31 March 2011

On Being an Introvert

I came across this post on introversion on Twitter this week, and there were several tweets around it, mainly around not all introverts being alike, and how introversion is a trait that's not right or wrong. 

I love being with close friends and family, particularly in small groups, but having to spend extended periods of time having to talk to anyone else is draining. My new workplace seems to be peppered with excuses to drink and generally socialise with large groups of mainly extroverted people. This is extremely daunting. There's a huge party (read: piss-up) off site next week that everyone's excited about. Even the thought of it is torture. Being nervous about getting back to the train station late at night (in a dodgy area) also isn't helping. But I can't really complain when so many people have so much horrible stuff to deal with right now.

I am a shy introvert. Meeting new people makes me squirm. I much prefer to communicate using the written word, over face-to-face conversations or (shudder) telephone calls. Experience has taught me to mask my shyness when I must (especially in workplace situations), but I'd much rather let my husband do all the talking around unfamiliar people. I'd also like to think I'm a relatively good actor - I react to social situations in the manner I think people expect me to: smiling instead of grimacing, appearing welcoming when I'd rather shut the door, or expressing enthusiasm instead of dread.

I also really identify with the need to be alone to recharge. I can't relax on the train. I always relished having the house to myself growing up. After a day at work or being out with people, I always like to be able to flop on the bed and just do nothing but process, eventually being able to relax. Music helps. Being with my husband is better than being alone, but when we are apart I'm able to be almost as happy by myself, if I'm free to do whatever I want to do.

I know there are some writers who are extroverts, but in order to survive the long periods of solitude writing demands, surely it must better suited to people like me. Which personality type do you most identify with? Have you tried to change to suit what you think the world expects?


  1. I'm definitely an introvert! However, as much as I'll always be an introvert I also wanted to stop being terrified by meeting new people, so I spent most of college teaching myself how to be calmer in social situations. It mostly worked and I can pass for a fairly extroverted person when necessary, although I still need a lot of recharge time after big social situations. And being an introvert totally helps with the writing!

  2. Charlotte, we are SO much alike! I'll write more in my email...