Irony of Introvert Guilt: You Can Beat It
Many introverts I speak with, particularly prospective clients, are
relieved to know it’s really okay to be an introvert. In the business
world or even in personal life in, being around what can seem like
mostly extroverts, we can feel alone, even alienated. The guilt of not
being able to fit into extroverts ways can often lead to either extreme
isolation or going overboard being something we are not. I know because
I’ve done both. One of my ezines for caregivers, another life situation
I am in, inspired this post for me. My experiences may be helpful to
help you beat any guilt you have about being an introvert.
Enjoying life on the water.
There were a number of years where my husband and I enjoyed traveling the Chesapeake Bay in a 43 foot trawler named Half Fast. It was perfect for my style: it would only go about 8 knots, that’s about 8 miles per hour, at top speed and plenty of room for privacy even with another couple. The dilemma was, Half Fast also a party magnet. When docked at any marina with a high probability of knowing someone after about 15 years of boating, our boat became the one of choice to host the party or hook up to for the party.
Try to be an extrovert.
Early on in trawler life, without all the attention, we would host small, just four of us, quiet dinner or wine cruises. These were always satisfying as the other couple were close friends and the conversations were deep and interesting. We also would be playful and find time for games that got us engaged with charades and sketching ideas. Then Half Fast grew in attention. I became an extroverting introvert, keeping up with conversations going long into the evenings while hanging around the docks with dozens of people.
Frustration leads to disaster.
Then one weekend afternoon, out of frustration in not being able to find that quiet place with 20 or more people hanging around on the deck, I shut down conversations even with my close friends. I’d hide out in the cabin away from everyone, even at times resorting to the head. It was disastrous, prompting one very good friend to talk with my husband. She was worried about something being seriously wrong with me.
Beat the guilt.
Regardless of the social situation you find yourself in as an introvert, it’s all too easy to be gripped by guilt even though, there’s really no need to feel guilty. We are who we are and we must be perfect as we are being put here by God: God doesn’t make mistakes. It was a long time coming but then I gradually, as the evening unfolded, let friends know, “Hey, I’m just an introvert so I’ve had enough for today, good night.” All always prearranged with my wonderfully, wildly extroverted but understanding husband.
Be true to yourself:
– Recognize that introverts can be social but not in a marathon way.
– Understand that using your social skills is for any temporary situation or event.
– Find your way of letting people know when it’s time for you to retreat.
– Appreciate what you bring to each relationship in meaningful conversation, being a listener and depth of your relationship, because your friends do appreciate you.