The below was sent to me by a 22 year old student named Abby who has just started law school at a large university. The other members of the class seem to want to be together constantly, but she’d like to know how to manage as an introvert without seeming unfriendly or making a big deal of being an introvert.
I have spent years of my life thinking something was “wrong” with me, starting mostly in high school. Since I started law school in August, these feelings have become even more intense…it feels as though my entire class became friends instantly. They all do things together during the week and on the weekends. I participate once in awhile but often only because I “force” myself to go. I feel as though many of them have noticed that I’m not around as much as everyone else, and so I constantly get questions on why I’m “antisocial.” My question for you is, how do you handle being an introvert who people initially perceive as an extrovert?
What I mean is, I’m a friendly person and, when in small groups, I’ll talk to anyone. I had friends and was elected to a couple of class officer positions in high school and don’t tend to have a lot of enemies. However, I often prefer being alone to being a part of group activities, and it takes me awhile to really “warm up” to someone enough to want to spend any time with them. More or less, I’ve been told it appears as if I’m nice enough but just don’t like people or think I’m “better” than everyone else, which is not the case. I don’t want to go around telling people “I’m introverted” so that’s why I never hang out with you all…at the same time, I hate the idea that people think i’m “antisocial.” I just need more time than they do to make friends! Anyway, any advice would be much appreciated.