“She’s very quiet, why is that?” I remember my biology teacher asking my parents at a parents’ evening when I was about 13 years old. It was almost as though there was something wrong with me. For as long as I can remember, even as a child, people have called me shy and responded differently to me than they might others because I’m an introvert. It frustrates me somewhat, although quietly, because I don’t think I am shy. To me, I think of shyness as being when someone is afraid of speaking to other people – they want to revert back to that childhood behaviour of hiding behind their parents legs when someone wants to speak to them. That’s the thing…I’m not really afraid of speaking to other people and I don’t see myself as shy.
I’m not anti-social either…I’m just selective about who I socialise with. I prefer quality over quantity, which is why I have only a few close friends. As an introvert I need time alone in my own space to recharge my batteries. I sometimes find it quite difficult if I have to do a lot of things day after day and become burnt out over periods such as Christmas when I’m out socialising each day, even if it is just with family.
I’m not an open book, I don’t trust people easily, but when I make friends I’m very loyal. It takes time to get to know me and I really appreciate people that do take the time to get to know me and earn my trust. When I write, that’s about the most open I get. I think that’s why I like it so much, it allows myself to express myself through words in an introvert-friendly way. I think a lot of introverts are quite bookish and enjoy creative things such as writing or art, I know that’s certainly true of me anyway.
It’s not just quality of people that I prize over quantity – it’s what we talk about too. I marvel over extroverts who are able to just chat away with ease. Talking to extroverts is good for me in many ways, as it takes the pressure away from me in a conversation, I can just fill in the gaps and not have to try and think of things to say. I don’t find it easy to make small-talk and if I do make small-talk, I dissect it in my mind as I’m talking. “I’m talking about the weather! That’s so cliché and British of me”, I think, “they probably think I’m talking about the weather because I have nothing else to talk about…and they’re right!” The thing is, I’m just not very good at talking unless I feel I have something of value to say. When an introvert sparks a conversation with you, you know that they genuinely want to have that conversation and it’s likely to be something worthwhile listening to.
Now, oddly enough, when I’m with close friends and family I don’t find talking so difficult – I guess it’s because we all know each other so well, I don’t feel that pressure to have to talk anymore. Silences aren’t awkward and we just have conversations about things naturally.
I don’t know whether it’s my part of my introversion, or another part of my personality, but I’m very good at listening to people and being able to empathise with their feelings. I am very aware of my surroundings and good at picking up on people’s emotions. I also would consider myself a good judge of character – my first thoughts on people are generally right.
I guess when you’re an introvert it can make you seem kind of mysterious; as you’re not an open book people often don’t get the right impression of you and find you disengaged, uninterested and perhaps moody. I think people have judged me that way before and they’re completely wrong! Sometimes I just prefer to observe rather than participate.
Unfortunately, I think introversion is largely misunderstood, but I hope one day people will value the many wonderful qualities that introverts have more and perhaps take the time to get to know us – we’re worth getting to know, I promise!
Are you an introvert and does any of this sound like you? I’d love to hear from you, fellow introverts!
17 thoughts on “I’m not shy – I’m an introvert”
Most people think I’m an extrovert but I’m actually an introverted extrovert! My mood determines largely where I am on the scale between the two, but I have days when I’m definitley an extrovert and says where I’m totally an introvert!
That’s really interesting – I definitely have days where I’m really introverted and days where I’m less introverted, but I didn’t know it was possible to go between the two like that! 🙂 x
I relate to this post. Honestly, if I had to write a post on this, it would pretty much play out like this one. I’m often misunderstood for being shy when in fact, I’m not. I just like to keep myself to myself, speak when I’m spoken to, keep my circle small, like my own space, etc.
Thank you for sharing this, interesting read!
Sabah || http://www.womanishaffairs.org
Thanks, that sounds just like me! 🙂 Thank you for your comment xx
I’m an introvert, but as opposed to you, I don’t understand feelings at all and it’s hard for me to empathize.
Basically, my brain is logic driven.
I’m an introvert and I do consider myself shy. I find it uncomfortable to talk to people I don’t know well and I will go out of my way to avoid it! Social situations work best for me if I’m with my husband, because he can talk to anyone so he kind of breaks the ice for me and then if I find something in common with a person I can talk to them more easily.
It’s great that your husband is able to do that! Unfortunately for my husband and I, we’re both introverts, which can make things a little difficult sometimes. It tends to be me that makes that move to break the ice for him.
This is me all over!! I’m an introvert through and through and I get asked all the time “why are you so quiet?” I literally got asked it again yesterday and my eyes just rolled in my head! Loved this post, it’s lovely seeing that you’re not the only one sometimes!
I definitely agree! It’s so annoying being asked about it…I don’t know why, I just am!
This sounds just like me. I hate it when people talk like being introverted is a flaw, or tell me ‘it’s ok to talk, you know’ or ‘you’re always quiet’ – argh!
I know, it’s so frustrating!
I feel like you’ve just described me perfectly!
As someone who has been feeling pressurised to become a bit more extroverted recently, I really enjoyed your post. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert – or being shy – and sometimes it’s nice to stay with the people that love you instead of venturing out into the big scary world.
Lisa | farawaylisamae.com
This was really refreshing to read, it was like reading about myself, a lot of people just assume I’m shy and grumpy and it can be frustrating! My best friend is the complete opposite which works perfectly x
Oh my gosh! That is so me! Are you a water sign by any chance? As a piscean, I am, and I often find myself buried in a book, or my latest airfix project, and lately I’ve caught the poetry bug again. I tried writing, but don’t think I’m very good at it, and I find it hard to come up with a cognitive story line that hasn’t already been used 100 times before! ?
No, I’m a Capricorn! If it’s something you enjoy, perhaps you should keep at it. You’re probably better than you think! 🙂
This is totally me when it comes to small talk. I was shy as a child, I never spoke up at all, until I got to 6th form and was living in boarding school with other girls and found I had a voice and things to say. A smaller school as well, and I was involved with a lot. I’ve not really stopped talking since then – with friends, and when I’ve an opinion. But the thought of small talk/networking – hell would be being stuck in a life with a senior member of staff or just anyone I don’t really know. My friends probably don’t really think of me as introverted – I can talk the hind legs off a donkey, and do even at work, but I do stay clear of socials – I’ve never been to a social outside of this work (I’ve been there 5.5 years – I tell peeople it’s because I’ve got to pick up N and can’t guarantee the OH to be in, but really it’s probably because the thought of having to stand around waiting to find a moment I might want to talk into and watch everyone getting drunk and being loud, is just awful).
I do think I’m an extroverted introvert though – I do like my own space, love to just be with 1 person or a couple to chat to over a meal, although with people I know really well and trust I’m happy. But I’d hate to work at home, I have to still be around people in an office – or actually I love working in coffee shops. Because I’m alone but amongst the buzz of people! Weird, but nice for me.