Many people have many different definitions of the term “introvert.” I like to think of it in terms of the classic definition: a person who gains energy by spending time alone. In this sense, I am a classic introvert. I refuel by plugging in my headphones or reading a book or writing in my journal or spending a few hours in the art studio. Personally, I hate the other common definition of introvert; the one that says that all introverts are shy and don’t like to be approached. That is SO not me. I don’t think that anyone, ever, has described me as a shy person. It’s very easy for me to meet new people and I do enjoy the occasional small talk. However, when I hang out with large crowds I get tired easily and long for my future alone time so I can again refuel.
The other part that I would include in my definition of the classic introvert is someone who doesn’t like to fight for another person’s attention. This is the main reason that I really don’t prefer to hang out with people in groups much larger than three. When groups get big, instead of feeling as though I am a worthwhile, active participant in the conversation, everything that I say feels forced. I end up feeling as though I am fighting other people to make my thoughts heard. When I’m just one on one with someone- or even two on one- I feel much more comfortable and as though what I’m saying matters. I don’t feel as though I have to yell or say something incredibly absurd or intelligent or hilarious to be acknowledged. There’s less pressure to say the right thing and the atmosphere is much more, for lack of a better word, chill.
I think that my dislike of competing for attention is one of the main reasons why technology drives me crazy. My friends call me the “hippie child” because I can happily go for hours without my phone (they don’t like it because it means they can’t reach me and, in this day and age, everything is an emergency and needs to be shared immediately). When I’m having a conversation with someone and they have their phone out- maybe they’re scrolling through Instagram or checking their email- I feel inferior to this inanimate object; there is this other world that they are choosing to be a part of instead of being enraptured by my every word. A phone is a hard thing to compete with. Everything is new, everything is interesting. How can I possibly compete with that?
All in all, I am very content with being a hippie child introvert. I know what (and who) makes me happy and I usually do an okay job at providing myself with the time alone that I need.