Thursday, August 16, 2007


shy dog
I am by nature an introvert. It’s something I battled with growing up. Both my parents and my brother were extroverts, “life and soul of the party” kind of people, so I felt rather odd by comparison. I grew up feeling that being introverted was a handicap, a problem I needed to get over, a weakness in my character.

So what did I do? I married an extrovert and produced a couple of extroverted children! So here I am, once again, surrounded by extroverts, who are always encouraging me to be more sociable, to have people around, to go to this or that social function…. Once again I feel that my introverted nature is a weakness, a handicap. I also feel... guilty. Guilty, because I have this sneaking suspicion that I should be making more effort to socialise, for the sake of my family.
I have a small group of friends that I love dearly and I prefer to socialise within this small group; my family are more of the “a stranger is just a friend you don’t know” ilk. Truthfully, I can think of nothing worse than standing around, making small talk with a bunch of people I don’t know, the mere thought leaves me in a cold sweat - my family thrive on this kind of social interaction. Are you beginning to see the nature of my problem??

This whole conundrum has got me wondering to what degree I should accept my character and my natural inclinations and to what degree I should stretch myself and force myself to grow beyond my natural make-up, by doing things that are outside of my comfort zone?

I have accepted that I am an introvert, it is how I was made and I am quite comfortable in my skin. But should I be? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
Photo by miguelb


Tammy said...

I was always an extrovert but my disability made me be more of an introvert and I find it a better fit at 45. Go with your natural flow! :)

Kerri said...

I can relate! Though the only true extrovert in the family is the 3 year old, Jake (and he waves and says hello to everyone, everywhere!), most of my friends are extroverts and always seem to want to get together in groups of 10 or more! Overwhelming and stressful for me. I've gotten to the point where I'm like, "I'll pass on that event, but I'd love to get together with one or two friends at a time." I function much better that way and am more fun to be around, I think. I do the occasional big event, but try to come up with more activities that involve just a few people. Though I'm also so afraid of offending by leaving someone out that I end up overinviting, anyway! I'm guessing this was not useful to you at all. :P

Yolanda said...

I too can so relate. I am an introvert too.Really enjoyed visiting your blog and will be back

Tori said...

Hello from a fellow introvert who also married an extrovert!
I really enjoyed 'The Introvert Advantage' by Marti Laney.
It is a great read for introverts and the extroverts in their lives.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

oh Gill! Be true to yourself...if the extroverts want to go then let them go off and spend time alone cultivating your introvert. Sometimes I am an introvert, sometimes an extrovert but I think the later is forced on me somewhat because I move all the time and have to be in order to make a few close friends.

Kerstin said...

I don't think anyone should try to be something they are not. It is actually a great comfort to know that you are an introvert because now you can stop wondering whether you should be different. From the blogs that I am reading there are quite a few introverts out there, all of them very creative souls and occasionally also wondering whether they should be more outgoing. The really good thing about approaching your 40s is that this is an age where you can do what feels comfortable to you, rather than what is expected of you. Embrace yourself.

Gill said...

Thanks so much for your comments. It is encouraging to read how many of you suggest that to follow my natural inclination is probably a good thing. I will definitely look that book up Tori. Tammy and Kerstin both mention age and I do feel that I am more comfortable with myself as I get older - one of the few benifits of ageing!

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