How To Explain Your Introverted Personality To Others

How To Explain Your Introverted Personality To Others

Let’s face it, a lot of people don’t understand us introverts. For many extroverts, the introverted personality makes about as much sense as Snapchat does to my grandma. Even fellow introverts might be confused about what it means to be introverted. With all the ignorance out there about introversion, the thought of explaining our personality is daunting, to say the least. Still, we introverts want and need to be understood on a deeper level, especially by those we care about. Sure, showing the people we love an article like this one will do the trick sometimes. But I have to be honest, there comes a time when we all have to speak up about our introverted personality in real life, with real words (no emojis). And it isn’t always easy. It’s tough explaining our introverted personality to people who’ve been conditioned to think of introversion as an inferior personality type, or even a dysfunction. Case in point: This story will piss you off A while ago I did a radio interview for The Candy Palmater Show. During our discussion, Candy shared an experience that had introverts (including myself) across the nation shaking their heads in disgust. She recalled a workshop she attended in which the presenter talked about different personality types. The presenter wrote the words “introvert” and “extrovert” on the board, and then did the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the absolutely unforgivable … He drew a big huge X over “introvert” and circled “extrovert”. His message was loud and clear: introversion is the inferior personality type. All who want to succeed should strive for extroversion. As infuriating as this...
Introvert: When your mind turns against you

Introvert: When your mind turns against you

Let’s talk about a situation that makes a lot of introverts hate themselves. This particular scenario used to happen to me a lot when I was around extroverts. It can happen anywhere, but let’s just say you’re are at a bar: You go in feeling pretty good about yourself. You know bars aren’t really your scene, but you’re with your friends, and you have some liquid courage on hand. Then you start to feel tired. As your energy plummets, everything around you picks up speed. More people show up. The music gets louder. All of a sudden, new people are sitting at your table with your friends. This is when it begins. No matter how much you will yourself to “be cool”, “chill out” and “have fun”, your mind will not oblige. This makes you feel like the bad guy. After all, your friends invited you out expecting you to join in their fun. No one likes a party pooper. But you can’t help but sulk. Then your sulking turns to shame. Before you know it, you’re comparing yourself to the jovial extroverts at your table. The little troll in your mind points out how much better they are than you in every way. They are friendlier, prettier, more articulate, more likeable. Then the troll turns his bony finger at you and asks, “Why would anyone like you? You’re so boring and uncool. Everyone can tell you don’t belong here. What’s wrong with you?” The troll is most vicious when you are tired, or outside your comfort zone. In this particular scenario, you have both circumstances working against you. The...
Introvert – When your family makes you mental

Introvert – When your family makes you mental

Have you ever had an extroverted family member who really didn’t get your introversion? This might have made family events uncomfortable, the holidays pure torture. Maybe you’ve thought that life would be less complicated if you were born into a family of introverts. Quiet author Susan Cain’s upbringing in an introverted household certainly sounds idyllic. In her famous Ted Talk, she describes what it was like to grow up in a family of introverts: “[I]n my family, reading was the primary group activity. And this might sound antisocial to you, but for us it was really just a different way of being social. You have the animal warmth of your family sitting right next to you, but you are also free to go roaming around the adventureland inside your own mind.” Isn’t that a lovely image? Many introverts can only dream of such a cozy introvert-friendly family environment. In real life, we might come from a clan of extroverts, who think it’s rude to read in the company of others. Or we grew up in a blended household of introverts and extroverts. Perhaps, talking was a hobby for mom, while avoiding conversation was a sport for dad. Or maybe grandpa was a jovial trickster, always ‘stealing’ your nose, and pulling coins out of your ear. Meanwhile, grandma sat on the sidelines, quietly crafting those creepy little fabric dolls you had to pretend to like. On the verge of self-destruction My family is artsy on one side, and Asian on the other, so introversion was the norm in our household. It wasn’t until I spent a Christmas with my Mexican...
The Ultimate Introvert’s Dilemma In Relationships

The Ultimate Introvert’s Dilemma In Relationships

The two most common fears people have in relationships are engulfment and abandonment. Usually, it is one or the other. We fear being swallowed up by another, dissolving into the relationship. Or we fear the opposite. We are terrified of being left behind. The introvert’s dilemma in relationships is that we often feel both fears deeply. We are on constant guard against the threat of being overwhelmed by others. And yet, we are afraid that our true personality will scare people away. Our worst fear is that we are too easy to leave. Which means we are too hard to love. It is as if we are afraid of the sun, and afraid of the sun setting. I wrote a poem about this the other day: Fear of the sun And fear of the sun setting Engulfment Abandonment The sun’s rays reach for me But the once welcome warmth Now burns The moon in all its glowing mystery Can’t be trusted It calls to the stars in the dark Circles the world Like a predator its prey It shows you a sliver Then disappears for days You’re Smothering Me For sensitive introverts who are prone to energy drain, relationships can feel like swimming in a tsunami. The tidal wave of emotions, the silent fears, the rush of hormones, the sheer weight of someone else’s expectations – it can all be too much. Whenever I think of one of my extroverted exes, a particular image comes to mind. I imagine that I am a little blue bird in the palm of his hands. He is trying to show me affection, but...
Introvert: Is Your Extrovert Making You Sick?

Introvert: Is Your Extrovert Making You Sick?

Many introverts find fun and friendship in the company of extroverts. We have extroverted family members, colleagues, friends and partners. We might love the extroverts in our lives – or at the very least, lovingly tolerate them. As much as we appreciate our extroverts, spending time with them can have a troubling side-effect. You might have noticed that conversations with your outie leave your brain buzzing and unsettled. Or perhaps you’ve come down with a familiar tickle in your throat after trying to keep up with a social butterfly friend. Why your extrovert makes you sick They mean well, they really do. But our extroverts operate at a different pace than us. They are like busy worker bees hungrily moving from flower to flower, task to task, person to person, in search of fulfillment. We draw our life force from ourselves. The extrovert’s way leaves us sick and tired. Our body has many ways of telling us things that our mind wants to ignore. Could it be that our sore throat is a symptom of the suppression of our voice? In my teens and early twenties, I got colds a lot. More often, I would get a swollen throat that never evolved into a full-blown cold. Looking back, I can clearly see that this was a side-effect of my struggle to keep up with the extroverts in my life. I had no idea how to use my voice to set boundaries, and speak my innie truth. Instead, I would stay quiet, and try to adjust to the extrovert ideal. I’ll be the first to say that quietness is okay,...
Introvert: Leave me alone to mourn fictional characters

Introvert: Leave me alone to mourn fictional characters

  It’s raining where I live in Canada. On this grey morning, I want to talk about something that feels just as dismal as a rainy day. It has to do with an activity many of us innies love to do most when it’s storming outside: Curl up with a good book and get lost in its pages. The world can writhe and rage all it wants outside our doors. As long as we have our cozy corner and the company of a few fictional friends, we are content. Why we mourn fictional characters Unfortunately, fictional characters don’t go past the borders of their books. Reading the last page of a novel marks more than just the end of a great story. It spells the end of several relationships, too. We form some serious attachments over the course of a book’s hundreds of pages. We fall in love with the protagonist, who is lovingly tortured by the author in more ways than we can count. We develop a strange attachment to the sadistic writer, who seems to know us better than most of our friends or family. We even feel affection for the villain who shows us that evil can be interesting when worn right. Do other introverts feel this way? During Christmas break one year in college I gobbled up all thousand or so pages of Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. When I plucked the hefty book off the shelf at my school library, I didn’t expect to like it at all. Then I was sucked in by the first sentence: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men...

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