Copyright 2016 Ian J. Hunt
Published by Ian J. Hunt at Shakespir
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Table of Contents
The life of an introvert can be incredibly challenging. Even more so, when you are surrounded by extroverts, who make no effort to understand you. I know how it feels, because I go through this every day.
Everybody expects you to be something or someone, that you are not. They think, that what we do or don’t do, is beyond weird and they may even think that there is something seriously wrong with us. They do not understand, why would we spend so much time by ourselves or among the same few friends. Our very existence boggles their mind.
In this book, I will shed some light on the inner workings of introversion, share my own story and try to explain our extroverted friends, how to make the co-existence better for both sides.
What does it mean?
Introverts are the polar opposite of extroverts in every way. While the interests and entertainment of choice may differ between introverts, there is one common denominator.
The one thing that makes an introvert an introvert, is the fact that social situations drain us of energy. Prolonged stays in social situations will cause stress, which can and will start causing physical ailments. Some very common symptoms are headaches, nausea, loss of focus and exhaustion.
What makes socializing a bit of a drag, is that it doesn’t take much for our proverbial battery to drain completely, while it takes quite some time for it to recharge. Take cell phones in cold weather for instance. They don’t seem to last even a day of moderate usage. Socializing is our cold weather.
While we aren’t completely against talking to people, for many of us, small talk is something that can get incredibly irritating incredibly quickly. If you have decided to strike up a conversation with us, please be sure to have something of substance to say. “Today sure is a nice weather for a walk” will get you nowhere fast. I am outside having that walk, because the weather is nice.
These kind of approaches will often get a response along the lines of “sure” and “yeah”, but what we really think, is more in a way of “please leave me alone”.
If you would like to converse with an introvert, but don’t really know how to do it, in a manner that would leave both sides happy, just ask. We are closed books and we know it. We will be happy to let you know, what interests us, if you would only ask.
I chose video games and music as the source of energy. My family believes, that I do not have many friends and avoid public places, because playing video games made me this way. Not for one second do they believe, that it is the other way around.
I was and still am, an introvert to the core. I feel incredibly exhausted after just a few hours among people. Due to this, I kept to myself in elementary and middle school and I experienced a lot of bullying during most of my school years because of this. This made me very wary of people and taught me to distance myself from them even further.
This distance meant, that I had nearly no chance to practice talking to people. When a rare occasion of someone being in my general vicinity actually occurred, I did not know what to say or how to say it. It is not that I didn’t know anything, nor was I speech impaired. I could write stories, poems and songs off the top of my head, without having to think much. When I had to come up with something to say to a stranger however, I froze up.
I still craved for the companionship and I needed someone to talk to, so I decided to seek out online games. When I interacted with other players, I was able to share my thoughts and feelings with someone, without having to pretend to be something I was not. All they knew about me, was my screen name. It felt a lot like writing another story.
While I am much better at talking to people face to face these days, I still love and enjoy video games. I can be myself and when I am holding the controller, I get to visit faraway galaxies, meet extraordinary people, drive a racing car and pilot a jet fighter – all this comes at quite a bargain (take me to the Moon for less than 100 bucks and we can talk about that).
The music that often accompanies the games, is another thing that makes it so worthwhile. Music is a massive part of my life. In fact, I wouldn’t be here, to tell you this story, if it wasn’t for the music.
The music and my imagination (that in large part has developed due to gaming) have the power to take me to incredible places. I can phase out and wander around in my own world whenever I please. Music is what keeps me going.
What should you do?
You might be wondering, what was the point of my story. If you are an introvert like myself, then you most probably understand, but if you are someone trying to understand the introverts a little better, please read on.
The matter of fact is, we are introverts, because we are introverts and we do not do anything without a good reason. We go outside, because there is something we’d like to do. We read books, because they speak to us. We play video games, because they let us explore things otherwise not accessible to us. Most importantly however, we only speak if we have something to say.
More often than not, what may seem to you like an unhealthy addiction, could in fact be his or her only way of solace and peace. It may be the only thing between the life and afterlife of someone you care for.
Ask yourself: Does someone you know, spend a lot of time playing video games, seemingly wasting their lives away? Do you only ever see them wearing their earphones, tuned out of this world, like they want nothing to do with it? Does it feel to you, like it’s an addiction that you need to “help” them with, for their own good?
Before you do anything drastic, please take a step back and have a good look at their life; their behavior. Pay attention to what they say and how they say it, because the things I mentioned above are often not the symptoms, but the result of something worse. Perhaps your son is being bullied at school and he is afraid to tell you about it for one reason or another. It is likely that your daughter is going through very rough time in her life and she simply hasn’t found the support she needs elsewhere.
Do not hurry to take away what comforts them. Try and get closer to them by showing genuine interest in life and well being.
Even more important is to understand, that we cannot be changed and you shouldn’t want to. Instead, learn to co-exist with us and cherish the times we decide to let you into our world. After all, if everyone was an extrovert, this world of ours would be one very unattractive and uninteresting place.
About the Author
Ian J. Hunt has written into his drawer for the better half of his life. Having shared some of these writings with a small audience before, the received feedback has encouraged him to publish his work to a larger audience.
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The life of an introvert can be incredibly challenging. Even more so, when you are surrounded by extroverts, who make no effort to understand you. I know how it feels, because I go through this every day. Come along as I explain introversion the way I see it.