For today’s blog post I was going to rant, but it’s Friday! Ranting is Monday business, so instead imma talk about myself.
Specifically being an introvert and connecting with others.
I’m a fairly quiet person, the more you get to know me/the more comfortable I am with you obviously I’m going to talk to you… kind of. Growing up I was shy, like painfully shy, but now I’m just quiet.
It’s a nature versus nurture subject for me, something I think about often. Am I quiet because it’s in my DNA or am I a quiet person because of the environment I grew up in?
Growing up I was raised by single mother, she worked a lot. I was usually surrounded by her side of the family, like my aunt and my grandma. My aunt and my grandma have always been, and are are still, very chatty people; whereas my mother (who also talks more than she would care to admit) is more on the quiet side like me.
Having been in this environment that fosters communication, where people talking constantly could have “nurtured” me into being a quieter person because I was constantly listening. I am a listener, in any environment I’m watching and I’m listening.
On the flip side I could have grown up to be a Chatty Cathy too, which is why I think being quiet is just who I am.
Now with that in mind, is meeting new people a struggle for me? It really depends on the other person. If the other person is blatantly outgoing and they can kind of pull me out of that quietness, then I have no problem starting up a conversation; However, if this person is quieter like me, then it’s harder to communicate with them until we find common ground. Once that happens (if it happens) then we can both open up about what we love!
I’m comfortable in silence. “Awkward silences” don’t really exist for me. There have been many times where I’ve been with someone, one on one, whom I’m comfortable with and I just don’t talk. It’s not awkward, I just don’t have anything to say in that moment and I’m ok with that. Things get awkward when I try to force a conversation, and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I don’t have to say anything.
People use to make me feel bad about being an introvert, but I don’t see being an introvert as being a negative thing anymore. Grace Helbig summarizes being an introvert the best in a Huffington Post interview: “I had this idea that being an introvert was a negative thing, that it had a negative connotation, and I really wanted, as a young person, to strive to be the life of the party and to be really outgoing and to have a million friends,” she said. “And then I realized that an introvert isn’t a negative. It’s just someone that doesn’t derive a ton of energy from being social.”
I read another interview of hers a while ago where she said something along the lines of “When you’re an introvert you get to go out and be social but you don’t thrive on that, you have to recharge alone and that’s what makes you an introvert. Extroverts gain energy from being around people, whereas Introverts gain energy when they are alone.”
That’s powerful for me. It’s a reminder to me that it’s ok to want to be alone. A reminder to tell others “hey, this is who I am, and this is what I need”. Sometimes I need my alone time so I can recharge and get back out there.