What Does It Mean To Be An Introvert?

The term "introvert" gets tossed around quite a lot these days, and the sad thing is that people are using this term incorrectly, to explain why they, or someone else, are shy, snobby, awkward, anxious, or even antisocial. It grinds my gears when people interchange 'antisocial' and 'introvert', thinking that they mean the same thing: that you don't like spending time with people. WRONG. That kind of thinking is way too narrow and puts us in a bad light.

I've been called so many things, though I'm sure they meant well, by people I know. There is no end to the list of words I've been dubbed with, such as 'snobbish', 'boring', 'shy', 'socially awkward', 'antisocial', 'lonely', 'rude', 'anti-social', or even 'weird'. I've even been told that I spend too much time at home, that I need to get out more and meet new people, or even unusual for never having gone out nightclubbing. And when I try to explain what being an introvert means, they automatically link it to snobbishness or anti-socialism. Look, you can be introverted and a snob or introverted and shy, or even introverted and anti-social, but they are not interchangeable for one another. Do not wear it as a label for anxiety while you're alone, because introverts are the very opposite. We love being alone and are more likely to feel anxious in social situations than not.

The definition of 'introvert' is quite specific. It means that introverts gain energy through solitude, and become exhausted when surrounded by one or more people. We like our solitude much more than you think.

Anti-socialism is another thing entirely. In fact, antisocial people don't conform to the laws and customs of society, and they participate in activities that may be considered annoying, weird, or rude. See the difference?

I am not weird, annoying or rude. I am not shunning your friendship or company because you in particular exhaust me, it is exhausting trying to keep up. I like spending time with people, but only in small doses. I can be super affectionate with people I am close with, but please don't step into my personal space if I don't know you that well. Gatherings make me uncomfortable and close in on myself, and I always feel like my time could have been better spent at home in quiet bliss.

Are you an introvert? What do you do when people incorrectly mislabel you as something else?


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