I’m standing at the podium looking out into the crowd. “My name is Maya and I am an introvert.” While being an introvert is not recognized as a 12-step program, sometimes it feels like I have a problem. I’ve had to defend my “reserved nature” and “quietness” many times.  I’ve come to realize that being an introvert is not a bad thing. There is not something “wrong” with me…well, maybe but it doesn’t relate to my introverted nature.  I don’t know if this realization has come with age or I just got tired trying to put on the extroverted “hat.”
One third to one half of the population is considered an introvert.  An introvert is someone who gains energy from being alone.  People associate the awkward, wall-flowers at parties as the introverts but that stereotype is not accurate.  Many introverts can pass as extroverts quite easily.  There is a balance of social activity and solitude that must be met for introverts to be happy.  Introverts can go to parties and have a great time interacting with people.  The big difference is that introverts don’t go to parties intending to meet new people.  They go to hang out with the people they already know.  If you happen to meet someone new, that is great, it just is not your main goal.  Many times introverts get overstimulated and must retreat to recharge their batteries.  Getting alone time is both necessary and satisfying.  Being alone gives you time to analyze your thoughts and often sparks creativity.

Introverts often hang out with extroverts as the old adage says, “Opposites attract.”  Many successful friendships and marriages are based on the fact that the introvert can ride along with the good times of the extrovert, but can withdraw when needed.  Many times while on vacation with friends I’ve had to retreat to my room to unwind and re-energize.  The people that know me don’t get offended but realize it’s a much needed step to my well-being.

There are many reasons I like being an introvert and the main one is that I develop a deeper connection with people.  While extroverts have many social connections, introverts have fewer, but deeper connections.

Are you an introvert?  Are you reading this and seeing things in yourself?  Realize that diversity makes the world go around and embrace who you are.  The next time you are at a party, notice the extroverts partying on and jump right in….for 10 minutes and then take a break because that is all you can handle.

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