The Problem: Introverts living in an Extroverted World
The world has been lying to you for as long as you’ve been alive: they’ve been telling you that you aren’t social enough, that you don’t speak up enough, and that you don’t have enough friends.
It consistently reminds you that you aren’t perfect, that you aren’t normal, and that you aren’t the person that you should be.
And they’re talking about us.
We live in an extroverted society.
A society where we need to make connections to get a better job and get that better salary that we’ve been wanting for years.
A society where people expect you to to be social and to want to hang out with other people all the time.
Otherwise, you’re a social outcast and no one wants to talk to you anyways.
Why does this happen?
Why do people label you as anti-social or shy if you don’t feel like talking to them?
Why don’t they like you or give a shit if you’re quiet and rather let other people do the talking?
Because they misunderstand. They are lying to your face without even realizing it.
They think that because you are introverted, you are weird or boring or some other adjective that you don’t want to hear.
They are flat out wrong.
Introversion does not mean that you are shy or anti-social.
It doesn’t mean that you’re boring or weird.
Sure, anti-social and weird creepy people can certainly be introverts, but just because you are introverted and quiet does not mean you are anti-social and creepy.
Let’s name a few introverted people who you’ve probably heard of:
Boring, creepy people? Don’t think so.
Highly influential? You betcha.
What an Introvert Really Is
So if they’re wrong, then what does being an introvert actually mean?
As an introvert…
-You get inspired from grand abstract ideas and thoughts
-You need to “recharge your fuel” by being alone
-You prefer small groups to large ones, and rather hang out with a good friend or two then go to a big party
-You notice that socializing for long periods of time is draining
-You are analytical, and like to think before you speak
-You don’t care about being the center of attention
It means that you are a thinker. It means that you need your own personal space.
It means that your life energy comes from within yourself.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t like going to large parties or that you don’t like socializing — it simply means that you need to approach “extroverted activities” in a different way.
So many self-help articles will tell you that you need to be more social and that you need to network more to get where you want to go.
Well, no shit.
Everyone knows that.
But what they don’t tell you is how you, as an introvert, need to approach going about it.
For us introverts, socializing is extremely draining.
Draining to the point where we get so bored after a couple of hours that we have the urge to get the hell out of where we are, even if it’s against our best interest.
If we tell ourselves that we have to stick around because we need to, we don’t accept our very introversion.
It’s the wrong way to go about it.
And this happens all of the time.
Think about a time where you were at a party or you were out with a large group of people and just felt like you had to leave.
People were having a blast, but something inside you felt off.
And you just had to leave.
This happens to me now, and it used to happen to me for as long as I can remember.
This doesn’t mean that you’re anti-social.
It just means that you have a stronger preference for introversion for extroversion, and that you need to find a way to recharge your fuel.
Back in high school, I went to a graduation party that I was invited to.
At the time, this was a big deal to me because I didn’t go out a lot.
But I saw it as an opportunity to get off the computer and have some fun.
So I went. I talked to everyone and had a decent time.
But an hour into the party, I just felt like leaving…so like any normal person I got up, said good bye, and left.
The main reason (or so I thought) was that I wanted to go play video games.
Yes, I literally left a party to go back home to go play games by myself.
Nerdy? Hell yes.
And because I left, I felt like shit.
I felt like a loser because I didn’t want to party.
I’d been called out for being an anti-social nerd before, and this just reinforced it.
Man, I left the party before most people did..just so I could go play video games.
I must be screwed up.
I destroyed my own self-esteem because I didn’t want to stay at the party.
It’s sad, but the truth is it that it happens to so many people.
Other introverts may not necessarily leave a party to go play video games, but they at least get the feeling that they need to get outta there.
Does this happen to you?
Do you ever get the feeling you just need to leave a social situation just because you’re not with it?
In the case of the graduation party, there was something else that I didn’t know at the time…and if I knew it, it would’ve improved my social life dramatically.
I knew that I lacked some social skills, but I didn’t realize the difference between being anti-social loser and being an introverted social guy.
Yes, there is a difference.
I was a nerd, but that’s not why I left the party.
I left because I had no more energy, even though I had only been there for an hour.
And I didn’t know how to manage it.
The Solution: Approaching social activities differently
If you’re an introvert as well, that doesn’t mean your an outcast.
You just drain your own energy from being around too many people for extended periods of time.
So if you want to be more social, you can’t just force yourself to stay at a party or at a business meeting.
It just doesn’t work.
You have to apply a different mindset and a different methodology to social situations.
Whether you want to get a better job or want to have more fun at a party, you have to accept that you’re an introvert and apply the right techniques.
In part 2 of the series, I go into detail on these techniques and how you can apply them to become a happier, more social introvert.
These techniques will show you how to embrace your introverted mind (that sounds dirty…) and conquer any social situation without feeling like you have to leave.
They will teach you how to lead the interactions you have with others so that you accomplish your goals, and in the process, appreciate socializing even more.
Please like this article on Facebook (on the left) because it will help other introverts accept how their brain actually works.
Picture by D. Munoz-Santos