Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"It's not a choice. It's not a lifestyle. It's an orientation."

Only recently have I found myself accepting my own introversion without self-criticism or defensiveness. And yes, I am a huge introvert. I play the game well enough that I think people are often disappointed to see how much solitude I really need; I deceive them unknowingly with my social skills, the fact that I can speak to a large audience, and the fact that I'm polite enough to reciprocate small talk, finding people "where they're at" and matching them like a chameleon. But Lord, do I need my down time, and no, that doesn't make me aloof or difficult or selfish.

I had read it before, but a friend of a friend has reminded me of Caring for your Introvert, a wonderful article. Do read it!

Granted, I'm not wild about how the article paints extroverts as clods with the sensitivity of a small yapping dog; many of the extroverts I care to spend time with are thoughtful enough to Get It. But otherwise, the article has helped me to stop beating myself up if I don't want to go to a party, or if I want to leave after an hour if I do go. And when people tell me, "Oh, you're going to such-and-such a place? You should look up my friend/cousin/etc", I wilt, and that's fine. I'm not a massive failure for not being interested. Contact with new people is not a treat for me. I'm preserving myself for smaller bouts of quality time with those I care about most, or simply honouring myself by feeding on alone time, just as an extrovert might refuel by reaching for the phone.

Now, back to my cats and coffee, and wonderful wonderful ME. :-P


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