Let’s talk about getting more comfortable with being introverted, as I turn a year older today.
This post finds you on my birthday, the 10th of March or after and therefore, I am definitely another year older and am supposed to be, another wiser. That aforementioned wisdom is precisely what I will bring to your notice today and talk about in this very special birthday blog post(Am I too old if I cringe calling my own birthday “special”?)
Full disclosure: I know these are very first world ‘struggles’. I think it is still awesome to feel more comfortable in your skin, even if it is something quite minor, so, here we go.
I was always an introvert. Ever since I can remember, really. I was the shy kid who grew into a reserved teen who is now the “selectively-social” adult before you. It wasn’t something I felt super comfortable with or happy about though, as a child. It was hard being so shy when being social came so naturally to other people. I was always happier with my books, to sit and get lost in imaginary worlds rather than being around other people.
I completely get why I was uncomfortable, now that I can look back as an adult. It is an extrovert’s world and people who are naturally confident and social are the ones who thrive in it. That was true then and it is true now. It is a bit of a controversial take, but I stand by it. As I grew older, the reading stayed as my escape but I worked on breaking out of my bubble. I tried really hard to fit in and even eventually found myself in the “popular” group as a teen.
As you might have guessed, it didn’t magically make me happier and if anything, putting on this act of being hyper-social was exhausting. I eventually burnt out and couldn’t keep up, dropping from the popular group to my standard 1-2 friends, a.k.a what I could manage. It didn’t mean I was upset, in fact, having a few close friends is usually where I’m happiest. You’d think I’d learn from my experience but guess what, (oops) I did it again. (Look at me sneaking in that Britney reference, are you impressed, yet?)
When I started at university around 4 years back( I graduate this year!), I once again felt that pressure to be happening and put on that act of extroversion, for how else would I have the kind of college life we see in movies or tv shows? And once again, it worked for a while. I was popular and I had many “friends” but I was completely and utterly burnt out from having to keep up this facade. It is a precarious road to take, indeed.
You can guess what happened. I eventually couldn’t keep up and was left with my singular best friend, just the way I like it. (Let’s have a show of hands to see who is surprised. No one, right? ) The only difference is that this time, the message really sunk in: I was not an extrovert and no amount of faking was going to make me one. It doesn’t mean I was happy about it, just that this was the undeniable truth.
Now, I write to you, as a much older 20-something who is ready to leave college, already starting my first job and am by all comparisons, pretty grown up. It took lockdown and a pandemic for me to really understand that my introversion was not only a personality trait I had but it was one I had found pride and comfort in, finally. I am okay with not having that happening, social, popular kid life. I am okay with having only a handful of really close friends over many not so close ones. I still love the escape reading brings. I am genuinely completely, perfectly okay with being an introvert. I daresay I’m actually happy about it.
This is not saying that there is anything wrong with being extroverted. If you are one, more power to you! It was amazing being one, even if I was just faking. You can feed off other people and seem to have an unlimited social battery, how fantastic is that! To have the ability to be the life of a room or a party is such a talent; go you! All I’m saying is: I found comfort in my introverted nature only in the last year.
That is not to say that all my efforts over the years to “fix” myself or “fit in” went to waste. Working on my shyness has made me better at talking to new people and my communication skills are one of the first things that are noticeable about me. Trying to be more confident has also in a way, worked. It may not work for extroversion but I promise you, the ‘fake it till you make it’ formula totally works for feeling and being more confident. I found my passion for engaging with people(one on one only, sorry for my crowd-phobia) through my efforts to better myself. And, I truly believe that in many ways, I did better myself.
Also, this might be a good time to sprinkle in a little anecdote so, here we go. I managed to overhaul my personality to such an extent that now, people who have just met me almost always assume I’m extroverted. Not the end of the world, but it is quite hilarious and what I imagine is a rude awakening or them when they realise I am as far from an extrovert as you get!
I feel so ecstatic about being comfortable with my introversion, finally. The guilt of wanting to be alone Netflix-ing or not want to go to parties or just anything and everything social is gone; just because I accepted myself. I am writing this post because I believe my birthday is the perfect day to talk about learning to love myself more as I grow up but more importantly, it is the post I wish I had read when I was younger.
To know I wasn’t alone, to know that it will be something I will be okay with eventually and to just find comfort in who I was; I think it would have made a real difference and I hope to be able to make that for someone through this post. Either way, it is lovely to be more comfortable with who you are and I hope you get to feel the same way for as long as possible. Have a good day, everyone!
THIS POST’S QUESTION: Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Comment below with what you think about it, I’d love to hear from you!