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A while back, I wrote a post answering the question: how do you know if you’re an introvert?
Since then, I’ve had conversations about introversion and being an introvert with many different people, some introverted and some not. I’ve found blogs and Instagram feeds dedicated to introverts, and I’ve started to feel what some have called the Introvert Revolution, largely started by Susan Cain and her book Quiet.
I like being an introvert.
Did some of you just gasp?
That’s part of the Introvert Revolution – people realizing that the fact they are an introvert is NOT a reason to be ashamed.
It’s not something to “fix”.
Today’s post is about being proud to be an introvert.
Just like you should be proud of your blue eyes instead of wishing for brown eyes, you can be proud of being an introvert.
It doesn’t mean introverts are better than extroverts.
Neither is superior. They are simply different.
What is an Introvert?
The true definition of an Introvert is NOT that they are shy and anti-social.
The true definition of an Introvert is that they recharge their energy with time alone, in solitude.
That factor alone is what determines if you are an introvert or extrovert. Not how shy or social you are, how loud you talk in crowds, or whether you like to give speeches.
Additional Traits of Many Introverts:
— They often prefer smaller social groups where they can have meaningful conversations instead of large parties where they have to make small talk.
— They often dislike [or hate] small talk.
— They will often talk energetically and excitedly about their passions.
— After time around others, they need to seek quiet and solitude in order to recharge. They often do this by writing, reading, or spending time in nature.
Does this sound like you?
If so, then you are probably an introvert.
Can Introverts be outgoing and friendly?
Like I said before, being an introvert and being shy are two completely different things.
Yes, it’s true that there are many introverts who happen to be shy too. But believe it or not, there are many extroverts [they get energy by being around other people] who are shy too.
Introverts are usually very talkative, happy and outgoing when they are around people they know and feel comfortable with.
They also can be very outgoing and outspoken if the situation warrants it.
Take me, as a photographer, for example:
When I’m shooting, I’m directing my clients, giving orders, offering feedback, talking non-stop and interacting with my clients the entire time. This is not shy or withdrawn behavior. This is not what some might identify as ‘typical introvert behavior.’
But remember, being an introvert is truly about how you recharge your batteries or refill your energy bucket.
When I’m not shooting, I’m often reading at home, or taking walks outside. Classic introvert recharging behavior.
So YES, Introverts can be outgoing, friendly people. In fact, depending on how outgoing they are, you might never know that they are truly an introvert! It’s what they need to do to fill their energy bucket back up that indicates if they are an introvert or not.
Ways to Take Care of Your Introverted Self
Because I know I’m an introvert and I have a relatively small energy bucket, I have to be aware of this and plan my life accordingly.
This might seem ridiculous to some people, especially if you are an extrovert. But trust me, unless you’re an introvert with a small energy bucket, you really can’t relate. Don’t judge.
1. Balance social activity with plenty of alone/rest time.
This is KEY for me. Photographing a wedding or a busy portrait session is thrilling and fun for me, but I’m very tired afterwards. Not just physically tired, but mentally and emotionally tired. I balance those bursts of outgoing socialization with plenty of down time where I am able to refill my bucket and get ready for the next burst of social activity.
2. Don’t overbook your social calendar.
This counts for both personal social events and business events. If you are an introvert, you need alone time to balance the social time. What happens when you schedule meeting after meeting, and you don’t leave time for yourself in your schedule?
You will burn out. You will have an empty energy bucket. And it’s likely that you’ll start getting really cranky.
3. Be proud of who you are. Don’t apologize for being an Introvert.
In a world that caters to extroverts, there is a swirling negative attitude toward introverts.
“They’re so shy.”
“They aren’t very nice.”
Those sentiments are not only false, but they can make you embarrassed for being an introvert. The result of being embarrassed is that you try to act like an extrovert – not allowing yourself the rest that you need to thrive.
What happens? You burn out.
Be proud of who you are.
Just like you shouldn’t apologize for having blonde hair, don’t apologize for being an Introvert. It’s not something that you need to change or FIX. It’s who you are, and it’s not a weakness. In many ways, it’s a strength.
Benefits of being an Introvert
Benefit #1. Introverts typically have a high sense of intuition, because they spend a lot of time alone with themselves. They are aware of their thoughts and feelings, and are in tune with their inner-mind and self.
Benefit #2. Introverts can often sense how others are feeling, and can be very sincere and compassionate friends.
Benefit #3. Introverts are usually very independent people.
Benefit #4. Introverts often have a high appreciation of the simple things in life. Because their recharge-activities are often writing, reading and nature, they appreciate these simple pleasures.
– – – – –
If you are an introvert, don’t apologize for it.
Be proud of it.
If you’re an extrovert, you’re not better or worse than an introvert. You’re simply wired differently.
It is because of these two different types of people that our world turns as it does.
And it’s exactly the way it should be.
P.S. I highly recommend Susan Cain’s book Quiet to anyone wanting to learn more about what it’s like to be an introvert in today’s world – either because you are an introvert yourself, or because you want to know more about them. I think it’s the best resource on this topic out there.