Introversion is something I’ve wanted to write about publicly for a few years now. Essentially ever since I began to understand it a bit–and understand that I’m pretty damn introverted. It’s a complex subject, something hard to understand, even for those people who consider themselves introverts. It’s also hard to explain. It’s also not a black and white thing. Some people are more introverted than others, some times interactions with others come easy, etc.
Every time I’ve sat down to write something, I can’t seem to find the words to describe what I want to say about it. That’s why I was so excited when I saw this piece from Chris Coyier today. He’s put to words something I’ve not been able to.
Give it a read. Then, if you want, come back for my story, culled from a draft post that’s been sitting here for well over a year.
Introversion: My Story
For years I would have considered myself sort of shy, but never introverted. I mean, I like people. I like being around people. If you were to meet me with my batteries all charged up, you’d probably never consider me to be introverted. But I am. I really enjoy, and require, alone time. I’m classically introverted: interaction with people drains me. Even talking intently to one person drains me. I need to prepare for being social; even the comfortable social time I enjoy with good friends and co-workers. I actually enjoy big parties with lots of people, because it’s easier to limit my social interactions. I can kind of blend in and it’s easier to duck out. Irish goodbye FTW!
Introversion is very often associated with laziness. Which just goes to show how little people understand about it.
When I was in high school, I had a friend of mine call me lazy quite often, referring to my desire to stay home, in my room and hang out with myself. In his mind I was probably sleeping. Far, far from the truth. I was reading, drawing, learning to DJ, playing with computers, writing, etc. I just preferred to do this on my own, and I still do. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy collaboration or social time, I just get recharged and powered up for that by my time to myself. It is true, when I was younger I preferred to be truly alone.
As I get older I find that I’m much more comfortable being alone with others. I can co-work to great productivity and enjoy the presence of others (as long as there’s no talking.) I really enjoy going to shows, having a drink and a good read in a bar, or walking around town taking photos by myself. It’s really the interaction that drains me, not the presence of others.
Alone time means a lot to me, and when I look back at it, it’s been instrumental in shaping me as an adult, both in my personal and professional lives. I’ve always thought it was kind of strange, my desire to be alone, but as the years went by as I learned more and encountered people even more introverted than I am, I began to realize that it’s not all that strange, and that there is great benefit in this time. I’m sure it’s hard for socially driven folks to understand, and it seems like our society is geared towards an extroverted life style, but that’s ok. I’ve found it’s not all that difficult to surround myself with people who understand and accept that I need time to myself.
More importantly, I think, I’ve come to realize that it’s this desire to be alone, to get to know myself and to have time to tinker, read, learn, write and explore all on my own has been a big part of what makes me who I am.
Good thing I like myself. Haha. :)