Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The High-Functioning Introvert

I hate crowds. They make me anxious. And I am terrible at small talk. I consider myself to be shy, though I fight that one and try to put myself out there. I prefer to work alone, not in a group. I think better that way.

Merriam-Webster defines an introvert as "a shy person : a quiet person who does not find it easy to talk to other people." Dictionary.com adds "a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings." It's an inward-looking situation. The generally accepted definition of an introvert is someone who is energised by being alone, while an extrovert is energised by being around others.

I am an introvert.

When I say that, many people who know me socially raise an eyebrow. At a friend's party or a media launch you won't (normally) find me cowering in a corner. But you also won't find me actively working the room. I will be making conversation, approaching people, laughing and having a good time. And I love introducing folks who haven't met before. Actually, I like to pick someone out who looks uncomfortable and try to help them relax and feel welcome. If I feel comfortable in the setting, helping someone who doesn't gives me something to do and a reason for talking to others as well (introductions, opening up the conversation circle). It does have a being helpful and friendly component, but is also a survival tool to help me get over my own shyness.

I call myself a high-functioning introvert. You wouldn't know how much effort being social is for me unless you knew me really well. I can pull it off :)  But it takes the good right out of me. After a busy media event or cocktail party, with schmoozing and learning and making contacts, I need a recovery day. A conference can send me into seclusion for close to a week. I need the time alone to re-charge, and then I can put myself out there again.

mossy forest
A quiet walk in the forest is a perfect way for me to recharge. The trees ask nothing of me.
Today I am almost in emergency seclusion mode. I've spent the last 16 days with Boo and my extended family in Newfoundland. And it was such a wonderful trip, and we did so much, and I love my parents and everyone to the moon and back and more. I need this time with them each year. But I haven't had a moment alone in 16 days.

16 days.

That's a lot of recovery needed. I started to feel it a few days ago, and now that I'm home it's hit me like a ton of bricks. I have felt anxious all day. Very short-tempered. I am cranky with my husband because I didn't come home to a clean house. I yelled at my son because he kept asking me questions and then wouldn't stop making some horribly annoying noise that he doesn't even realise he's making.

I need to be alone.

I should have planned in a day to go hiking on my own. That would have been a great reprieve and chance to re-charge. I'll remind myself for next year's visit. I have to remind myself that I need the alone time. Because sometimes I fool even myself into believing that I don't need it.

With another week until school starts I think I'll start reinstating earlier bed times for Boo. He has to adjust, right? And that will give me some time to read, or write, or colour before I go to bed. Anything solitary. My husband's an introvert as well. I'm sure he'll understand.

So many books. Calling to me. I'm coming!!

1 comment:

  1. I'm a total introvert. Books are like my safe zone, they don't ask much of me (besides being read first) and don't expect me to come up with witty conversations. I am slowly on working on coming out of my comfort zone when interacting with larger groups of people.


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