My best friend and I are complete opposites.
He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert. He craves salty things and I crave sweet. His likes taking selfies and I like taking pictures of my dogs sleeping.
He finds great joy in playing kickball with his friends, going out with those friends afterwards, and then having breakfast with them the next day.
Jump to next weekend and repeat.
I don’t understand and I suspect this is due to the fact that I’m an introvert.
I recently watched a ted talk by Susan Cain on the power of introverts. Granted it took me 23 years to admit that I was one…but I finally did it.
During an interview, Cain goes on to say: “Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it’s just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best. …
“Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers.
“Now, shyness, on the other hand, is about a fear of negative social judgment. So you can be introverted without having that particular fear at all, and you can be shy but also be an extrovert.”
Her talk has helped me explore my own sense of being. I know that sounds cheesy, but In a culture where being social and outgoing is prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert.
It’s the lack of understanding and the way we communicate.
Even after working a full eight hour shift (which is mentally exhausting) and working out at the gym, my father still calls me ‘lazy’ when he finds me reading before bed. Though this downtime is essential to my very being because I need to recharge.
How many times have I been told to get up and do something? That I can’t spend my entire day off reading, writing, or spending time alone even though it makes me happy?
I’ve also been called stuck up and rude after people first meet me because I kept to myself, despite the fact that I was actively listening the entire time.
So this is what I learned: If anyone attacks you for being you, doesn’t even attempt to understand or get to know you – move on. Don’t waste your time.
There is no shame in being who you are.
I’m also very lucky because my best friend and I balance each other out.
PS: See the Ted Talk here!