A little belated love for introversion

Hiding in plain sight

Who gets ahead? The loudest, the fastest, the best talkers, the dazzling party guests, the fearless? Well, a lot of the time, I’d have to say, yes, those are the kind of people that tend to shine. If you’ve got the gift of the gab, you’re probably more likely to find yourself being promoted, racking up invitations to parties and (I haven’t tested this one) getting laid. No wonder I’ve always been jealous of you.

All those years, forcing myself into group situations, trying to be free and crazy and losing myself the night’s sprawl the way my extroverted friends did. Those were good nights, I enjoyed an awful lot of them, but here’s me only just now getting to grips with the idea that it’s OK not to love being in a big group.

Actually, it’s totally cool to be the kind of person who prefers to hang out one-on-one, and even actually tends to enjoy their own company quite a lot of time. It’s taken a lot of time to get around to thinking that way and this TED talk helped.

It gave a lot of validation to something I’d always assumed was the case but never bothered to seek evidence for – that some people simply feed off group emotions in a positive way, and others don’t.

As it often is, it was actually one of the simplest and most obvious points that really struck a chord – that no one is a true introvert or extrovert, we’re all on a sliding scale. So it’s possible to reconcile the buzz you get from giving a reading or dancing like crazy in a club with the person who would often rather stay at home on the sofa with a book and only some words for company.

I promise I’ll make up for lost time little, neglected inner introvert, and give you plenty of love from now on.

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11 responses to “A little belated love for introversion

  1. Someone described me as ‘beyond introvert’ the other day (they also asked if I ever go ‘a few days’ without having a conversation – ha ha, understatement!)

    It was the most accurate and concise description of me since that time you described the archetypal Dave wearing an obscure band T-shirt and tutting at people’s wrong opinions (or something like that).

    I think I really started to comprehend introversion when I was about 23, and after that I was always happy being by myself without feeling like I was doing something wrong, like the world tries to teach you is the case.

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    • Haha, I do like a good Dave description. And some obscure band t-shirts.

      I keep listening to the world, Dave, that’s the problem. It tricks me. I must take a leaf out of your conversation-free book.

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  2. Great post Lynsey. The video really rang true for me. In my previous job as a Training Officer, everyone assumed that because I delivered presentations and that public speaking was part of my job then I was automatically an extrovert. I enjoyed my job and meeting new people but I’m definitely more introverted by choice and writing suits that side of me.

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    • That’s really interesting Helen. I love the idea that you can be perfectly good and something and even enjoy it, but still naturally prefer to spend time being solitary. Humans are so lovely and contrary.

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  3. I love this post!
    I spent years castigating myself for being introverted and quiet, but what’s the big deal? If I’m happy, that’s what matters. These days I spend more time hanging with small groups of friends I love, and going for coffee, and just chilling on my own too. And this is me writing this after escaping the lit salon! It was a nice atmosphere, but I couldn’t have a proper conversation – it was way too noisy. I love meeting new people and getting to know them, but not in noisy pubs.
    We should meet for coffee sometime during the book fest 🙂

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    • It’s so hard not to beat yourself up for it, isn’t it, when everyone seems to value being out and loud more than being home and quiet? But it sounds like you’ve come to terms with it now – I’ll learn! And a coffee would be lovely, we definitely should 🙂

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  4. I find that as the lit salon fills up with more and more people, the urge to edge towards either the loo or the door increases. Yesterday, having enjoyed socialising in a small group and then being overwhelmed by the crowd and the noise (can’t hear a word anyone says after a certain point) it was such a relief to find a small splinter group OUTSIDE the pub, talking at a normal level with relatively little background noise. I vote for a “quieter room” where people who want one to one conversations can retire!

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    • That’s a nice idea Alison! It was so busy last night, I think it’s going to have to take over the whole bar! Ah ha, I did try and look for you and Babs at one point and thought you’d left, but maybe you were merely outside.

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