Throughout your life, If you’re an introvert you’re constantly being compared to extroverts (most of the time it’s not done on purpose, I think humans are just wired to think this way) an example “why don’t you speak more at school” “you need to be more confident like that person” “you should come out of your shell more” – most of this stuff was me at primary school and no doubt many of you too, i had a best friend who was very much an extrovert so I was incredibly lucky growing up as she always was someone I felt safe around so it was a little easier for me, however if she wasn’t in school I felt very uneasy! (As uneasy as a 7-year-old could feel I guess) Because i was to use to having her to hide behind!
“By the time I was old enough to figure out that I was simply introverted, it was apart of my being, the assumption that there is something inherently wrong with me. I wish I could find that little vestige of doubt and remove it” – quiet written by Susan Caine
I’m actually writing this as I came across a book a few months back called ‘quiet’ by Susan Caine which I enjoyed so much, it really opened my eyes and made me realise a lot of things about myself that I always thought were ‘bad’ traits, by bad – I mean traits you’re grown up being told aren’t great or ‘ideal’ eg. being quiet, shy or not very talkative at school – which makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you (and that sticks with you your whole life) I just wanted to write this so any of my fellow introvert friends can feel a little less alone or maybe gain more understanding of why you feel a certain way during situations.
Most of my family are also extroverts, they love going out and socialising on weekends & being surrounded by all their friends (there is nothing wrong with this, extroverts love being around people as it stimulates them and makes them happy) so I’ve always felt a bit like a black sheep as for the majority of time I’d rather stay in with a cup of tea watching movies. When you’re surrounded by extroverts growing up, it’s very hard to understand why you don’t get the same buzz as everyone else when you’re out and about and to be honest, i didn’t really know what extroverts and introverts where until i was much older and it took me until LAST YEAR to realise that there is nothing wrong with preferring to stay in or declining an offer to go somewhere with a group of people.
Some of the most successful people going where/are introverts, including Steven Spielberg, sir Isaac Newton and even Albert Einstein – so being quiet and a little more shy definitely doesn’t affect your talent in a certain subject or your ability to create something amazing!
Here’s some tips on giving yourself a break from feeling guilty over being an introvert;
Give yourself time to recharge
If you’re an introvert you’ll know sometimes social meet ups can be physically draining, If I’ve met up with a group of people I actually need to have a few days after to just chill out, for some odd reason I get anxiety AFTER seeing big groups of people as I’m constantly worrying if I’ve said the wrong thing, hurt someone’s feelings or not been as ‘present’ as I should have been (sitting silently without realising probably thinking about weird questions like how chubby Henry the 8th got) – so I spend a few days with my loves Robbie and Theo, going on long walks and just really getting back into my safe state of mind so I feel settled again!
Don’t feel guilty about leaving social activities early
This is another important one, if you do pluck up the courage to get out of your PJ’s, leave your cup of tea behind and make plans, don’t feel bad about leaving when you’re starting to feel done for the night! There’s an amazing illustration over on this site here that shows how introverts throughout a night start off happy and gradually get sadder throughout the night as it’s a little bit too much for them, and extroverts start off unhappy but once they’re surrounded by people and being sociable their happiness improves! Any good friend will be understanding and will probably know you well enough to know that you’d rather get home and have an early night! – throughout 2018 I started saying no to events, social activities that I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy, and I feel so much happier for it! Don’t feel guilty for putting your health and happiness first sometimes!
Spend time with other introverts
This is a really special one as both me and my partner Robbie are huge introverts together – our home life is lovely as we live in our own little bubble but still give each other space by having our own little study rooms. Our idea of a perfect Saturday night is usually a takeaway and playing games or watching a TV show. Basically, we both get each other and are understanding of what works for us, and I think that’s one of the best traits introverts have! I also think introverts tend to click better with other introverts so it’s easier to create a friendship as you both ‘get’ each other! I use to STRESS OUT over the thought of holidays but as Robbie and i both feel the same way we tend to pick quieter locations and don’t feel stressed, as it’s our holiday we’re not expected to go or do anything that involves us feeling uncomfortable, it’s up to us how and what we do which is fab! We even took the PS4 with us last holiday so we could spend evenings the same as we do at home (We binge watched friends ofc)
It can take a while to bring your wall down and that’s fine!!
This is one that took me so many years to get my head around, I’d feel incredibly bad If I can’t make eye contact with someone or if i generally struggle with small talk or any talking for that matter, especially when meeting new people!! I’ve often came away from situations and felt awful in case they’ve thought I’ve been off with them from being so quiet or if they think I’m stuck up! When the reality is they probably don’t think that about you at all, some people are naturally quiet and take a few meetings to be able to finally bring their wall down and be themselves a bit more! I use to start new jobs and desperately say to myself ‘please be normal this time and don’t act all weird and shy’ – again, i think this is the stigma from being told when you’re young to be louder and bit more outgoing with people, but I’ve learned there is nothing wrong with just taking your time and getting to know people first before bringing your wall down.
Write more (even if you consider yourself bad at it!)
Introverts love to live in their heads and have their own little safe world, which can sometimes be dangerous as it leads to over thinking, guilt for no reason and often anxiety. They also sometimes struggle to communicate how they’re thinking, which is often why they’re good writers (unfortunately isn’t the case for me but never mind!) Writing is a lovely way to express yourself, you can get all your thoughts and feelings down on page. Some of the stuff I’ve written blogs about i would have really struggled to talk about, so being able to write how I’m feeling and express myself this way is amazing and really does inspire you to create more!
Don’t be afraid to say No!
This was something i did last year for the FIRST time, i use to always agree to plans and then hate my life when i had to go through with them or decline the day before – instead of causing serious stress to myself i actually just started being honest and saying i wasn’t up for it or not feeling it! As an example i received a message from my friend Lauren asking what i was up to over the weekend, Robbie and i had just finished dog sitting for a week (2 dogs & your own puppy can be seriously stress central) and i just told her i was pooped and going to have a PJ weekend! it’s OK to just be honest and say how you’re feeling, because 9/10 your friends will be super understanding as they know you well!
I hope this little blog post has made you realise how special you are and that you should never feel guilty over the way you feel as an introvert – You’ll be pleasantly surprised over how understanding people are over you being honest about your thoughts, and after all – i always say as long as everyone is happy that’s all that matters, so if staying in your PJs all weekend or going on long dog walks makes you happy, then do it!!!!!!