Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun

introvert-vs-extrovertThis is the first in a weekly series debunking myths about introverts.  The basis of the 10 week series is the article written by Carl King.  I will show his thinking, add mine and then encourage all of you to contribute your thoughts on the subject.

Don’t know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert?  Take Susan Cain’s quiz.

Carl:  Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Chris:  Do I really know how to relax and have fun?  Sometimes I wonder.  I have a bad habit of pushing until I get too overwhelmed and then just shut down.  I think my problem is that as soon as I think of things to do, I focus on all the expenditures associated with that  (Example: going to a museum = get dressed, print out directions, deal with driving into the city, finding a parking space, being around a lot of people, etc.).  I’m learning to stop myself before I get to the overwhelm point and manage a little better so that I can relax and have fun.

What is fun for me? Reading, of course.  I am an introvert, after all.  I tend to swing between two extremes:  reading chunksters (thick non-fiction books) and cozy mystery stories (no gratuitous sex, blood and violence).  There was a time when I really enjoyed writing my own mysteries, and I hope to get back to that someday.

Outside activities:  meditation in a beautiful, quiet place.  Watching the birds that come to my bird feeder.  Cee and I moved into a wonderful house last summer and we’re looking forward to planting a nice garden that will give her more photo opportunities and me a splendid place to meditate.

Watching our favorite movies: We have a collection of movies that we find uplifting or funny, or both.  We also like “B” rated disaster movies… the kind that are just good enough to be able to sit through but not scary or depressing.  We like to make fun of them and wave goodbye to all the people who we know are going to be crunched or blown away soon.  (Does anyone get this current dystopia trend?  The last thing I want is to wander through a forlorn, depressing world.)   Cee would watch a lot more movies but I tend to get into the characters enough that it becomes tiring for me.  I know it’s all make believe, but I like to write realistic characters, so I get into the heads of people and after a while that is like a party without small talk.  Still draining.

Inside:  sitting with a cat, or two cats, or a cat and a dog in my lap.  Or with none of them if there is too much competition for lap space or if they’re insisting I put down my book.  Blogging is getting to be quite fun for me.  There are times I just need to spend time playing games on the computer, but they are usually pretty simple games.  Just things I can use as a diversion.

I’m still trying to define “fun” in my own head.  All of my life I categorized myself as “boring”, but I realize now it’s only because my idea of fun is different from 75% of the world.  I look forward to seeing what you do for fun to see if it triggers anything in me.

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

47 thoughts on “Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun

  1. It’s so good that Susan Cain is getting it out there about Introverts. I’ve enjoyed your introvert posts, and think the weekly post is a great idea! I like reading your blog, and I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award!

  2. I love this! Thank you! A light went on as I read your post. I never made the connection as to why I couldn’t watch the tv series with my family, for as long as they wanted to watch. (Lately it was Doctor Who)… And I love your posts. I should show them to the extroverts in my life. It bugs me to no end that people around me don’t “get” that I choose how I have fun.

  3. I’ve really identified a lot. I mean; I love to read books, I have a great Cat who’s soothing and comforting for me and I love just being with him. Characters I watch or read gives me such an emotional connection. And I did always think of myself as ‘boring’ as, too, what’s fun to me is opposite to the norm. I’d rather sit in the movies than be in a busy Pub/nightlife. And fun for me is having a dance with the Cat in my arms, exercising to a dance DVD, and reading. So it’s true – I am an Introvert! And not the only one!!

  4. It was kind of a relief to discover that I was an introvert. There are times that I want to do go out – but most of the time I like to stay home and find that so much more relaxing and rejuvenating.

  5. Fun! I’m an Introvert and I like the outdoors, walking in fields and the countryside…where I get inspiration to write. I like photography. So a fun day out for me is into the greenery, forests, fields and a camera. Is the definition of fun also in question? Some of my friends love a busy Saturday shopping in the city, hell for me not one bit enjoyable. Is “fun” something you love doing and this is why an introverts definition is just different from extroverts?

    • Janice, first let me say that I love your photography. Then let me say that you isolated a flaw in the whole premise of the blog… you are correct, we do need to redefine “fun”. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, fun is “a source of enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure”.

      When I lived in Colorado I used to hike above timberline on the Continental Divide trail. I loved being up higher than the tallest trees and seeing the whole world spread out around me. I felt alive. It was quiet and I could hear myself think and then watch my mind slow down into a silence that joined with the silence all around me. There were no interruptions, no one to listen to. It was blissful. But was it fun? Yes, I suppose so.

      I’ve let the extrovert world define fun for me my entire life. I think that fun, like art, should be in the eye, mind and body of the beholder.

      • Dear Chris, I am sorry. …my two great feet. I love reading your blog and I love the posts on introverts. I also think you have something here. What you describe is my definition of fun, and I wonder what percentage of extroverts would also hold the experience up there in their world of fun. Have the extroverts, maybe louder and more out there dictated an extreme version of what fun is? Have they got it all wrong? I think you have the expertise to show the world “fun” rightly placed.

  6. Hi Chris, I love your idea to have posts about introverts, myths and realities. I can relate to so much of what you say, I’m mostly introvert, definitely prefer staying home to going out, reading, relaxing, listening to music, connecting with nature, etc. Doesn’t your post seem to confirm Carl’s statement that introverts like to relax at home or in nature?

  7. Chris, I love this post. I too, for years, thought I was boring. I’ve always detested going to parties and thought it was because I’ve never mastered the “art” of small talk. I’ve read Susan Cain’s book and understand that it’s because parties absolutely deplete my energy. While waiting to get into a place of my own ( I’m on a list for senior housing in my area), I’ve rented an upstairs bedroom with a wonderful view. I, too, prefer reading, watching the birds outside my window, or simply watching colors of the sunrises and sunsets on the mountain in the distance. I write because its my passion. I go to church to get my hug quotient in, but I’m quite content to stay snuggled up by myself watching the clouds roll by.

    I’ll be looking forward to the next in the series.

    • I love meeting a kindred soul, Susan Irene. I see we’re pretty much the same age. We have seen a lot of change, haven’t we? It’s nice to be able to just sit, think, and let our inner self recharge. Thanks for including me on your blog’s list of special friends. I’m honored.

  8. I love that there is someone else out there determined to prove that introverts are not weird or that they don’t belong. I loved her TED talk about the power of introverts.
    What I do for fun? I actually enjoy staying in more than I do going out, even though occasionally I don’t mind a social gathering here and there. I relax by designing my printables or by trying out a tutorial on design. I love to read, especially before falling asleep, and I love watching movies with my kiddos and my hubby. I enjoy listening to the sound of the rain, and when I was a kid I used to stand by my window and watch the snow fall during winters. Almost a trance like state.

    • I love your 76 random things about you. I could check off a lot of them for my list, too. I laughed at the CLC- Compulsive Link Clicking. Too clever. I absolutely love the rain. Where we live in Oregon it’s supposed to rain nine months out of the year, although this winter is abnormally dry. I always look forward to the rain. It’s wonderful. So renewing.
      I’m becoming an introvert champion. It’s time. Enough of living by rules created by the other 75%!

  9. “Congratulations – you have completed the Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?
    Your personality profile: I. (I = Introvert. E = Extrovert)”
    So there we are, Chris: who woulda thort it? All this research you’ve been doing has been totally worthwhile because it clarifies FOR ME what I am! [grin]

  10. I would rather read than just about anything else. I love big, thick 1200 page books like Stephen King’s “The Stand” or series of books. I read all 3 books of the Hunger Games as quickly as I could. I actually just re-read this trilogy & enjoyed it just as much as the first time. I also love Rom Com movies or historical fiction. I also love series like “Reign” (about Mary Queen of Scots). I hate going out. Even for an anniversary or my birthday for dinner. I hate waiting at an uncomfortable table to finish my whole meal – I’d rather order in pizza or Chinese & watch a movie! Now I am disabled I have a good excuse for not going to all the trouble. Except for the awfulness of having a debilitating illness, it works good for me.

  11. I’m so late reading this because I went to bed with the flu, and all the comments are overwhelming me…
    But I understand that you are writing about me… 😆 😆 😆

  12. I didn’t take her test yet. I am completely both. Introverted socially but highly extroverted in a professional setting that I can control…..hmmmmmmmmmmm.

  13. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine? | MARGARET ROSE STRINGER

  14. I follow and contribute to all of Cee’s photo challenges but did not come to your blog by way of her. I’m glad I did find you, though. Reading your post made me think that I had somehow written under an assumed name. Who is this Chris and why does she know everything about me? Scary at first. Now, very reassuring. As most commenters have said, they enjoy solitary pursuits; reading, writing (detective stories are my forte, too), hiking, photography. Interesting that I didn’t think of this before but if you look at any of my photos you will see a lack of people. Just old buildings, architecture, landscapes! Thanks for this post, this blog. i’ll be visiting from time to time.

  15. I would agree with your title: Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun. We’re good so far.

    Carl’s first quote is introverts to the extreme. In real life, introverts cover the gamet of behaviorisms.

    Introverts, at least the one I know—me—likes to read, blog, photograph stuff, all things done by self. It is not the preferable way to do things. I like to dine with friends/relatives, but I most often don’t have a lot to say, being a better listener than talker.

    I would love having someone with me when I go hiking or on a photographic outing. Perhaps what it boils down to is that I’m not quite as introverted as I used to be.

    I’ve even gotten to the point where I don’t much like watching TV or movies by myself, although I happily watch the Kansas City Royals baseball team on TV with or without company, a rare exception.

    I can say that very little I do can be classified as actual “fun”. There are things I like to do, yes—not are not necessarily fun, meaning to get a great deal of pleasure out of them. Enjoy is about as close as I can get to fun most of the time and enjoy isn’t an overly used word in my life.

    I think I just described an introvert who is depressed. LOL But not so depressed that I cannot laugh at myself. 🙂

  16. Thank you for doing this! I’m constantly trying to tell my friends that I’m not antisocial, I just like to sit down and relax every so often. And I’m glad someone else gets the whole B-movie thing. :mrgreen:

  17. wow that’s a great topic to be covered. I really think of it sometimes when I find myslef avoiding going out with family especially shopping, and rather stay home to maybe do nothing or read or just to relax. I was asking myself this question: have I forgotten how to have fun? but yeah you’re right, I am having fun my own speciak way which is that most people dont understand. Intresting is that I believe that every introvert work a special kind of job, if they found themselves in. I am a spiritual teacher and I do believe that being an inrovert really helped me so.

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