In her article, Confessions of an Introverted Traveler, Sophia Dembling describes extroverts as “unintentional bullies, demanding that everyone join their party or be considered queer, sad or stunted.”
At first I thought this statement was a tad bit harsh … that is until I came to Colombia. This boisterous culture is constantly abuzz with music, dancing and lively conversation. Colombians are friendly people who want everyone to join their party. They simply cannot fathom why you might decline. The problem is – and believe me it’s a problem – the party never ends.
As most introverts know, there comes a point when our energy reserves are completely depleted and the only way to refuel is to find a quiet place to be alone.
Unfortunately, some extroverts refuse to let us seek out the solitude we crave. Of course, I’m not talking about all extroverts. I’m talking about the ones who say, “you can’t leave”, “you’re being a party pooper” and “you need to let loose”.
These are the extroverts who will make you feel like you’re from outer space for wanting to be by yourself for a while. They are the ones who won’t take no for an answer. Sound familiar?
Guess what? They can and should take no for an answer and here is why:
Everyone will be happier
It is very difficult to be pleasant and ‘let loose’ when you are running on empty. When I’m feeling drained I usually stop socializing and withdraw into my own inner world. Either that, or I become a snarling little gremlin that is aggravated by just about everything.
I suspect that it is the same for most introverts. It really is better for everyone if introverts are given the space needed to recharge their batteries.
Introverts don’t need to become extroverts
Introversion is an orientation. It is an inherent part of who we are. Click to tweet.
Trying to change introverts into something we are not is counterproductive and just plain insulting.Click to tweet.
Introverts and extroverts have different needs and desires. Neither one is better than the other. And yet, introverts are constantly made to feel that their innate characteristics are inferior. This simply is not true. We don’t need to be ‘fixed’ and turned into extroverts.
Compromise is a two-way street
Yes, both introverts and extroverts must compromise to keep each other happy. This is inescapable.
The thing is, introverts can spend so much time bending and adjusting to please extroverts that they completely deny their own desires. Click to tweet.
It is perfectly reasonable to ask extroverts to meet us halfway. They can do this by recognizing our needs and allowing us to fulfill them without guilt.
There is no need to reinforce obnoxious behavior
Bullying people into doing things they really don’t want to do is obnoxious. In all fairness, a lot of extroverts have noble intentions and truly mean no harm by their persistent demands. But, whatever their motives, I refuse to reward behavior that makes me feel bad.
So, go ahead, exercise your right to say no to extrovert bullies. And do it without feeling a stitch of guilt.
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