Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, we all have “friends” who we aren’t really friends with but who we think we know anyway. We choose to frown upon or look up to someone based on photos and status-updates. That girl who only posts pictures of mayonnaise and her cross-eyed cat? Clearly she’s going to die alone. We also think we know celebrities. “Beyonce’s life must be perfect.” Or, for The Bachelor critics: “Juan Pablo didn’t tell Nikki he loved her on national television so their relationship is doooooomed!” We presume. We judge. We’re assholes.
I’m guilty too. In fact, people-judging, I mean people-watching, has got to be one of my favorite past-times. People are just so damn wacko. When I was living in San Francisco, one of my favorite things to do (which will make more sense later) was park my booty on the sidewalk patio of an *insert hipster coffee shop here.* The further downtown, the better. Upon arrival of my sugar-free-nonfat-latte, I would Instagram the latte art sans filter, pull a book out of my purse as a prop, and choose a victim to analyze. I’d dream up a short story about said victim and it would include something like this: “This is gluten-intolerant Sam. Sam just got off work at The Foot Locker but is a little distracted because, at the age of 30, he just found out that an avocado is a fruit. He is looking down, leading me to believe that he hates everyone.” Next.
We even form opinions about our friends. I think it’s fair to say that most of my friends who have either had a cup of coffee with me or stood by my side at a party would believe that I am a “people person.” Unless I’m decaffeinated, I am generally in a positive mood and will sass the shit out of whoever comes my way. I don’t drink, but was told at the House of Blues, “You shouldn’t drink and drive” because apparently I looked like I was having too much fun. I was having fun. However, what most people don’t realize is that socializing eventually becomes incredibly draining for me. After a few hours of being a social butterfly, I need to recharge and reboot…on my own. As a result, I would rather spend a Friday night with a stack of books than meeting new people at a friend of a friend’s birthday party. Or with my boyfriend and some teriyaki tofu. Intimacy is my jam.
Twenty percent of Americans are introverts, and at age 25, I know that I am one of them. Subscribing to labels is so 1999 but bitch, I’m proud of my introversion. Contrary to popular belief, introverts are NOT shy nutcases who are destined for cat-lady life. Okay, well I’m not. In 2010, the American Psychiatric Association considered classifying introverts as disordered by listing it in a manual used to diagnose mental illness! Can you believe that smack talk? Please. Ya’ll, Lady Gaga is an introvert. So is the CEO of Nasty Gal, J.K. Rowling, and Albert fucking Einstein. So yes, you can be expressive, successful, AND an introvert. Nonetheless, introversion often gets a bad rap. Let me fix that.
5 Reasons Why Being an Introvert is a Good Thing
1. We’re great listeners. Having relationship problems? Are you feeling a lot of feelings? Talk to an introvert. Despite what you’ve been told, most introverts are great conversationalists when they want to be. But when it comes to small talk, save it for your pet. We value meaningful conversations.
2. We don’t make a fuss out of our birthday. When I was soon-to-be 21, my ex-boyfriend told me that my sister was planning a surprise birthday party. Yes, it was shitty that he spoiled my sister’s surprise, but what he was doing was warning me. He knew that for an introvert like myself, a surprise party is the equivalent of a horror flick. I don’t need the world to know it’s my birthday. Last year, I almost deleted my Facebook just for the 24 hours of my birthday so people wouldn’t make such a thing out of it. Hello anxiety. All I want is to be with one or few people I love. Throw in a cake for breakfast, and I’ll be the happiest girl in the world. Easy.
3. We are totally fine on our own. No plans? No problem. If you’re an introvert, you can take yourself out for a good time. Unlike our extrovert counterparts, we don’t need others for stimulation. We have a lot going on in our minds and quite frankly, people tend to get in the way of our plans for world domination. Introverts are comfortable alone, even at the movies, and there is something seriously bad-ass about that.
4. We value our friendships. We don’t need 50 friends. In fact, we’re good with five. We’d rather develop deep friendships with fewer people than overwhelm ourselves with a boatload of acquaintances. As introverts, we are naturally selective about who we allow into our lives. Choosing the wrong person can drain us. Therefore, if we choose you, consider yourself really fucking rad.
5. We are creative. Some of the most celebrated artists and thinkers out there happen to be introverts. An introvert’s capability to hide away for a few hours (or a few days) allows time to focus on creating something beautiful whether it be a song, a screenplay, you name it. As introverts, we are passionate lovers, detail-oriented, and take our time to smell the roses.
So yes, we’re still friends. No, I don’t hate you. I just need my space…but let’s go see a show at The Groundlings first. I’m an introvert, not a zombie. Note: All introverts are not created equally. I definitely have some extroversion sprinkled on me. Whether you lean towards extroversion or introversion, embrace your temperament. The fact that we are all so different makes people-watching so much more fun.