Author: Maria Manganari –
We, introverts, are not necessarily shy or snob. We cannot stand the ongoing interaction with others because we feel it more strongly than the other people do.
Every time I say I’m an introvert nobody believes me. It is true that I am good at social networking and I feel shy. Being an introverted person is something deeper or, rather it has to do with the depth with which you relate, with others and with yourself.
They say that the introverts have empathy. This correlation, if not causal relationship, perhaps explains our urgent need for loneliness. We, introverted people, are experiencing everything more intense, we have so intensified our senses that external stimuli and interaction with other people exhaust us.
The terms ‘introversion’ and ‘extroversion’ were originally introduced by Carl Jung, and later became central to feature theories, such as the five-factor model or the Mayers-Briggs personality test. The truth is that it is a life-defining feature. Even though we all have elements of both introversion and extroversion, we are inclined more to one or the other category.
Depth, Depth, Depth
We, introverted people, do not have many friends but few and good. It is difficult for someone to approach us and we often exude a sense of mystery because we are locked into our world. But we are also eclectic. As a reversing funnel, as my friend said, we do not leave room for people to approach us easily, but we accept only those few with whom we perceive that we can get into a deep relationship. Only then we are open, and without restrictions anymore.
We also look for depth to the relationship we have with ourselves. We need a lot of time alone, not only because we drain easily from social gatherings. We need a lot of time for introspection to listen to our desires, to meditate, read, write, create, think. For us, a quiet evening with our book or a dinner with ourselves with a warm soup and a glass of wine is the ultimate paradise.
The joy of being an introvert
We spend a lot of time with ourselves and we have inexhaustible resources for self-care and personal development. Therefore, it is very easy for us to focus on here and now, on the details and on the analysis of ourselves. We have also a lot of awareness and empathy because we are very busy with even the finest shades of what’s happening within us.
In general, we are people who focus and invest in our relationships. We are neither the soul of our friends’ company nor the smart humorist, but we are the most loyal friends. When we relate to someone we really connect with them from the bottom of our heart and this connection is so deep that it looks magical. Our close relationships nourish us.
Difficult times for introverts
Because we are incredibly tired of having big parties and social events, we often find ourselves in the unpleasant position of having to apologize for our temperament.
It’s hard to explain to most people that you do not enjoy parties, concerts, weddings, social gatherings, and that you do not have any problem with them for not accepting their invitation.
It’s hard to explain how tired the gym atmosphere makes you feel or that you do not enjoy going out on Saturday nights. It is strange and uncomfortable to feel like the fish out of the water, when everybody else has fun. How can you explain to others your strong desire to travel alone, walk in nature or stay home and enjoy a movie under the quilt?
It’s hard to explain that you love social media because they allow you to interact with people without letting them get into your life. It’s hard to explain that it’s much more enjoyable and easy to write than talking on the phone.
We, introverts, are not necessarily shy or snob. We cannot withstand the ongoing social interaction because we feel it more strongly than the other people do. It is a wish and a curse at the same time to be an introvert. We often pay the cost with a lot of loneliness because it is not easy to co-ordinate with most people around us. However, when we relate to others, our relationships are substantial and authentic.
Maria Manganari, Psychotherapist
Masters in Person-Centered Psychotherapy and Counseling from University of Strathclyde