Hello, I’m an introvert.
When going through Psychology 1101 to cover a required science elective, I studied the characteristics of introversion and extroversion, but the material never really resonated with me. As I saw it, there are varying degrees of both, I fit somewhere on the introverted side of the scale, and this was the extent of the application of such a subject.
I can force myself to be social, friendly, cheerful (what Shirley and I call being on), but I can only do this for limited amounts of time. Usually I can keep it going just a few hours for a party or gathering, or as long as a few days as required if we’re out camping or snowboarding, but never longer than this.
The rest of the time I spend in my room, away from the world, because the social interactions of everyday life are a huge drain on me. When I’m alone, I recharge in a way I can’t explain. I’ve spent years feeling guilty for this behaviour. The North American attitude is that there’s something wrong with being quiet or unsocial. The most striking memory I have of this was during frosh week, when others would constantly harass me to go drinking, or dancing, or partying with a bunch of people I had never met before.
Now there’s an explanation that makes more sense to me than a simple degree on a scale. In a recent article, neuroscience researcher Marti Olsen Laney talks about the connections between introversion and biology. “It impacts all areas of their lives: how they process information, how they restore their energy, what they enjoy and how they communicate.”
I realize that there’s a greatly significant correlation between the way I behave and my introverted mindset. Introversion is an attitude that affects almost every aspect of my life, deeply rooted to a physiological level. It isn’t something I should be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
And if I can come out of my shell every now and then, I’ll be alright.