Eid time is over. The festivities, banquets, social gatherings, chit-chats, small talks are now done. OVER. I know for some it really sucks to go back to work but for introverts like myself, it feels like the holidays have just begun! Don’t get me wrong. I love people…ok, like people…just not ALL the time. Social situations literally drain me. And now I feel the urge to go lie on a couch and not talk about anything for a couple of hours, just to recharge after those long days of running after my kids in public places and almost-strangers’ homes, wiping candy off their sticky mouths and hands.
There are many misconceptions about introverts, that they’re mostly shy hermits who hate being around people but that’s just not true. Unlike outgoing people who get their buzz from chatting and socializing with others, introverts crave some time alone to unwind and relax. It’s hard for people to understand this need, especially partners and family members. It’s even harder for an introvert to explain that he/she’d really like to be left alone in a polite and non-offensive way. Unfortunately, telling someone that you don’t feel like going out again with the same people within the same week is almost always offensive. I’ve had all sorts of arguments with my significant other about not wanting to go out or visit people when I’m tired or feeling off. It just doesn’t help to be in other people’s company then. On the contrary, it aggravates the pressure and raises my level of discomfort. But it’s really not about the persons but about my inability to carry out the same conversations with the same robustness and cheer. And I honestly dislike to be half-present just to please everyone but myself. When that happens, it’s usually my cue to take a step back and enter introvert mode.
This sort of “recovery” phase is when I feel the most creative and energetic. After I write a few pieces and get that negative energy out of my system, I feel ready to venture into a world mainly populated by chatty loud extroverts again. It’s funny how most people don’t consider “me-times” as remedial periods (excepts burned-out moms, of course!). Whenever one would feel stressed or depressed, the number one advice they’d receive would be to “go out and see people”. Perhaps that’s why caving is frowned upon in our society.
Regardless, I believe that no matter how threatening this trait could be to one’s friendships and relationships, it can only be managed through acceptance. An understanding spouse, best friend, parent or coworker might just be the cure for an introvert who struggles with social situations. Taking things personal would only make matters worse. So if you have that kind of friend who doesn’t show up to many of the social events they’re invited to, or doesn’t connect as often as you’d like them to, perhaps it would help if you’d inquire further about their reasons before labeling them as anti-social or awkward. Perhaps they don’t even have reasons, but would much rather meet you up in a quiet coffee shop – just you not your five other friends from work. If that person means a lot to you, you’d figure out a way to round those corners in your friendship and enjoy your time together. It takes some effort to drag an introvert out of their cave or temporarily turn off that switch but you’ll do all it takes when you know that they’re worth it.