Leave Me Alone…Sometimes.
Options. They are crucial to success and fulfillment in so many of life’s endeavors. While there is evidence that having too many options at any given time can actually lead to a bit of mental paralysis, making decision making more difficult, my guess is that most would rather deal with the difficulty of having too many options, than that of having none.
As an introvert, I like to have options. The option to stay home. The option to go to small gatherings as opposed to huge ones. The option to behave in a quiet, laid back and removed manner on the occasions I do attend large, noisy gatherings. The option to recharge in the way most appropriate for me. (That term “recharge” comes up a lot in discussion of introverts, have you noticed that?)
I again emphasize the word, “option”. I have the desire and the right to make choices as an introvert that are healthiest, most enjoyable, and most comfortable for me. Yet the choices are mine, and when I am deprived of them, I can feel just as frustrated as the next man. (Or any extrovert.)
There are in fact times I prefer to not be alone. I attempt to rectify this, by inviting people over to my rural home. Or I ask people to join me for a movie in the nearby city. Even an introvert has times they’d rather not be alone.
If you know this blog, you know by now that those invitations are almost never accepted. Three times in the last month alone I asked my local acquaintances to do something with me, as I was not in a good place to be alone in a few cases. I was met with the usual crickets. That’s a hurtful thing at first, than it just pisses you off, frankly.
Yes, people could be busy…every single time. Or it could be I’m just not that popular. Obviously, many people find much about me that is unpleasant, or they would accept my invitations, say, at least a few times a year. I’m not sure what the issue is, but if any part of it is the underlying assumption that I want to be left alone because I’m an introvert, let’s dispel that here and now. (Though one would think that my saying on Facebook, “I’d prefer not to be alone this weekend, could someone come hang out with me, please” would have already made such a point.)
I do have to be alone sometimes. But often I am deprived of the option to be otherwise. Like any battery that is left on a charger for too long, I can get fried when I remain alone without contact for days or weeks at a time. I don’t think this is particularly unusual. Once I’m recharged, I too like being around people who appreciate me, you know. Don’t assume that because I am openly introverted that I’m lying when I say I want to do something with someone.
Nor should you assume that because I’m an introvert, I can’t be good company. You may be surprised at how worthwhile it is to spend some one-on-one time with an introvert. Don’t assume I’m going to request we do “boring” things if we spend time together. Sometimes boring is good, and there are things I won’t ever do, of course. But you won’t know what I’m willing to do if you assume my introversion means I’d rather be meditating all day. (Again, I want options, just like a real person.)
So how about we not judge the introverted based on the fact that they need alone time. When we need it, we will take it. Once we’re adults we can speak for ourselves. We can even use complete sentences. But if we haven’t specifically said we’d like to be left alone, maybe consider inviting the introverts to your stuff once in a while. I can’t promise I will go every time, but I’d like to at least have the option.
- Posted in: Introversion