What It’s Like To Be An Introvert

I see you. But I pretend I don’t.

I saw your call. But I hit ignore.

I know what to say. But I don’t know how to say it.

Words flow from my hands. But they get fumbled in my mouth.

I know the party will be fun. But I’m busy.

You think I’m shy. But I’m an introvert.

*****

Being an introvert

Somewhere along the way, being an introvert got labeled as being “shy.” As being someone who just doesn’t know how to act around other people. But in reality, it’s a personality type just like being extroverted.

All of the above are how I feel at certain times.

Because I’m an introvert.

I’m not a sheltered, timid person. I don’t talk much because I like to think before I talk.

I avoid conversations with people I know because I don’t ad lib well. I feel at a loss for words if I don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about. Starting a conversation just to start one seems terrifying.

But I want to talk to you. More than anything. I want to be able to start talking. I just don’t know what to say.

I’ve always been this way

I remember making 2 pieces of artwork in high school that reflected my personality.

One was made by covering a piece of thick carboard with all different colors of pastels and then painting over it with black paint. After it dried you would etch into the black paint, revealing the color underneath. Mine was a self portrait. Except instead of my mouth, I chose to draw a pencil. Because this is how I talked. In the background are lyrics that spoke about the power of writing.

Original artwork created by the author

The other piece was made using a photograph I developed. I used both the positive and negative images and placed them side by side to make a stark contrast. As an introvert, the way you are on the outside my be completely opposite of how you’re feeling on the inside. Then I glued the word “introvert” across the pictures. The idea was for the letters to be red, but I didn’t use enough red dye to stain them red. Hey, I was in high school art class.

Original artwork created by the author

They’re no Picassos, but I think they give some insight into what it can feel like as an introverted person sometimes.

Understanding introverts

I’m finding ways to finally use my personality type to my advantage, such as my writing. But it also helps for other people to understand.

It’s easy to shrug off an introverted person. But if you do, I guarantee they will shut down.

See when we finally share our opinion it’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to. So to be shut down or not listened to is equal to saying you don’t care what we have to say. I’m not saying this is true, I’m just saying that’s how it’s interpreted.

I think the hardest thing for an introvert is learning to be confident. At least it is for me. I write the things I do because I think the world needs to hear them. I feel I’ve been given these words to share. Finding the confidence to verbally say them is extremely difficult. But I’m learning to look to God for the affirmation my personality so desperately seeks. He is the only one that can quiet my soul.

Jason Gray, the incredible Christian singer/songwriter, totally gets this. Look at these words from his song How I Ended Up Here:

“See, I really want to be known

But I’m not quite as strong as the fear

That you won’t understand the fool that I am

And that’s how I ended up here”

This doesn’t mean I don’t like people or want to talk to them. It’s just hard. Talking to people all day would be exhausting. Going out to dinner and talking will make me incredibly tired after a couple hours.

But again, I like to do this. It just might affect me differently than some people. It doesn’t energize me. This would be the same as if you asked an extrovert to sit in a quiet room and write all day. It would drain the energy from them.

I’m writing this because I think there are plenty of people out there like me. And I want them to know it’s OK. You’re not weird. The word shy doesn’t have to define you.

For more, check out Ron Edmonson’s great posts on being introvert:

 Are you an introvert?

I would love to hear from you in the comments.

  • Vgr

    I am right there with u! I too am an introvert. As I have become older I have had to adapt to being more of an extrovert but simply saying hi is a Hugh deal in my customer service job! Thank you for sharing your art work. I think it is great :)

    • aparchedsoul

      Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you like my art work!

  • http://www.hsp-stress-relief.com Maria

    I don't adlib well either. I often feel very slow in talking with others and by the time I process what has been said it can be a long time after the initial conversation. It feels weird that I can be open to taking in so much information and also feel that I am not spontaneous at the same time.

    I like your art work. I am an artist as well.

    • aparchedsoul

      Thanks for your comment Maria!

      I know what you mean by it taking a while to process information. It's like it happens in slow motion. You know how to react as soon as you're outside of the situation. But in the moment you're not quite sure.

      Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • http://Website KKB

    This is great insight for us extroverts to understand the other side. Being married to an introvert, I’m often guilty of pushing him to situations/events/gatherings that feel normal for me. I am praying to become more respectful toward him,and appreciate his perspective more. Thanks for your post, it is a blessing to helP me understand him better, as he’s not one to write it out.

    The statements at the beginning are especially thought provoking and help me see the similarities too. I actually feel that way at times too. Reminds me how wonderfully complex each person is.

  • http://www.glitzdaleartstudios.tk/ Octavia

    I'm also an Introvert and the hardest thing for me is speaking to others and letting them see me, I'm also an artist and have been working on with Gods help to break out of the discreet mode and the lost child role I played for so long due to being in a dysfunctional family. That just made it evn more challenging for me to speak more. I feel more comfortable speaking through chats, and emails but whenever it comes to my face being seen, thats when i get a bit unconfortable, why? because I don't know what others perception of me is when they see me and I also know that how you see yourself is how others will see you. and well…….I've had some issues with seeing myself as a confident person whos willing and determined, but little by little God has been helping me see myself with more beauty, strength and acceptance of ones self. I'm also looking for a part-time work at home job I can do, so as to not only save on travel cost to work but also to be in the comfort of my home basically.

    I just am always quiet and feel out of place and awkward when around others, I also by noticing how much I'm writing hehehe that I always have a lot to say when saying it on comments and such, I even have my own blog on my website that has all the things I want to share with others and talk about that I can't seem to find to speak to about offline. In some way though it's ok because I've been speaking to God about them and also writing about it in journals and a little bit on my blog. Ok obviously this has nothing to do with whats being spoken about, heheheh, sorry guys. I guess I just wanted to be heard.

    • aparchedsoul

      Hi Octavia,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I know what you mean. Sometimes we want to experience the world without having to be there to represent our ideas. But you\’re absolutely right that being uncomfortable with others is a sign we\’re uncomfortable with ourselves. And that\’s my struggle as well.

      Thanks again. By the way, I looked at your site and you have some really nice paintings. Keep it up.

      -Grayson

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  • themoomin

    I love this!

    I spent many years of my youth thinking I was just an oddball. Often being called a recluse, a hermit, or just plain antisocial. In secondary school, I had grades knocked off because I didn’t speak, but had a great understanding of the subject and performed well on tests, say what?!!?! I have a tiny handful of very close friends, rarely go out to meet new people, and when I need to go out of my place of peace (home), I feel agitated. Talking to people is not difficult, but oh so exhausting. It doesn’t stop there, too much sensory stimulation also drains me (for example when the gardeners are out using leaf blowers for over an hour, or too much light/flashing noises). Also true for the phone calls, I’d rather let the person leave a message, and I return the call when I’m ready to speak.
    My mind and thought patterns work far better through words/fingertips than what I plan over and over again in my head before verbalizing what I want to say (only for it to come out as a jumble). This is why I like writing so much. It’s unfortunate that many people see introverts recharging as depressed people. They often think that they need saving. This is so not true.
    I secretly knew I was introverted in my late teens/early twenties, but only now, in my thirties am I really discovering the true depth of my introversion, and guess what? I’m none of the above, I’m just an introvert! It does make friendships/relationships difficult at times though, and I’ve turned to emailing/writing notes to my partner with things I want to say when they are difficult for me to verbalize them. He’s also just gotten used to me just simply shutting down when I am mentally and emotionally drained… often to the point where I can no longer speak. Initially, he used to take these things personally, but now, he understands I just need to recharge to get back to my awesome self :). One of the worst things being an introvert, as you know, is being called SHY! Oh, and when another person asks if you’re all right when you need recharge time…
    Hoorah for self-discovery.