From Hermit Loner, a Great New Article

What a Relief!

 

I’ve always felt “different” and out of place. I’ve enjoyed being alone from childhood. Even though I know that my father is an introvert and suspect my mother is too, I remember my mom always pulling at me to come out of my room and join the family in the evenings.  I’d get home from school and retreat to my bedroom where I would close the door and be happy for hours in solitary activity. As I got older, I realized that I didn’t like it when friends would call me after school to get together or just to talk. I felt as if I’d seen them all day and now I wanted NOT to see or talk to them. I only had a handful of friends and though I thought at the time I wanted to be popular I know now that I really didn’t. I just wanted to be accepted by the popular kids, which I was not.

 

I have never formed close friendships. Once I started dating boys, I got all of my social needs met from that and didn’t really want much to do with friends. In my life now, partnered with a woman, that relationship fills all my needs for companionship. I don’t have close friendships outside of that, and it’s fine with me.

 

But I’ve always felt vaguely guilty about it. Seems like you always read how much  healthier it is to have a large “social network”.  I’ve never felt that need but I bet other introverts know the feeling of “Well, I SHOULD be more interested in other people. I SHOULD make more friends. I SHOULD cultivate this “social network” they talk about.”  But the interest simply isn’t there. I’ve always liked animals better than I like people and now I realize it’s because animals don’t TALK!  They don’t drain me with conversation!  It’s a revelation.

 

My extroverted neighbor has been driving me nuts for years with phone calls and coming into my yard, uninvited, to talk at me whenever she sees me outside.  She’s a nice person and I like her, but after eight years of it I’m at my wit’s end. In Googling the Internet for a tactful way to ask her to please not disturb me if I’m in what I’m calling my “private area” in the back yard, I came across Jonathan Rauch’s amazing article “Caring for your Introvert”.  My God!  I’ve been on cloud nine since reading it. Now I know what I am and that it’s okay! I’m not the only one and there’s NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!  It inspired me to do more research and everything I read about being an introvert resonates with me. Territorial?  You better believe it. Need quiet and solitude?  Oh yeah, as much as I can get. Parties wear me out. Being around people drains me.  If a stranger approaches me for conversation, it feels just as icky to me as if they were wiping their snot on my clothing. When I see my neighbor sailing into my yard with a big smile on her face, ready to talk at me, I cringe inside and even get angry. Even if I’m just doing yardwork or something, I don’t want company!  I’m enjoying the work, enjoying my own thoughts, I don’t want to listen to someone yap at me.  Now I know it’s really okay to feel that way. I’m not a nut case. I don’t hate people. I’m just an introvert!  And it’s fine!

 

It’s been my experience, though, that people are drawn to me. I find myself captive to unwanted conversation for hours a day, at my job. I can handle work related talk, or friendly banter with those I know well and like, in small doses. But I seem to be the one that people gravitate toward when they just want someone to talk AT. Now I understand why that is.  They’re taking energy from it, it feels good to them, and they have no idea that it’s draining me and making me irritable. I printed out a paragraph from the Rauch article and posted it at my cubicle in hopes that the offenders will read it and think twice before yapping at me for twenty minutes about some TV show they saw the night before that I did not watch and do not want to hear about.

 

I’ve “come out” to my partner and to my neighbor, so far.  I sent my neighbor a link to the article.

I hope it helps.  I was asked to contribute my “personal profile” for our department newsletter and one of the questions was “What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?”  I answered, “That I’m an introvert. Seriously.”  People never want to believe that  – I’ve sometimes tried to tell people that I’m not a “people person” and they never believe it, because I guess I have built a pretty good “persona” for those times when I have to interact with people. “Oh, you’re always so cheerful and nice, and friendly, you can’t tell me you’re not a people person.”  Well, I’m NOT. I never have been. I take my lunch breaks alone. I go for a solitary walk to try to ‘recharge’ at lunchtime. I didn’t realize what that was about, until now.

 

Coming out to myself feels great. I am excited to learn everything I can about introversion and what type of introvert I am, and what I need to stay happy and healthy.  Now that I know about myself, I don’t have to feel guilty if I say to someone, “Okay, it’s been nice talking to you but I need to get back to my book now.”  I don’t have to feel uncomfortable about not liking to go to parties. Does anyone else out there feel angry and imposed upon when you receive an social invitation?  I do!  I hate getting invited to parties, showers, weddings, etc. It always feels like an obligation to me, something I’ll do so as not to hurt someone’s feelings, but I’d really rather not. And I know the feeling of being drained after a get together even if I’ve had a good time.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been lonely.  I like being alone.

 

I love silence. Don’t phone me, send me an email.  I’ll be happy to “listen” to your problems, if you email me.  I’ll be happy to console you, advise you, whatever you need, as long as I don’t have to do it face to face. I want to say this to everyone who knows me!   I don’t hate you and I’m not unwilling to help you, I’m not uncaring. I just don’t want to TALK with you!   The telephone is an instrument of the devil as far as I’m concerned.  And don’t even THINK about coming to my door uninvited even if you’re family!

 

I could go on and on. This just feels so good. Thank you for this site, I’ve only begun to explore.

 

How great it is to know that we introverts are fine just the way we are!  Our needs are legitimate!

 

It’s not weird or antisocial to need quiet time alone!    This feels FANTASTIC!

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~ by nancyfenn on June 21, 2007.

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