I'm not in the habit of putting any one group of people into a box. No matter how any of us characterise our personalities — introvert, extrovert, ambivert, whatever — we're all unique and diverse and lovely in our own nonconforming ways, and I get that. I do. At the same time, there's a good chance you'll find me eating ice cream alone on the couch at 2 a.m. on Saturday mornings, screaming with laughter at trending memes and cartoons about introverts because they describe my awkward, introverted existence to a T, and man do I love the internet. That said, in my tireless research, I've discovered several (dare I say) ubiquitous truths introverts can relate to. If you identify as such, see the points below, crack a beer, and celebrate. It's a weird, wonderful life indeed.
1. Introverts are often alone and rarely lonely.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: introverts need alone time. We absolutely require a few hours or even days to ourselves if we're expected to operate like the rest of our functioning peers in society. It's how we recharge. So if you notice us with our earbuds in and heads down listening to music, reading a book, playing a game, or watching a YouTube video in our own little corners of the world, just nod and pass on by.
2. Introverts are total homebodies.
I have a strong attachment to my apartment, and I'll readily admit I rarely leave it on the weekends. I can curl up in bed and do my own thing on my phone or Kindle. I can sprawl out on the couch and peruse Netflix. I can chill out on the floor and complete a puzzle. Home is where the heart is, and it's the one place where introverts don't have to put on the "hi, how are you, please engage in conversation with me" happy face.
3. Introverts usually think before speaking.
Obviously, we're not perfect. Here and there, we'll blurt things out and we'll say things we don't mean, just like everyone else. For the most part, though, introverts think before speaking — especially when it comes to work-related functions, like meetings or happy hours. We may have much to say, but we pick and choose what we ACTUALLY say, because our ultimate humiliation is blabbing about something completely stupid and being rebuked for it. That happened to me once, when I was in eighth grade and made a dumb joke at a sizeable gathering, and no one but my best friend laughed (kind of funny in hindsight, but it was super embarrassing and slightly traumatising at 13). Mark my words: I've been careful ever since.
4. Introverts overanalyse.
In the same vein, introverts tend to overthink. Sometimes we should be saying more than we are, but we overthink what we want to say, and by the time we decide to say it, the moment has passed and it'd be weird as hell to bring the topic back up. I find myself in this situation fairly frequently, though I think (hope?) I'm getting better about joining the discussion.
5. Introverts don't enjoy the spotlight.
I write about real weddings a lot. One thing that consistently stands out to me is how poised the bride and groom appear walking down the aisle, all beaming smiles and confident sashays. I try to picture this wallflower ambling to the same altar, every sharp pair of eyes on me, and I immediately break into a cold sweat in the underarm region. Obviously, introverts get married; I'm just naming an example of an anxiety-inducing, centre-stage scenario. We're really not big on the spotlight.
6. Interacting can feel like hard work for introverts.
The key word, here, is "can." Interacting CAN feel like hard work, most especially if we've been thrown into a wild sea of strangers where uncomfortable small talk is deemed socially appropriate and/or necessary. Honestly? I find big parties to be more terrifying than any of the Paranormal Activity movies, because mingling with people I'm unfamiliar with is both nerve-racking and mentally exhaustive. Nine times out of 10, I'm passing on that invite.
7. Introverts are not antisocial.
Despite our general aversion to large group settings, the idea that introverts are 100 percent antisocial is a misconception. We're not some sort of human subspecies immune to the affection and interest of our fellow primates. We enjoy a nice one-on-one dinner date with someone we know well, a coffee run with a few friends, and even, occasionally, making an interesting connection with someone random ("Oh, you're best friends with your dog?! SO AM I!").
8. Introverts are fiercely loyal to loved ones.
Speaking of that interesting connection, introverts tend to stick like glue with a few good ones. This isn't to say we ONLY get on with other introverts — my boyfriend's about as extroverted as it gets — just that when we do achieve a real, meaningful relationship, we don't take it for granted. We keep very small, very special social circles.
9. Introverts love the small stuff.
A hike in the forest during the Fall has been known to bring me to tears once or twice. I freak out when an animal willingly crawls into my lap for a scratch behind the ears. A great story will find a permanent home in my heart. We introverts derive inspiration from the little things, which maybe aren't little at all, if you think about it.
10. Introverts embrace every emotion.
We're in touch with our emotions, plain and simple. Alone time allows us to thoughtfully ruminate in our complexities. We feel all the feelings, and we're not afraid to face them, question them, analyse them, sort them, and even write them down, if we're so inclined. (In fact, it may be argued that we communicate best on paper.)
11. Introverts take on new challenges.
Despite what you've probably heard, introverts don't live timidly. It's true that we have a natural tendency to remain within our comfort zones. It's true that we shy away from attention, spend a lot of time at home, and feel some level of discomfort around strangers. However, it's also true that we explore new things, push the limits, make the effort, and strive for success. As introverts, we may have our own set of challenges, but we rise to the occasion, day in and day out.