Dealing with an Over-Spent Introvert

This world is an extrovert’s world. We are encouraged to socialize, to party, to go for coffee, to attend school, to work. It seems that almost constantly we are being encouraged to be around people, but not all people are designed to live that way.

People often look at extroverts as being outgoing, friendly, and social, while introverts are looked at as shy, antisocial, and awkward. It’s not quite that simple. In reality, extroverts are simply those who are energized by being with people, while introverts find themselves drained spending time with people. An extrovert is tired out by staying home alone, they want to be “doing”! An introvert needs that recharge time alone or else they burn out, and that is not an option that’s always given to people.

Many students work at least one job while attending school full time. They have work, school, friends, family, homework, and regular life-tasks to deal with. For an extrovert this can be tiring but invigorating. For an introvert this can equate complete burn out.

I am an introvert, a relatively social introvert, but an introvert. I am quite happy to chat with people, to hang out with friends, and to speak up in class, but if I have to go straight into doing something else without some time to recharge I frequently find myself plagued by headaches as I grow crankier and more antisocial. As my stream of social energy is rapidly depleted I recoil into myself like a wounded animal, striking out at those who attempt contact.

Extroverts rarely seem to understand this feeling and can often make things worse by trying to “talk it out”. Here are some tips for when dealing with your dried up Introvert:

  1. Talk as little as possible. Your Introvert doesn’t have much energy to listen right now. This may sound silly, but it’s true. Listening can take a lot of energy that simply isn’t there to use.
  2. Gently check when the last time your Introvert ate or drank was. They may be dehydrated or hangry (hungry-angry) as well as over-spent. Grab them some water or a snack and leave them to it.
  3. Leave them alone. Seriously, just do number 2 and leave. Your Introvert is not angry at you, they’re not needing help or counselling, they just need some time. Wait for them to come back to you because they will. They’ll sheepishly slink back over in half an hour or so, after an episode of T.V. or a chapter of their book, or they’ll bounce back into the room after a nap as if nothing ever happened. This is okay, this is normal. This is dealing with an Introvert.
  4. The most important thing about dealing with your Introvert is, don’t try to make them become an extrovert. They can’t, this is how their mind works, and that is alright. If they’re drawing back from a group chat, let them go. They may just need to listen from the sidelines and gather their strength for the next round. Let them take their time outs, let them have their quiet car rides when they need them.

As an Extrovert, you don’t have to necessarily have to fully understand your Introvert’s perspective, but with a little bit of consideration, you can help.

For more help in understanding your Introvert, check out Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted! (It has pictures!)

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The Cataclysmic Commuter Competition

Today I hung out with school friends outside of school. I feel like this means I officially have school friends now. We had a commuters board game party at someones house and, as the title of the party would suggest, played lots of board games! and card games… and video games… Mostly just games! Technically it was called the The Cataclysmic Commuter Competition but it wasn’t reaaaaaally a competition, I mean there was no overall winner.

I got creamed in Catan – it’s been a while since I played – but it was really fun hanging out with everyone outside of school and just getting to chill =D

And I’m actually glad I went! I’m not really a big partier normally, I don’t like hanging out in large groups, it’s a little out of my comfort zone, and especially after a long day! (I had had church all morning and then worked all afternoon and then came straight to the party, wasn’t home at all). I often use that as an excuse not to hang out with people because, as an introvert, I find it often is very draining, however that’s not a good excuse and I figured, hey, this doesn’t happen very often, I need to put myself out there, stretch myself a bit! And it was very fun, 10/10, would recommend, would do again ;D

-B

Socializing? Whaaaat?

Today I actually socialized with other people my age outside of school, church, and work. This is quite an accomplishment =D I went to a young adults event with some of the young adults from my church. We went sledding and then back to someones house to play games and eat food and stuff and I was surprised. I actually had fun!

As a very intorverted person I dislike hanging out in larger groups very much. I am able to fake chattiness and stuff in groups because I understand that its part of life but I rarely enjoy it. Smaller groups I can handle. Larger groups of closer friends I can mostly handle. But often events like this happen after a work day or a school day and by then I am out of the ability to fake it and I just want to veg with a tv show or a book and not talk to another human for a few hours. Today I had the afternoon off so I stayed home and cleaned some stuff and veged a bit and then went out and had fun! Sometimes I like people.

Tomorrow however I have my first of my “long days” at school. I leave the city at 7:30am and I won’t be home until around 10:30pm. I have an early morning class and an evening class and nooooothing in between. So we’ll see how it goes! I’m in the process of reading C.S.Lewis’ Space Trilogy and I recently finished Out of the Silent Planet. I’m really enjoying it so far, it’s my first exposure to science fiction books and it’s fun!

One book down. I'm really enjoying this trilogy so far, its very interesting!

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Mum’s doing pretty well, body’s still adjusting to having a new organ so she’s still settling back to “normal” but overall she’s doing pretty well =)

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B

My New School

So post-skating soreness hit me this evening… I thought I was okay this morning, but nope, stairs could be an issue.

I start school again on Monday. The Christmas holiday hasn’t really felt a whole lot like a holiday, I had a grand total of three day offs but it was a good time and I had a school-side mental rest even if I didn’t get a full physical rest. But today I ordered my textbooks and I’m arranging rides fro school and I’m looking forward to it.

I started at a new school this September. I graduated high school in 2011, took a gap year in which I went to England (2011-2012), and then went to the University of Winnipeg for a year (2012-2013). I did not enjoy that year. At the time I was still dealing with coming out of some mild depression (I made a post about it a while ago) and I wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted to do and I didn’t like school and I literally avoided people I knew when in a “mood” while at school and actively did not make new friends. I didn’t make a single friend at school. Not one. I don’t know if that’s normal, but I feel like its kind of not… It might have been me coming from a very small school to going to a larger school; it might have been the age, post-high school can be rough; it might have been the program I was in not being what I wanted; it might have been a mix of all of those things. Needless to say as I left the university after my last exam I said to myself, “I am not coming back here again. Ever.”
And I didn’t.

The next year I did an internship program with my church which I really enjoyed and then I was once again faced with the “where to now?” problem. I ended up choosing a smallish Christian University just outside of Winnipeg. Starting there I only knew one person through some mutual friends and I think that was a benefit for me because it meant I couldn’t hide behind friends I already had, I had to put myself out there and make new friends. I also could start afresh, no one knew me, or had any preconceptions about me, I could just be me and be accepted as such, not as “how I used to be” or “how I’ve changed”, but who I am. That was really nice.

I now commute every day with new friends, I’m happy to go to school in the morning (well I don’t like actively waking up, that sucks, sleep is the bomb-diggity, but, like, I’m generally happier to face the day ;D), I enjoy walking through the school doors each day, and leaving for Christmas break last month I felt genuinely sad – I was going to miss these people!

I’ve also enjoyed my classes a lot more, being happy somewhere is a major motivator for me to work hard in assigments and stuff (but not the only motivator, some class just suck but you gotta do them, it’s a thing). In the year at the university of Winnipeg I got 4 B’s, an A-, and a C. This past semester I got straight A’s. I got to take a class on religious themes in literature and we studied The Chronicles of Narnia. We had a Narnia party.

My Narnia class is cooler than your class…

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We brought Narnia related snacks, dressed up in costumes, and watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I got marks for making and bringing a jelly roll to class.

Jelly Roll had been eaten up and bonus marks have been claimed!

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(also, yeah, I made a jelly roll this year. I baked that. By myself. I was/am really proud of it so, yeah…)

One of my friends did a year long program at this school last year and when we were talking about school stuff recently she described the school as “The place where even the most unique characters can find belonging.” and it’s so true. Everyone I’ve met there is so unique and fun and different in their own ways and yet everyone seems to fit in and be happy and be friends, we all manage to click.

I love it. I’m so happy. I haven’t felt belonging like this in a very long time. It’s nice.

-B

Alone

I don’t like being alone.

Now don’t get confused, I’m an introvert, yes, I get energized from being alone, but I don’t like being alone.

Let me explain further. I am totally cool with being alone in my room in a house full of people and I am aware that should I need human contact I can open my door and get it. I can sit on the couch and look out the window while my mum reads a book on the other couch because that’s being alone, there’s no conversation or interaction, but it’s not alone.

I don’t like being alone. When I’m totally by myself I feel like I’m starting to collapse in on myself and yet I feel no inclination to seek human contact if my “inner circle” is gone. I turn into a black hole and begin falling in and tearing myself apart until I can do nothing.

When I’m in this kind of a mood there’s only a very few people who I would want to be in contact with, my “inner circle”. People who I am comfortable being with but can still be by myself with. Mostly it’s immediate family and a couple very, very close friends. It’s like they’re my safety blanket, if I retreat too far into my mind I can snap into that connection and pull myself back into the world… I guess it’s kind of hard to explain.

I’m feeling lonely and there’s no number of youtube videos or tv episodes that can pull me back.

-B

Selfish Epiphany

I am a very selfish person.

epiphany batman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy epiphany, Batman I know! But seriously, I think the selfishness is why I get so anti-social sometimes which then I get lonely and then I stay by myself more and then I’m like “meh, well no one wants to hang out with me” and then I get depressed and it’s a never-ending downward spiral all because I’m selfish, Batman. Wait, wha-? I mean reader! But I mean, if you really ARE Batman, that’s cool too!

In my psychology class at university this year we learnt a bit about introversion and extraversion. Now I had always understood that introversion means you’re quiet and like to be by yourself, and extraversion means you quite outgoing and love being with people. This had always confused me because I’m very outgoing but I really like to be alone a lot of the time. Well this year in class I learned the real definitions. Introversion means that you get your energy from being alone, you recharge when you’re by yourself and you get drained in crowds. Extraversion is the opposite!

epiphany batman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know Batman, it’s shocking. Extraversion is feeling charged and invigorated in crowds and being kind of drained when alone, needing to hang out with friends or groups to feel energetic again.

According to this I am totally and undeniably an introvert. Put me in a crowd and I’ll probably get hyper but that is the last of my energy store burning away and then I get burnt out and sit in a corner and people-watch for the rest of the time. I actually quite dislike interacting with people in crowds because it’s just too much at once for me. For me, I’d say a good number for a good time is probably four or five people in addition to me max. My sister would at this point be all,

Click picture for full effect

But it’s just the way I am, I like being alone.

Now this leads to me avoiding doing things sometimes. I avoid going out with people in groups or otherwise, I avoid doing things that would be cool experiences and a lot of the time it’s because I feel very tired, very drained after a school or work day, when in reality, busing to meet up with them by myself with my iPod in might get me enough energy to do what I’m trying to avoid! But I’m very selfish.

epiphany batman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh look, Batman’s back.

I like to think that I’m the most important and that me feeling happy and charged by myself is just dandy when in reality I’m not thinking to the friends I’m avoiding or the things I could be learning and/or sharing with people. Just today for example, I was asked if I would be able to reprise my role as Jessie the Cowgirl and join Buzz and Woody in a mini performance at church tomorrow. My first reaction was, “oh, I’ll have been working all day, I’ll be tired, I’ll have to memorize, I’ll have to do this, I’ll feel like this, I, I, I, me, me, me…”, it’s all selfish. So what did I do? I texted a response and said, “yes, I’d love to do it!” because I want to try be less about me hiding, and more about being with others even when it makes me feel uncomfortable and makes me worried I’ll fail or do something dumb because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ll finish off with one of my favourite quotes. Now I don’t agree with all of what J.K. Rowling has said but this is good stuff,

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

So, all the best everyone, see you tomorrow!
– Becky.

EDIT: Extremebly accurate quote I just read on how introverts feel while socialializing

“Socializing is as exhausting as giving blood. People assume we loners are misanthropes, just sitting thinking, ‘Oh, people are such a bunch of assholes,’ but it’s really not like that. We just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others. It means having to perform. I get so tired of communicating.” – Anneli Rufus

I’m not saying this excuses anti-social behaviour, I just feel it really sums up how it feels to be an introvert in a crowd.