When you go to the beach and you see 100 feet of coastline jam packed with people so there’s not even space to walk between the towels, but just beyond that crowded area there are just a few people but lots of space between them, which area would you head for? I for one would go to the place where I could see water and sand, not just a mass of other humans crowded together. Yet when I proceed along those same ideas in normal life, I’m accused of “hiding.”
At my church, the main area is usually just crowded enough so there are couples or families in every row, with only one or two empty seats between them. I never know who is expecting one more person, plus a lot of these people are talking to each other when I arrive, so I usually go sit in the balcony. There are plenty of other people up there, yet there’s lots of room so I don’t have to intrude on others to find a seat. I automatically head to the balcony each Sunday, and I didn’t realize it was an abnormal place to sit. But last week I ran into a woman I know after the service and she stated, “I see you’re still hiding in the balcony.” HIDING? Um, if I were hiding, I think I’d be crouching behind the railing so no one would see me. Or perhaps I’d be just outside the door! Shhhh.. Guess I’m not a very good hider, sitting there in plain site.
Although I like to go out to lunch with coworkers or other friends once or twice a week, I really treasure the lunch hour to have some enjoyable “me time,” either reading a book or reading blogs and working on this one. When I get an hour’s break all to myself, it really does restore my energy so that I can go back to working effectively with others for the afternoon. One day, I had a good lunch all heated up and a cold Mountain Dew at my side, and I was about to read some blogs I like. But a coworker looked in and pityingly asked, “Why are you hiding out in your office?” HIDING? Now if I were going to HIDE, I think I’d go get into the bushes or perhaps go behind the building and peer around the corner. Why is it abnormal to enjoy one’s own company for an hour?
The last straw came yesterday when I saw what was supposed to be a nice comparison between extroverts and introverts. It looked pretty good but then the definition of “Home” for extroverts was, “A place to invite everybody you know.” For introverts home is, “A place to hide from everybody you know.” HIDE. So if people are looking for me, the one place they will never look is my house?? My home is a place where I feel sheer joy just to walk around, read, or do whatever, especially if I’m lucky enough to be home when it’s daylight outside. I never think of myself as “hiding” from people there. Instead, I am living one of my favorite parts of life there, feeling plenty of pleasant stimulation from the things I like to do.
Sure, sometimes introverts do choose to “hide” from others. If we don’t want to go out and get our mail because the neighbor will talk and talk and talk and not let us go back into our home, if we don’t want to go heat up our lunch when we know annoying coworkers are in the break room, then we are preferring to hide in order to have the least annoyance and the most enjoyment. But remember, most of the time if we are alone, it’s not because we are “hiding” from anyone. It’s because we are sitting or walking or being where it feels most natural to us – the uncrowded, quieter path.
Photo credit: madeleine