I’m an Introvert! (I Whisper, Quietly, To No One)


I like you. I might even love you. I just don’t want to be around you all the time. 

I’m an introvert.

Each introvert is different. And we’re hard to get to know and understand sometimes, because, well, we might not be around a lot.

An introvert is someone who builds energy from within and lose energy when they have too much external stimulation.  They recharge by removing or reducing external stimulation and by nurturing their own thoughts and feelings.  

An introvert is not not uniformly shy, socially inept, or anti-social. But we do exist in a fundamentally extroverted world. Or at least one where extroverts – by their very generous and expansive nature – seem to be the norm. Sometimes we don’t fit in though and that can be tough. 

This is what being an introvert feels like to me: 

I feel frustrated when I explain to someone that I need alone time and she responds, “yes, I need that every once in a while.”  No not like that. That is my preferred state. I was just making casual to avoid offending you. Or make you think I’m weird. I mean, I AM weird, but not about this.
I feel sad when people take it personally I don’t want to spend time with them, or start to drift out of the conversation because my emotional battery is winding down and needs recharging.  It’s not personal.
I feel pained when people joke that I’m anti-social and hate humans just because they cannot imagine a world where everyone is not as extroverted as they are. And I love humans, that’s why I write about them for a living.
I feel claustrophobic when people ask me on Monday morning what I did that weekend, because: 

1. I hate small talk because it’s very intent is to create commonalities and bonds, except that my small talk about the weekend won’t do that, my weekend isn’t common to yours, not usually.

2. Whatever I did, usually something alone, it won’t make sense and I know you’re going pity me, quietly. It’s in your eyes.

I feel depressed when the sun comes out and I know that everyone will be playing ball of some sort or something social, together. I love rain, and I love winter. And I like being around people, just not always interacting.

I feel fake when I am making small-talk. I am very interested in you as a unique person, why do I have to pretend I’m not?
I feel lonely when I’m with a group of people and talking about nothing.
I feel nervous when my phone rings or when I have to make a phone call.  Something not being able to see the person makes me feel so disconnected. I don’t know, I don’t like phones.

I feel annoyed when people ask me to join things for the sake of being social. I’m not a joiner of things, don’t look at me like I’m causing the downfall of society.

I feel discouraged to read articles about “jobs for introverts” and it’s all stay-at-home work on your computer type things.  I’m not a shut-in, I’m an introvert.
I feel satisfied when I have a really good conversation with a a small group of people about something meaningful.

I feel nurtured reading a book alone (and by alone I mean ‘with cat’) and connecting to a completely different world and people that nonetheless feel familiar because they are human too, and we all have the same struggles. It’s the human condition, sometimes it’s just easier to expose in literature than real life.

I feel guilty because I confuse people, I am quite outgoing.  People do not realize I’m introverted and therefore, at some point, I have to let them down by not wanting to spend as much time together as they might expect.  It makes me think that I should not be so outgoing. But I cannot change that either.
I feel happy when my friends understand that although I’m not the hangout type, I can be relied on for anything big, any time, anywhere.  I’ll also remember things that matter.

I feel love when I really, truly get to know someone and they let me in. I care deeply about people because I see them deeply.
I feel inspiration in nature, reading, thinking, or my vocation – writing.


Ok. I’m going to go be alone now.  


Story Break 

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  • Pniya Martin

    Ellen, never stop writing. I love everything you write and I’m currently binge reading everything on this blog and your quora posts. I’m never missing any of your future posts.

    • Hi Pniya, I will indeed try, thank you. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it is quite difficult, only wondering if its the right thing to do. I *might* have come commitment issues. I love that you commented, contact me anytime and take care.

  • I think, people have different preferences about how much of their life’s time should be spent on what matters to them vs. what is expected by others to matter to them.

    More than that I think what you describes is related to the issue that people with different levels of giftedness, interact with each other in different levels of intesity. If you look at the issue from this viewpoint, it is clear why small talk doesn’t feel satisfying but a deep conversation even if you don’t know someone, does feel extremely satisfying.

    It organised my thoughts andmy feelings around myself to read this text. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  • Vivek

    Hello Ellen. How can I write to you and get your feedback? I have some questions for you. And they might change my course for good. I believe.
    Please kindly, kindly reply on v.n.kulkarni@gmail.com. as soon as possible.



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