On Being an Introvert…

This week this statement appeared in my Facebook feed, “Introverts unite, separately, in your own home”.  I shared it, and not surprisingly, it got a lot of likes on my page.  I have a lot of friends who are introverts.  My closest friends tend to be introverts.  What does it mean to be an introvert?

I don’t like small talk.  I’m better at it than I used to be, but I still feel awkward.

I enjoy spending time with a few good friends, but feel uncomfortable in any situation where I have to “mix and mingle”, even when I know all of the people in the room.

I’m comfortable spending time by myself.  In fact, I need time to myself to recharge.

Last Thursday I went to Scholastic’s Reading Summit.  I was so excited to get to hear Donalyn Miller speak about reading.  The Summit was great and I left inspired and excited about teaching in the fall, but since I went by myself my introversion was on display.

  • I sat by myself on the end of a row, waiting for the first talk, and took out my Kindle to read.  
  • Lunch was provided and I sat with 8-10 other ladies without really talking to any of them.  I made a few attempts to enter in a conversation with the group to my right, but didn’t feel particularly welcome and gave up.  The two ladies on my left chatted with each other, so I finished my meal and went to find my next session.
  • I was 30 minutes early and sat and read on my Kindle again.  
  • We went back for the keynote and I sat on the end, with an empty chair between me and the next person.  
  • At one point we were asked to talk with our neighbor.  I looked to the ladies on the other side of the empty chair, but no one looked my way.  I looked behind me, but those ladies were engaged with each other, so I just waited for the talk to start again.  

The speaker (Donalyn Miller!) made eye contact with me when I was supposed to be talking with my neighbor, and I wondered what she thought of me. I know the teachers at my school would have been surprised at how quiet I was.  I thought I must have looked antisocial or weird at the Summit, but I don’t feel that way in my everyday life.

It took me a long time to understand that being an introvert isn’t weird, and that I’m not really socially awkward.  The older I get the more people I find who understand those feelings and share them.

Introverts of the world, unite! (Separately, and in your own homes.)

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4 Responses to On Being an Introvert…

  1. newtreemom says:

    Well said. I’m an introvert, too. I often find myself sitting with a chair between, just as you describe. I am not anti-social, I am just ok being alone at times. I can talk, talk, talk with friends, but just as often, someone will remark how quiet I am.

  2. lgrainger125 says:

    I can relate to some aspects. I see more of what you say in my daughter. Well put!

  3. arlsvera says:

    I gained so much insight into introverts when I did some extensive studying of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. My husband is a huge introvert. I’m an extrovert. But we understand how the other ticks. Neither is “right.” We’re just different.

  4. bevbaird says:

    I too am an introvert and it used to bother me that I didn’t participate more in large groups. But as I have gotten older, I am more comfortable now if I don’t talk with others but am more apt to speak .

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