Let Me Introvert Myself To You

Hi there! My name is Cheryl and I’m an introvert. Now, you may think you know what that means, and maybe you do but most persons are terribly uninformed about how this aspect of personality works. The very basic definition of an introvert is: a shy, reticent person. That’s a lazy, oversimplified yet pervasive definition. Many introverts are not shy. We converse easily – when we feel like it. When I refer to my introversion, people expect me to be anti-social, retiring and/or reclusive. In truth, this personality trait and its counterpart, extroversion, actually exist on a spectrum and the most effective way to determine where you fall on the spectrum is to get tested, get to know yourself very, very well, or both.


Because of the simplicity and ease of acceptance that the definition has received, most persons have no idea how to interact with introverts. This causes a lot of unnecessary friction and misunderstandings. Some persons think I’m rude, or snobbish while others simply attempt to force their way past my obvious apathy and disinterest and try to insinuate themselves into my life. For me, it can create tension in my casual and professional relationships because these are the persons who are least likely to ever get to know me very well. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Introverts are not nearly as odd or mysterious as we’re made out to be. Interactions can be simple because really, we prefer it that way. And every person has their own unique quirks that colour your interaction with them. In general though, if you find yourself in the company of an introvert you may want to bear these things in mind.


Small talk makes me feel like my brain is going to leak out through my ear in a desperate attempt to escape. Much like an animal caught in a trap, I will chew through my mental appendage in an attempt to escape at all costs. I can converse about banal topics for approximately 3-5 minutes. Any longer than that and I will start to dislike you and attempt to avoid future interactions. In the right atmosphere, conversations about religion, politics, sex, or the potential for time travel will grab and hold my attention. Under ideal circumstances, I will gladly deep dive into a discussion about spirituality and how it exists diametric to religion. If you want to talk about the weather for 25 minutes though, miss me with that. Thanks!


It’s approaching 24 hours since I’ve been outside of my house. I’ve interacted with fewer than 5 persons today and 1 of them is my cat. I was out last night. And while I can function for extended periods of time in social situations, that level of interaction is draining. I could easily and happily stay inside for the rest of the weekend and be content. It helps me to reset and restore my psyche for the upcoming week. It’s not intended as an offense. If I get invited somewhere and I don’t show up it’s because I couldn’t. I need notice. I need to prepare and plan. I need to adjust my headspace for interaction. If you can get me out of the house on short notice and keep me out for hours you are likely family or a very dear friend. I cannot promise I will show up like that for anyone else.


When I do show up, I can and will have fun. But it’s a spectrum for a reason. Some persons simply do not desire that kind of atmosphere. Some persons can function in it. While others can’t have fun unless they’re out and amongst others. As one friend so aptly described me, you’ll think I’m a very social person, until you get to know me better. Because I’m not. I’m really really not. More importantly, my fun may not look like the typical expectation of it. I can sit by myself, enjoy the music, people watch and have the absolute time of my life. If you see someone doing that, leave them be. It is most unpleasant to be in the middle of weaving a story about someone’s secret life as a spy and be interrupted by the Fun Police.

Physical Contact

Please. Please. Please. In addition to being an introvert, I’m also an empath. In some definitions, it’s viewed as an extraordinary sense, like something out of science fiction. It’s not that simple. In reality, it’s more a heightened level of emotional intelligence. As an introvert, I am deeply uncomfortable with overt, public displays of emotion and affection. If I’m in a group or setting where I’m comfy, it’s no big deal. But I prefer to initiate and I will typically ask permission first. As an empath, physical contact can have lasting, uncomfortable side effects that can cause me to retreat for longer periods of time in order to recover. Tread very carefully in this area.

Human interaction in general is a very complicated thing. The willingness to respect a person’s individuality is absolutely imperative to our ability to comfortably coexist. It’s not that difficult though. Acknowledge and respect boundaries. Develop and nurture your emotional intelligence. Most importantly, try to understand, being an introvert isn’t something that we do, it’s who we are.

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