There’s still this bizarre misconception floating around that introverts are inherently people-hating, shy, hermits (which, ok, is maybe partly true). In addition, society unintentionally clumps anxiety, depression, and introversion into one personality, when, in fact, introverts do not necessarily struggle with those issues. Granted, when anxiety and/or depression are present, the individual may appear to be “more” introverted. But, the modern definition of introvert has shifted to merely mean that the introvert is energized by spending time alone, rather than going out and having a good time with larger groups of people. For example, by the time I get to Friday, the concept of leaving my cozy apartment to interact with other two-leggers is practically nauseating. Instead I’d rather Netflix with my cats, eat some cereal, and head to bed early where I fall asleep reading the book that happened to be on top of the massive book pile by my bed.
As you might imagine, relationships—both platonic and romantic—tend to be more difficult for introverts to navigate. Often times, introverts have to push themselves a tad further down the spectrum towards extroversion to even meet people. Although we dearly love our animals and books, it is human nature to still long for connection with other humans. Prior to what society might tell you, introverts still get lonely.
So what do we do? We gravitate towards other individuals that, on the spectrum of personalities, are more introverted than extroverted. Of course, we all interact with extroverts on a daily basis, but generally we lean towards becoming friends with people like us, and who will understand us. The amount of people we’ve bonded with because we both are introverted and love cats clearly shows we have it down to a science. What better way to hang out than to watch a movie on a Friday evening with a friend who won’t bemoan the fact that the two of you aren’t out on the town? Drink some wine, make some brownies, and settle in to watch the week’s movie pick.
Romantic relationships are a whole ‘nother beast, because generally you have to mingle with humanity to meet other potential partners. When we’re swamped by work or school, the last thing we want to do is go out on a blind date, meet that person we’ve been chatting with on okCupid, or head to the dreaded crowded, loud bar. If we’re lucky, the universe puts someone on our path that is willing to meet our introverted souls where we’re at, and doesn’t push us to be someone we’re not.
In the workplace, we’ve learned that either we become more assertive, or we’ll be treated as life’s doormat by idiots. Personally, I’ve had people in the workplace express surprise when I say that I’m an introvert because all they see is a colleague that is strong-willed and friendly (albeit a bit quirky). This isn’t terribly surprising given that they aren’t around to see me collapse on my couch at the end of the day. Oh, work is having an office Christmas party? Have fun without me and I’ll leave my gift on the table. Sorry not sorry.
Holidays might make us cringe, because it means that loads of family that we never talk to will be gathering around to pelt us with questions. Do I want to talk about my personal life? No. How is manfriend? Ask him. Am I going to church? Does my face look like I want to talk about this right now? What is my ten-year plan? I just try to make it from paycheck-to-paycheck, bitches. Bloody nosey smalltalk.
All in all, relationships are challenging because it requires us to spend time with other people. So consider yourself #blessed if we take the time to invest in you. You’re one of the brave few that made the cut.
Are you an introvert? What relationship challenges do you face and how do you deal with them? Comment below or tweet us @litdarling!