true me. What is that saying, “if you build it, they will come”.. 🙂 this makes me think of you… and perhaps the same will happen for me. Thank you again.

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