Friday, March 15, 2013

Being an introvert, in an extraverted wold


Being an authentic introvert is not always easy. I still have to deal with guilt, pressure, and expectations that come with being part of a family and community. 

As an introvert, I need more time alone doing nothing. I need time to disengage. Because I work in a business which requires A LOT of human interaction, when Friday comes, all I want to do is forget the world exists. To some this might sound as a selfish behavior, to me however, it is a physical necessity. 

When the dealings with people are ample and the time alone minimal, my body starts getting sick. My thought process gets scattered and I have a hard time concentrating. I also start to feel so depleted of energy, I feel as though I will fall like an empty sack. 

So, why do I feel guilty for my need to be alone? According to the authors of Please Understand Me, Kiersey and Bates claim that introverts feel like ugly ducklings who can never be swans because they have lived their lives believing that they ought to be more sociable. Because of this guilt, introverts usually don’t allow themselves the kind of breathing room they desperately need to thrive. (Source)

In my case, however, not giving myself the breathing room I need is not an option. I just get stuck on my tracks like a mule, huffing and puffing in pure anger and do what my body needs... followed by an overwhelming feeling of guilt for not sacrificing a few hrs. of my day to social interaction.

How do you deal with your need for "time-off" and the pressures to be social?

40 comments:

turquoisemoon said...

Meditate!!! Love your coasters...

Adam said...

cute coasters

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'm an introvert and My Rare One is an extrovert. We have to negotiate constantly about alone time versus social time. It can be difficult but so far, it's all worked out. But we still have our fights about it!

Cristiane Marino said...

Oi Ana,

Sabe, não gosto desses rótulos "introvertido" e "extrovertido", acho muito redutivos, meio coisa de americanos, que gostam de classificar tudo, colocar todo mundo numa caixinha...
Ninguém é uma coisa só.
Como diz Adelia Prado: "Sou uma legião."
Eu simplesmente ADORO ficar sozinha. Ficar em silêncio com meus botões...Não me obrigo a sair, nem a frequentar eventos sociais se não tiver vontade (e quase sempre não tenho).
Posso ficar dias assim, sem nenhum problema.
Seja você mesma, fique à vontade...
Bjs

Gloria in CA said...

Hi Anna. I love what you did with the little canvas. I'm going to do that too. It's a great idea to let the paint flow ever so slowly. You know....when I think of it, I'm a loner. I pick what friends or associates I have. It's always me and my husband and our family pet members. I don't feel guilty about spending so much time with myself. I like myself, because I'm a funny type of gal, always making jokes and laughing at my mistakes. Eh! I love life, me, myself, and I.:) Have a great weekend. Be Happy and please yourself.

Elena said...

Completely understand. I'm an introvert and used to deal with groups of people for 10hrs a day when I was working. I craved alone time and without it would get physically ill after running myself down. Now I get the time I need but it's taken my extrovert hubby and stepsons a long time to understand I'm not truly being a "witch" when I don't take part in all the family beer fests. I think I'm coming close to reaching a point where I don't feel I need to explain or make excuses. Love the coasters!

Sofia said...

I quit being a friend to many friends and only have one girl friend now, the rest of socializing is on-line and some family. And working from home is a blessing!

foxysue said...

Through my life I have realised gradually and to my own detriment sometimes that the way I am built is I have to 'switch off' periodically, or I go into automatic melt-down. This is not an option but a requirement! My close family can sometimes see the warning signs a glazed look comes over me! I have learned to work with this over the years. When I was younger I used to feel 'guilty' about many things, perceived expectations from others, now I rarely feel guilty about anything. Self love, care, gentle acceptance..... you know! x

Nadia said...

I gave up the pressure to be social a long time ago, it gets me very grumpy when people force me in those situations and I have a very supporting family that allows me time in my studio. And I don't give a dime about people not understanding me, people with intellect and a heart accept you for who you are.

NatashaMay said...

Honestly, the most social interaction I get is through internet. :) From time to time I think to myself I should get out more but then why should I if I don't feel like it. I'm ok where I am. I do what I want, I'm not bored and I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I love what you did with the tiles. :)

Kyra Wilson said...

Since I work at home, that's a nice perk, but even then sometimes it's hard with my family. They often fall into the socializing category too, and with two teenagers who actually WANT to be around their parents, the guilt of turning my back on that even for an hour is devastating.

So, I don't take that time alone. If I get it during the day because of school, I'm lucky and I try to cherish that. Going out into the public often beyond my home stuff, is draining. I do it, but my body shuts down after a while (in an exhausted sort of manner) and I just... exist.

I guess that's my answer. I just exist. The truth is the world IS based on social interactions to make it work. My coping skills with that are not stellar (or I'd be thinner! Sheesh!) :)

Sherri B. said...

You have described my past week to a "T". We had company and, as much as I enjoy guests, when they leave I'm physically exhausted and mentally drained. I'm happy to have the weekend to be solitary and replete my energy. I have a very understanding husband who "gets" me, so I'm lucky that way. Very cool coasters!

gigihawaii said...

As a retiree, I spend a lot of time by myself, meditating and contemplating. When hubby comes home for dinner or spends his free time with me during weekends and holidays, I always feel refreshed enough to enjoy his company.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I'm very comfortable with myself at this point in my life, and I don't feel as guilty about withdrawing as I used to. I have a brother who is an extreme extrovert and I grew up in his shadow. It was hard back then (yes, it's like being the ugly duckling), but I see it differently now. I'll have to write about that at some point.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I don't think it sounds selfish at all! We all need our alone time and our "me time".

Kathy, PaperPumpkin said...

Oh my goodness, it's like I wrote this...about me! Ten hours a day, at work, I have to be talkative and socially perfect...it exhausts me beyond measure and I am daily filled with some sort of dread. Sometimes it seems that no one understands. I need my space. I need quiet. I need no outside expectations. For a while. Oh, Ana, thank you for sharing this and understanding...and knowing. I go into my very own Creativity Room and do art journaling or just Nothing. I hit Overload, but am empty at the same time...funny, isn't it?

aimee said...

Understood. Every word. xo

aimee said...

p.s. I did the alcohol ink coasters a few years ago and did a tutorial here if you want a few more tips on how to make them. super easy, so much fun, and a very, very wonderful project for introverts :)))

http://artsyville.blogspot.com/2010/01/fun-with-alcohol.html

alteredstatesstudio said...

love your coasters!! i had bought some, but, have not done anything with them yet....you have inspired me to dig those out! happy down time!

Francie M said...

Lovely blog and those coasters are beautiful! It is much easier to fing alone time once you are retired, in fact sometimes it means too much alone time. I think you are doing a great job of raising awareness and understanding, Ana!

Hwee said...

It's extremely challenging, I think, to balance the family's need to be with us and our need as introverts to be alone. I feel the challenge all the time! Sometimes I dream of disappearing into the middle of nowhere, but that's not going to happen any time soon. I just 'steal' moments here and there to be quiet and by myself.

Sulky Kitten said...

I have periods when I'm up for interacting and being very social, then I go into hibernation to recover. I would feel very pressured if I had to constantly be "on" for other people. I like to spend time just pottering around at home and spending time reading and resting.

Riot Kitty said...

I swear you and I are the same person. It took a long time for me to realize and accept that I am an introvert - I just give myself the space and alone time I need.

Cristiane Marino said...

Oi Ana,

Fiquei curiosa sobre você, quando disse que é judia.
Eu não sou, mas tive ligação com a comunidade israelita de São Paulo porque eu e meu marido trabalhamos no hospital israelita por muitos anos, fiz vários amigos, fui a muitos casamentos e bar mitzvas (festas judaicas são lindas demais), e estudei um pouco a Cabala. Dei muitos plantões no Yon Kipur, para cuidar dos idosos e de outras pessoas que passassem mal durante o jejum.
Você é brasileira também? Como foi parar nos EUA?
Desculpe se estou sendo indiscreta, meu interesse é só porque gosto de você pelo que mostra de si no blog, mesmo sem te conhecer pessoalmente.
Bjs e ótimo final de semana

Ariel said...

Love what you have done with the alchohol inks on the coasters.So brights and colorful

Em said...

This is such a complex topic for me. I always appreciate when you talk about this and let me stop and think about it.

Thank you.

Ileana said...

Interesting and I get you. Even though I like being around people, I need to be alone at times to refuel and that takes some planning. Somehow I don't feel guilty about it and that's possibly because I don't have to fight for the alone time; it's there when I need it. I work in a small ALF and I don't always have to be there. I can work from home on som afternoons and I can get away (for the most part) just about any time. I think it helps having freedom at work. I believe you'll find more balance with your new job but if you can't get it, again, I understand where you're coming from and how it is a physical need. I wonder where the guilt comes from because YOU come first and you're no good to others if you're not taking care of your needs...unless, of course, they imply you need to get out there more and criticize your alone time. That would irritate me.

Happy Sunday, Ana. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Laura said...

such an interesting question. in my case I am alone most of each day as I no longer work outside our home, my husband does go into the office most of the time and my youngest daughter who still lives at home is 16, drives and has her own life to live. For me, there is a desire to be social sometimes, yet social situations exhaust me. I don't feel pressured, but I do sometimes feel a little guilty about not pushing myself to get out when I can... then I remember that I must choose wisely where and when and with whom I spend the precious energy allotted each day and the guilt subsides.

pauline said...

i loved this... and i SO appreciate your comment on my past post. I will read this book and hopefully become more comfortable with being 'sensitive' to everything around me. Your paintings/coasters are gorgeous. Such beautiful colors... xox

bohemiannie! art said...

I think I'm an introvert too. I would rather be here at home than anywhere else in the world. Well, maybe the beach. I don't think of it as a negative though because I'm happy going out to meet the world once a week...or less. My granddaughters are a big part of my life so that may be why I don't feel the need for more human interaction. I'm rambling so I'll just say...Let's embrace who we are and go on.

Monica Zúñiga said...

I enjoy my self so much that it`s my best time of the day, It`s my days, my life, I also love sharing with my family, sharing with others is ocational and I never feel bad, at the end it`s your life and your ideas that you live with, not others, I never feel the need to ask for permission to be with my self to do what I love to do which is painting, maybe being an artist allows me to be this way, people are used to see us as weird humans anyway! ;D
Hugs....Moni.

Tammie Lee said...

your art is so lovely and looks as though it is fun to create.

i make sure to give myself alone time, it is the most important thing i need.

Sherry said...

I'm so glad that I no longer have to worry about fitting in and being sociable - since I left employment serveral years ago I've never looked back or been happier :)

Almost Precious said...

I think it would be impossible to isolate one's self if you have a 9 to 5 job that requires interaction with people (and most jobs do). Since this is unavoidable I truly understand your need for "down-time" and the peace and quiet of being by yourself to recharge. I wonder if even extroverts require a bit of down time ?

Magic Love Crow said...

I think you have to give yourself what you need, because if you don't, you're not going to be happy! You need your breathing room!

Jill said...

I make something for someone - that's how I deal with the pressures of wanting to be alone - yet also wanting to contribute in some way. I find myself a cozy spot, I concentrate on someone I love and then I dig into the creative process of channeling peace and silence, while creating something for someone. It always makes me feel good to give something I've made to someone I care for.

Vickie said...

Found you quite by accident. This post spoke volumes to me. I'm an introvert as well. I work in the addictions field with women in an inpatient setting. Being social is part of the job and I feel I interact more than I ever have yet people tell me I'm quiet. I just really appreciate my time alone. I like to do art work or I like to play some on-line games. I need the time to have people at arm's length, even my family sometimes til I feel like I can breathe again.

Zena said...

Being social is part of my job, but I love my time alone, quiet time with myself, so when weekend comes I am reluctant to be sociable... I need silence so much!

kari maxwell said...

I am an introvert of the extreme nature (and have been married to an extreme introvert for over 19 years). It has taken a lot of evolving in life to come to place of complete acceptance and compassion for what I need and desire. I feel fortunate enough to have a partner, too, who knows this doesn't define our relationship. I feel SO grateful to do the work I do - it's perfectly fit for me. I once read that it takes an introvert 4 hours of alone time to recharge after one hour of the otherwise. If only our culture supported this. Until then, we need to carve out the path for ourselves. Keep on keepin' on!

Jeanie said...

I love my time alone. In fact, my post today is about that. So I really get it. My job is very public and even when I am on my own time but out (like at the store or a play or a party), I am still associated with my job and talked to by strangers about it. It's hard -- you feel like you have to look reasonable and always be nicely behaved! I've learned. It's the finding time for time off that is hard -- I keep hoping that will be different when I retire later this year. Fingers are crossed.

Your tiles are amazing. What was your method/procedure? I would love to try something like that sometime!