I need to say this once and for all – I am an introvert.
Over the years, I’ve completed many kinds of personality inventories and I’ve always come to the same conclusion- I’m not a strong introvert but I am definitely an introvert. I can’t tell you how many times over the years that I’ve had to defend this truth about myself – even my closest friend questions my profession of such but it’s true. There’s this false assumption out there that goes like this: if you like people, you must be an extrovert.
I love people – preferably one-on-one – but I also need to recover after I’ve spent time with others – whether it be with groups or only one person. I delight in walking along side others and encouraging them. I experience great joy asking questions and learning from others. I have acquired reasonable social skills and I have no trouble with public speaking but when it’s all over, I run for cover – I need to be alone, to ponder and to write. I cherish my quiet times. This picture below speaks volumes to me. After being with a crowd of people, this is EXACTLY what I want to do.
Just the thought of arriving late to a crowded baby shower filled with strangers, gives me knots in my stomach.
I feel very awkward at church when the worship leader tells everybody to “take a moment, turn around and say hi to the people around you.” I cognitively understand the rationale behind this (we want to be a friendly, welcoming community) but I emotionally resist the pressure to relate to my neighbour in such a pretentious way.
I had the opportunity to go out for a relaxed dinner with a large group of my husband’s co-workers a couple of nights ago and I was greatly relieved when the dust settled and I found myself seated at the end of the table. I was able to “zoom into” discussion with one person.
When I’m organizing my schedule and I know I’m about to spend time with many people, I try to pad the “before and after” with quietness so I can recoup. I’m very comfortable with my own company and although I am a natural leader, I need chunks of serenity, away from people. I don’t need many relationships but I desire deep, authentic ones. I’m terrible at small talk and I’m pathetic at big gatherings unless I can find a nice place in the corner and chat with one person.
I am an introvert. I’m not shy but I am most definitely recharged by solitude, not people. Sometimes, I just need to close down.
I truly believe that God has created each of us beautifully and uniquely but extrovert behavior seems to be the standard in North American society, which means that introvert behavior is judged against the ways that an extrovert would behave. When there are holes in the conversation, people are more comfortable if the silences are filled.
I know people who are more introverted than I am ( I’m married to one!) but contrary to the belief of many, I declare myself an introvert and I’m very thankful that God has made me so.