I’m an introvert. I won’t necessarily initiate conversation with you if I don’t know you. It’s not because I’m aloof, or cold, or shy. It’s just that I really enjoy minding my own business.
Another way to put it is that I love attending to the business of my mind: the steady stream of thoughts and ideas, the expansive landscapes of imagination, even the familiar channels of worry.
Sometimes I feel guilty about minding my own business. I don’t want people to think I dislike them, or that I am rude, or uncaring. I hope they don’t assume that my mind and heart are closed when I keep to myself.
The infinite introvert
You might have seen a picture somewhere depicting introverts with a small personal space bubble. When I am exploring my imagination, my world has no borders. I can dive deep into an ocean of memories. I can sail freely through a current of dreams.
There is a famous quote from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The main character Charlie and his two best friends Patrick and Sam are driving through a tunnel at night, the song “Landslide” blasting from the stereo. They exit the tunnel and see downtown lights and “everything that makes you wonder”. Then comes the famous line:
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
Charlie is a teen introvert who mostly minds his own business. Yet, through his writing we see that his inner world is infinite. It is only through his ability to “see things … keep quiet about them, and … understand” that he is able to truly appreciate the defining experiences he shares with his best friends.
Real friendship for an introvert
That’s the thing about introverts. Our most exhilarating moments occur when we are either by ourselves, or with people with whom we feel such a deep connection that we experience the comfort of aloneness.
It’s like when you’re singing in the shower and you don’t care what you sound like because no one can hear you. Then you find out your best friend could hear you the whole time. But you still don’t care because you are that comfortable with him or her.
That’s what real friendship looks like for an introvert. We can think out loud without worrying about who is listening. Or we can sing on the inside, without being judged for going quiet. In a group of strangers or acquaintances, our singing might be silent, but don’t be fooled.
We can still make music while minding our own business.
Yes, I’m an introvert, and sometimes I don’t want to talk or “participate”. In those moments it might seem that I am small. But I am infinite.
P.S. If you’d like to attract the kind of friends who accept you even when you’re “singing on the inside”, download my free Introvert Connection Guide. You’ll discover how to go from meet and greet to meaningful friendship in your own quiet way. 😉