The Introvert’s Dilemma

You need to be around people. You don’t really like being around people, sometimes. Thoughts and feelings get too jammed up, mixed up. It can be like being a “human tuning fork”-all is turned inward, and you vibrate with the frequencies of all the sound and movement around you. After, you can feel “all used up”. Susan Cain’s Quiet, for many of us, is the book that made it “okay” to feel what we feel, a validation that there is nothing “wrong” with any of us who are that far out on the introversion side.

You must work around people all day, but it’s hard for you to be around people. At the same time, you desperately crave human connection. It’s hard to live too long without it.

At some point in every work day, I feel like I need to disappear. Sometimes I do-to take a walk-to sit in a quiet room. The rise of quiet spaces and prayer rooms helps-the noon “reset” with quiet thoughts and meditation helps.

You might think of you tendency to introversion or extroversion as a simple number line. There is perhaps a neutral point in the middle, where you are comfortable doing whatever it is you have to do that day-socializing, work, going to a concert, doing errands- and there are two “way out there” poles, where you might be feeling very extroverted, on one end, or introverted, on the other.

The energy ebbs and flows you feel drive you toward one end or the other. Some of us are driven often to the “quiet” end- hitting the couch for some reading, or seeing a movie alone, or walking in the park. Or, if life takes us to the extroverted end for a while, our energy is tapped, drained, and we swing out to the other end. (“I went to a cocktail party, and I had to watch Netflix by myself for two whole days!”)

Awareness (becoming aware) of these states of mind is probably best. Know when you need quiet stillness of the mind, to be alone with your thoughts. Know when you need the comfort of human connection and conversation. Be honest and unapologetic about it. Don’t feel guilty for taking a walk at lunch, at work. Close the door when you need to and just…think. Also know when you might benefit from forcing yourself…out into the world to socialize.

“Solitude” by Amber inhim (CC)