Introvert finding it hard to allow herself to act naturally – like the introvert she is!

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I finally found out after 36 (!) years that I’m an introvert.

I really never understood why I always got so stressed out and exhausted after spending time with other people than my family and closest friends. I always felt that I was a bit weird and a lousy friend when I rather spent some time alone drinking tea and reading a book than hanging out with other people. I always got so tired after meeting other people and so full of energy when spending time by myself….and I always felt that I should change and felt guilty when I didn’t feel like spending time with other people.

I have been really exhausted for periods of my life and I’ve been told that I really should meet more people to ‘recharge my batteries’ after work….A really bad piece of advice for me since I spend my whole days at work meeting other people.

I got more and more tired, but since I never had heard of ‘extroverts’ or ‘introverts’ I came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with me.

My problem is that I’m so used to pushing myself to talk when I meet people (eg at work) just because I always felt that “this is what I have to do, this is what people do when they meet'” etc. This is really killing me because it makes me so exhausted. It’s hard to change a bad habit just like that, especially when other people expect me to behave in this extrovert way. I so much would prefer to just sit and listen to other people without forcing myself to speak, but I don’t know how to anymore.

I would really appreciate some good advice from you clever people!

Photo credit: speedSynch

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29 Comments

  1. sounds like the story of my life. I did not discover i was introverted until a few years ago. I’m currently 38 years old. I was at work surfing the net and I ended up running across a web site about hsp (hyper sensitive persons) and it led to the discovery that I am introverted. Once I did that, I slowly peeled away the harmful persons (those people who REFUSE to understand let alone acknowledge) that my needs are different and that I am different. If they cannot respect my needs then we have no friendship. You are not responsible for what they chose to understand or what they chose to accept or how they chose to react to this new knowledge of yourself. You need to put yourself and needs first. If you cannot go out and meet and greet other poeple after work…they simply say no. If they get upset, it is not your problem. Your introverted needs are more important than what they want. They can always find someone else to talk to and soclaize, but it is not as easy for us introverts to take care of our needs because we live in a world that over stimulates us. You have to find that backbone and those set of steel balls and tell them no. No explanation is needed or that will only fuel more questions and a longer conversation that you don’t have the energy to expend on. If they have a problem with you taking care of your introverted needs…it becomes their problem. not yours.

  2. Introversion is not an illness, just be yourself, you don’t have to change anything. If anything, it’s a good thing that you are able to force yourself to speak, I just sit there not knowing what to say while the other person probably thinks I’m either being anti-social and don’t want to talk, or I’m just weird or shy or something.
    Intraversion is not something that needs nurturing.

  3. Hi there, I had the exact same problem! I totally see and feel your pain. This is my advice for you- take it step by step. I’ll explain- start with not talking for 10 min. Try to sustain it for 3 meetings or so. Next- raise it to 20 min and so on. Stop when you’ll get the feeling that you are able not forcing yourself to talk anymore. Good luck!
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  4. I think you have made the first step toward feeling more natural in this extroverted world. Understanding you are an Introvert helps in so many ways! My advice would be to next help those around you ( at work) understand what an introvert is and that you are one. It is not your problem if people do not like your introvert ways. If it bothers them it is their problem. I understand you might be forced to deal with these people at work but if you can get most of your co workers to understand who you are then you may find it easier to “break old habits”

  5. I’m a introvert. I get real tired in crowds and I don’t like parties because they are exhausting. It’s a sensitivity that is good for some activities but not so good for others. I’ll tell you what…it helps with writing and philosophy.

  6. I used to have this problem all the time, especially in high school. I recently got to the point where I can sit in a group of people without saying much and I don’t feel bad at all about it. At first I just had to keep telling myself that it’s the way I am, it’s okay with me, and people are just going to have to be okay with it, too. After that it was a matter of allowing people to accustom themselves to my nature. It takes a little while but they do eventually come around, particularly if you’re around them a lot. A cool side effect though? When you do say something you typically have people’s undivided attention. Just be patient with yourself, learn to listen to yourself and when you’re tired, or when you really don’t feel like you want to give input. Again, it took me a while but it comes. Just know that the way you are is okay and no one can expect you to be different. Not even you. 😉

  7. Anna – Yes, it is definitely possible. It’s very common to move around on a spectrum of introvert/extravert throughout a lifetime and it’s very possible to switch leanings especially if you’re somewhere toward the middle. However, a good thing to remember is that there is always a little bit of both in all of of us.

  8. I completely understand the pressure of going out and spending time with people when you’d rather just curl up with a book, but it might be more bearable if you only socialized once or twice a week. There’s no reason why you should go out after work every day, and it doesn’t make you a lousy friends just because you don’t want to meet up with friends every single day. It’s important to make up your own rhythm and just do whatever makes you comfortable!

  9. I am an introvert as well. Recently, I read about an extrovert who wish he was more of an introvert; he said that he had trouble watching what he would say, that he would just talk about anything and that it got him in trouble sometimes. That was the first time I read about an extrovert who wanted to be an introvert.

  10. Its good to be around same kind of peoples.I found that I am an introvert when I was 21 years old and now I am 28.So what I have seen is initially I enjoyed being an introvert because I was more thoughtful and did better in studies and other stuff like that but after I went to college and then in job I found that being thoughtful and helpful always talking what is required is ok but one needs to maintain communication and relations with people which I was unable to do.My light bulb went off when people enjoyed something and just laughed and had fun and did meaningless talk and didn’t know what to do then and my bosses also told me to more sociable and I have known that being knowledgeable is okay but it doesn’t forms a complete package…….Well I am in job from 3 yeras changed some companies and till now I have changed not much but a little bit …..still struggling with the issues.I know that I am an introvert and I have my own strength and weaknesses and trying to be an extrovert is a wrong approach ……..I should focus on my strengths and practice doing things which I need to learn and things will be fine!

  11. People are unique and it is normal for each of us to have a trait or habit that we feel we need to change. I believe that in life, we can always strike a balance. Your time with your family and friends is as important as your time for yourself. So try to spend quality time for each because both are equally important as we grow.
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  12. Look there are different types of people. In fact in this word you can’t categories them and that means verity of nature & behavior. Its good that you want to talk people but I think it should be little bit balanced.

    • Argh! Are you kidding? This is just the kind of advice people come here to get away from…She sounds to be an introvert who has learned to extrovert more than is healthy for her already and you’d like her to join (another) group….

  13. I can so relate! For most of my life, I let other people tell me there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t comfortable at parties and such. What hogwash!!! I’m not “faulty equipment” and neither are you. I’m finally learning to fully embrace my introverted self. Now I’m experimenting and finding ways to be authentic in social situations. I invite you to join the conversation at my Wild Adventures of a Modern Day Hermit blog.
    Dielle´s last post ..Hello world!

  14. I think you are being particularly hard on yourself. Allow yourself to be who you are. I always thought I had a strange dysfunction, that there was something wrong with me that I was tired all the time when I was with people and needed to be home alone to unwind. I got so exhausted by overexposure to people in one relationship that I was diagnosed with depression. Then I read the book “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World” by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., and with every page turn I found myself saying, “So THAT’S why I’m like this!” It’s not a dysfunction at all! I just need to be myself and to surround myself with people who understand me. (I was lucky enough to be raised in an introvert family, so it helps that we are all similar.) I think you need to do the same. Be yourself and value yourself for who you are, very unique and less superficial than the majority.

  15. I wouldn’t say your work environment reinforcing some of your extroverted dispositions is a really bad thing. As an introvert I’ve found that too much alone time really did me a disservice. I’ve found that a nice balance between both has been the best. In my work environments I usually just stopped initiating so many conversations, too.
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  16. If you don’t want to meet people after work, that’s OK. And don’t worry what others think, that is so important. But what do you want out of life – do you want to carry on worrying about how others percieve you, or are you happy as you are.

    Might be time to take stock of your life and life for yourself, not others. Might be time to think about how you talk to yourself (I know that sounds odd, but affirmations play a vital part in our daily life). Self improvement is key to your well being and success. Maybe think about learning a bit more about how you can increase your self esteem etc.
    Suzie@goal setting techniques´s last post ..Jan 17, Goal Setting Games Make The Goal Setting Process Easier

  17. The only thing I could say is be yourself and find a spot where you are comfortable. Whenever I feel I don’t want to meet anybody I just stay at home and do some tasks that makes me busy. You can’t really please everyone so I do things where I am comfortable at.

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