You walk into the party filled with strangers and it feels as if all eyes are upon you. Everyone is chatting and laughing away. You feel different.
Your heart begins to race. Your breathing becomes shallow and your first inclination is to turn around and run. You don’t because you don’t want to call more attention to yourself or be rude. But the urge to leave is real.
Your internal naysayer starts to chime in. “You won’t have anything to say. What if you say something really stupid? No one is going to want to hang out with you. You’re like a fish out of water and you’re going to look really silly here.”
A thought of being curled up on your sofa in the sweet sanctity of your own home rushes your brain. You scan the room looking for a safe place to plant yourself, a place where you can quietly observe and avoid any casual chitchat.
Does this sound familiar?
If you’re an introvert like me it probably does. Put me in front of a room of hundreds to give a presentation or workshop and I’m pumped. Take me to a party where I don’t know anyone and I literally feel myself shrink, as if I’m trying to curl up into myself.
To my sister and brother introverts, if you’ve ever felt ashamed of your own introversion, like some freak of nature, this post and the following quotes are for you. May you find great comfort in them.
To all my extroverted friends and readers who know and love an introvert, I hope the quotes provide you with some additional insight that’ll help you to love your introverts even more.
“If you are an introvert, you are born with a temperament that craves to be alone, delights in meaningful connections, thinks before speaking and observes before approaching. If you are an introvert, you thrive in the inner sanctuary of the mind, heart and spirit, but shrink in the external world of noise, drama and chaos. As an introvert, you are sensitive, perceptive, gentle and reflective. You prefer to operate behind the scenes, preserve your precious energy and influence the world in a quiet, but powerful way.”
- Aletheia Luna, Quiet Strength: Embracing, Empowering and Honoring Yourself as an Introvert
Thoughts: YES! YES! YES! There’s nothing at all wrong with…
…thinking before speaking.
…striving for quality over quantity when it comes to connections.
…being sensitive, perceptive, gentle and reflective.
…wanting to influence the world in a quiet, but powerful way.
When we are at a party we are often the quiet observer. We aren’t standing in judgment, analyzing the people at the party. What we are doing is taking it all in so that when we share, we are sharing from a place of authenticity.
“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”
- Audrey Hepburn
Thoughts: As introverts we may need a little more down time than others do, particularly after social events, presentations, big gathers, etc. There’s absolutely no harm in that. The only harm is when we don’t take the time we need to refuel.
To those who love us, please do not take our need for alone time as a slight. We just want to make sure you’re getting the best version of us and not some fried and cranky critter.
“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.”
- Michaela Chung
Thoughts: As introverts it’s not uncommon to take it all in, our surroundings, the people, the energy, etc. We aren’t tuning out, uninterested, being shy or trying to be rude. We’re just collecting information to share when the time is right to do so.
“Introverts crave meaning so party chitchat feels like sandpaper to our psyche.”
Thoughts: We love to get to know people at a deeper level. We like conversations that make us think or that help us to learn. While there’s nothing wrong with surface level conversations, they just aren’t in our wheelhouse.
Speaking of surface level…
“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
- Laurie Helgoe
Thoughts: This quote reminds me of all the times I’ve been accused of being a “stand-offish bitch” because I’m uncomfortable with small talk. I love people, as do my introverted friends and clients.
It goes back to the previous quote; we just love a meaningful conversation…that’s all.
“Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge.”
- Paulo Coelho
Thoughts: We sometimes do our best thinking and creating when we’re enjoying the solitude of our own company. This in no way means we need or want to become hermits. Nor does it mean that we don’t want to spend time with those we love and care about.
“Accept everything about yourself–I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end–no apologies, no regrets.”
- Clark Moustakas
Thoughts: OK, so maybe this quote doesn’t really have to do with being an introvert. It’s just important to remember that there’s no need to apologize for being a bit quieter than others in some social settings. There’s no need to apologize for needing that extra alone time either. We are who we are and that’s not something to be sorry for.
If those quotes didn’t make you want to hug your introverted self, I’d love to introduce you to the following famous introverts.
Sir Issac Newton
Isn’t it cool to be in such great company?
To all my fellow introverts, now imagine going to that party. You still may not like small talk, but at least you'll know that you're not some weird freak-a-zoid. Hold your head up and know this...you're an amazing, bright, insightful, thoughtful, perceptive person who just handles social situations a little bit differently.
And last, but certainly not least, to those folks that love us regardless of our introverted-ness, we thank you!
Until next time, much love and light coming your way...