Anyone who knows me will know I’m definitely an introvert. I enjoy my own space, time to recuperate and easily tire in social situations. Something I noticed more recently is the battle an introvert faces every day and how geared up the world is for extroverts.
Introvert vs Extrovert definitions:
Introvert: “Someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments”.
Extrovert: “A friendly person who enjoys talking to and being with other people. Extroverts love parties, talking on the phone, and meeting new people” (I can’t say I like this definition but was definitely the best out of a bad bunch).
Recently I have been forcing myself to become more extroverted which has been leaving me feeling a little bit drained. I have decided to take the opportunity to reflect on the reasons this may be.
In my journey to learning a bit more about myself, I have been trying to be a little more in tune with my feelings and what my body is, in fact, trying to tell me (blogging and journaling has helped immensely with this!). I have always known I’m an introvert however this is something I think I have been neglecting a lot recently.
I have been so busy trying to experience new things, stay busy and socialise more so much so I have drained myself by not giving myself that essential time to re cooperate (I even stayed in hostels over the summer?!). Flailing in deadlines, meetings, work and social events has really led me to burnout. I am incredibly grateful for all of these opportunities and if anything it shows pushing the boundaries for an introvert can be extremely rewarding!
I also feel this tremendous pressure to fit that typical 21-year-old image. You know the one that goes out partying and socialising every night (or at least every Friday night) but that has never been me. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything worse.
What I have noticed though, in my attempt at being an adult, is how extroverted the adult world really is. This terrifies me. Every day I am on the phone, in meetings, juggling seeing family or my friends so much so it leaves only the time I have to sleep for myself.
I like to think I have excellent time management skills so believe I purely have too much currently on my plate and not enough hours in the day to complete them all, at least the way my body would like to anyway. Hopefully, once I’m not juggling a part-time job, dissertation, two large side projects and an internship there will be a bit more time for me (I can’t even remember the last time I even went to the gym?!). I recon even an extrovert would struggle with this amount of human contact.
Now, you may be questioning my introvertedness (because that’s definitely a word) especially as an outsider looking in. If I learnt anything during the creation of this post and my own experiences it is how the definition of an introvert is made up purely by stereotypes, equally so is the definition for an extrovert. Words such as awkward, shy and quiet are being thrown around site to site. These words sound particularly negative when you stand them next to the words typically used to describe extroverts such as energetic, outgoing and confident.
I also feel as though introverts have been given a lot of stick. Although I may look a little ‘nerdy’ with my glasses on I don’t fit the typical stereotypes associated with being an introvert. I like to think I have mastered the art of appearing confident in new and group situations, I travel with others like to experience new cultures and enjoy the company of other people. If I achieve anything with this post I hope it is to prove that even the most extroverted looking people may, in fact, identify as introverts.
There’s a lot more to it than just being a “shy, reticent person” as defined by the Oxford dictionary.
I think the most important thing is to accept yourself for who you are. Embrace your introvertedness or extrovertedness and always respect how your body feels as a result of your actions.
Do you identify as in introvert, extrovert or maybe even a bit of both? Let me know in the comments!
Please watch Nathaniel Drew’s video: ‘A Video For Introverts’ as he explains this better than I ever will.