So You're Friends with an Introvert...
"I have to go to a party tonight," I tell my mom. I say "have to" because I feel as if I am forcing myself to go.
This is supposed to be fun, isn't it? But I know deep down that what sounds best on this Friday night would be to read, write, talk, and relax in my apartment with a friend. A party blasting with wild music, drinking, and yelling until 2am is not particularly appealing for me. But I feel that I "must" go to engage in an exciting life.
I guess you could call me an introvert, and "forcing" myself to go to a party is an introvert's sad attempt to bring out the small amount of extrovert buried within them. How is anyone going to see me as a fun person if I don't at least try?
And believe me, I try. My entire freshman year consisted of encouraging myself to go to the parties every weekend. Some were a blast, but those were far and few between. Where does everyone else get their wild energy, their confidence to dance on the tables and shout obscene language into the night? I at least attempt to see if it will be worth the hassle to be a "normal" college student, but it usually ends after a few hours of looking at my watch and asking myself, Am I having fun yet?
The Power of Introverts
Extroverts are praised in our society, while those who stay home seem to be labeled as "party-poopers." Introverts lead boring lives, don't they? They don't know how to have fun, they don't know how to live...
After watching a recent TedTalk, "The Power of Introverts" by Susan Cain, I felt a new sense of pride, a feeling of empowerment for introverts. Cain discussed how introverts aren't really "boring" people that need to "buck up" and learn to have some fun. Our society just makes it sound like they don't have enough spunk in their lives. Maybe if our society saw the power and impact introverts bring to the world instead of scoffing at the fact that they miss the parties every weekend, introverts could more happily go about their business without feeling guilt or shame.
Or maybe, as an introvert myself, I need to just be proud of who I am. That way I wouldn't feel the guilt and shame. I think it comes down to feeling good about yourself, to being confident in all your introverted power. But, as usual, society makes this difficult. It's hard to have this confident mindset in a society that tells you you're missing out on life.
Introvert or Extrovert?
No one is purely an introvert or extrovert. Of course there are those times when extroverts prefer to stay at home and relax to watch a movie come Friday night. But, most people find they are more introverted or more extroverted. Actually, over the years I feel I have moved a few notches towards the extroverted end of the spectrum, but I still feel that a large part of me is introverted.
So, what's an introverted person to do when all the extroverts come together for a party? Well, there is such a thing as what I call an "introverted party."
Okay, not a "party" per say, but my ultra-introverted friend Carly and I enjoy our introverted get-togethers. This means we go to a local cafe to read and write. Even in the silence and solitude of each other's company I feel a sense of security, peace, and yes, fun. Sure, I enjoy my time alone, but as an introvert, being alone can spiral into utter loneliness.
Once in a while, we expand our introverted gatherings to a group of four when our friends Rachel and Matthea join in on the fun. We include some chit-chat in there, but for the most part, we just enjoy each others' prescence. It struck me the other day how much more excited I feel to sit in a quiet cafe to write with my friends compared to going to a loud, crazy party.
For the most part, my friend Carly avoids the partying or clubbing atmosphere. I used to think she just needed to "try harder." In fact, I adopted the same thoughts most extroverts have: You just need to let loose. You just need to have more fun. Maybe part of me just wished that I could be confident enough to do whatever I wanted to, just as she was.
I feel honored to have a friendship like this; one where I can embrace my complete introverted self because she is just as introverted (if not more) than I am. This way we can share our pleasant introverted-ness together while the extroverts party away a few blocks down the road.