September 11, 2019 at 3:26 am #311513
I hope anyone reading this is well.
I have something on my mind. I’m not really needing advice, but I’m just wondering if anyone else experiences this, or if I’m alone.
I’m an introvert, I always have been. My time at home is so sacred to me, and most often I will choose snuggling in with some tea over being socialable with other people my age. I’m 25, and so most of the people surrounding me enjoy getting drinks on the weekends. It feels like, everywhere I look I’m surrounded by people that are different than me. When I’m in a group, I find I have a hard time making conversations, because conversations feel so dull and filled with small talk and what happened over the weekend and who did what and she hates him. They feel lacking of any depth and deep inside it feels wrong to engage.
I only have a few close friends, both of which live far away from me. I have my boyfriend and my mom and sister who love me to my core, and I’m very grateful for all of the people I do have. But I’m alone a lot. At home, of course, but in groups of people, too. I just began grad school, and I’m in a new place surrounded by new people who are nothing like me. I should mention, I understand that everyone is on a different path, and I’m not in any way judgmental of who people are and what people do on their days off. I believe we’re all sacred, beautiful beings, all of us different than one another. But everywhere I look, I feel different and alone.
Not necessarily alone in a bad way. I love my solitude. Just, alone. Though this isn’t something I’m upset about, I can’t help but wonder, very deep inside of myself, ‘is there something wrong with me?’ And ‘is there anyone out there who feels the way I do?’
Does anyone else experience this?
Thank you for listening,
EmiSeptember 11, 2019 at 4:25 am #311523InkyParticipant
This is ME!!!
A palm reader long ago said, “You’re an introvert, and in the old days would have lived in a cave alone (by choice!!), but the modern world has actually made you more extroverted than you naturally are.”
There is nothing wrong with us. It’s just that our culture bombards us with such constant messages that we second guess ourselves.
Make yearly pilgrimages to see your friends (or have them visit you), and love the hell out of your boyfriend and family.
Also, volunteer (i.e. church/your local community center/etc.). Being busy while surrounded by other people may feel strange, but eventually you will find people you resonate with. Or they will find you!
InkySeptember 11, 2019 at 8:11 am #311583
In my experience I felt anxious in groups of people, even in 1-to-1 interactions because I felt inferior to others, I felt that they were thinking how less-than them I was, criticizing me in their minds. I felt they didn’t like me or approve of me. So I avoided people. Not because I was an introvert, mind you, but because I imagined that they were thinking less of me.
anitaSeptember 11, 2019 at 10:42 am #311663PrashParticipant
I can relate to what you have written.
I too have a hard time making conversations, because I don’t feel like making small talk just for the sake of them. And like you I have very close family and friends who I am grateful for.
We may be different from the rest but I don’t think there is anything wrong with people like us. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Even though people are different, everyone I believe shares the common goal of happiness.
In this journey we can move forward every day discovering ourselves and accepting who we are.
Wish you peace and happiness.September 12, 2019 at 4:23 am #311789
Oh wow! It’s really beautiful to hear that other people have similar experiences as me.
Inky and Anita- it’s interesting to think about the fact that we can be, at our core, introverts, but society kind of tries to pull us away from that. Similar to Anita, I experience anxiety in social situations more often than not, feeling inferior to others, for different reason, because I’m NOT sociable. Constantly feeling like the ‘shy’ one, or the ‘odd one out’ It’s nice to be reminded that simply, it’s who I am! We’re all different and all beautiful.
Anita- I appreciate you sharing your experience with me. 🙂
Prash- I love that you said ‘everyone shares the common goal of happiness’. You’re absolutely right! We all seek it in a different way, but we all want to feel at peace.
EmiSeptember 12, 2019 at 4:46 am #311791ValoraParticipant
This is me also! I think there are a ton of introverts out there, we just aren’t as noticeable because we’re busy keeping to ourselves and enjoying our alone time and time with those closest to us rather than being out there with just anyone and everyone. So it feels like you’re surrounded by the extroverts, but your fellow introverts are here, too 🙂
There’s absolutely nothing at all wrong with you or the way you feel, and being able to enjoy solitude is a real blessing, in my opinion. The ONLY time it starts to become a real problem is when you isolate yourself to the point where you don’t talk to anyone at all. We do need at least some human interaction, but you still get enough of that with your family and your boyfriend, and even keeping in touch with friends that live far away counts, too! haha. My best friend lives across the country from me but I talk to her almost every day.September 12, 2019 at 12:56 pm #311925
You are welcome. I am not sure that I understand what you mean by “it’s who I am! We’re all different and beautiful”. Personally, being shy and distressed in social interactions was not who I was or am. Meaning, I was not born to be shy and fearful in social situations. And there was nothing beautiful at all in feeling inferior to others and fearing that the others will soon let me know of that.
anitaSeptember 12, 2019 at 4:41 pm #311969
Anita- I’m sorry, my wording came off wrong and reading it back I see where I miscommunicated. I definitely agree with and understand what you’re saying. I meant for myself, the feelings of anxiety stem from being an introvert and not fully accepting who I am. The feeling of inferiority comes from not engaging in the activities that others my age engage in because of the message that society presents. I am an introvert who finds peace in my time at home and my time alone, and that is what’s beautiful. Not the anxiety or the negative feelings that come along with it. I was a little selfish in relating what you said back to myself. Though what you and I experience/d is similar in a way, it is also different. Please know I see/hear you 🙂
Valora- you’re right! I’m sure there are plenty of like-minded introverts around, they are just busy keeping to themselves 🙂September 12, 2019 at 4:51 pm #311971
Thank you for explaining to me what you meant, and for wanting me to know that you “see/hear (me)”! (I didn’t think you were selfish at all when I read your post before last).
I think that many people who are extroverted are anxious when alone, so they seek the company of others in order to feel less anxious.
Many people who are introverted are anxious when in the company of others so they seek time alone in order to feel less anxious.
In a healthy person I imagine it is a balance of time alone and time in the company of others.
September 13, 2019 at 7:19 am #312061NeilParticipant
- This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
Hey Emilia (and all)
This is a subject I’ve recently come to terms with- or at least have become more self aware and accepting of.
We are surrounded in a world that judges us on how popular we are, how many ‘friends’ we have, how many ‘likes’ we get. We are constantly having to aspire to the standard set by somebody or something else and anything falling short of this is failure and before we know it we have lost sight of who we really are and the potential to live life the way we were intended to live it.
To be individual, to dare be our selves and to live a life where we are true to ourselves is a beautiful and enviable thing.
True self love can only ever come from within and can only ever be achieved if we are connected to who we really are. For far too long in my life and despite trying to resist, I have succumbed too many times to feeling wrong inside if I don’t conform to the learned behaviour, if I don’t fit in with the crowd or if I don’t adjust parts of who I am to be more successful in life. Someone else’s definition of successful, someone else’s definition of happiness!
I have always (from way back to my first re-collective memory) had a natural yearning for high levels of solitude. I remember the comfort and re-assurance I gained as a young child from sitting in a softly lit lounge watching tv alone with the rain hammering against the windows on a dark Friday night. Rainy Friday nights are my favourite thing in the world and have been ever since. They are symbolic to me of that feeling of who I am, what I love and how I want to be; by choice. I share that feeling with myself because I’m the only one that truly understands what it feels like to me. It is a choice to share my time with me, to share my happiness with me. God knows I share enough of the crappy times with me so I owe myself- right 🙂
There’s nothing wrong with spending high levels of time alone. It is who you are. It is what you need. Only you will know if you have crossed the line between being alone and being lonely and whilst you’re happy- you are never, ever alone.
Celebrate who you are. Those people who can only exist surrounded by others and in the company of others are missing something that you have. They have no more right to judge you for your choice than do you them.
Love others too but choose who and how you love. I have retained a very small number of people in my inner circle of trusted and loved friends- the ones who I treat to the true me. The ones who I speak and act from the heart with. The ones I can love because I can love myself first (or at least keep working on it).
Its your choice. Everything in your life is your choice. Don’t ever doubt or question the choices you make that come from within- they are the ones that are usually right
xSeptember 13, 2019 at 9:02 am #312077PeggyParticipant
I love my own company but also value and appreciate spending time with people I love and with whom I have a connection. I love the idea of parties but I am shy about approaching strangers and attempting to make conversation with them which usually means small talk. I’m more outgoing sometimes than others and those are the times when I probably have the most fun.
If you are happy with the way you are, then that’s fine and yes, there are plenty of people that can relate to you on that level.
PeggySeptember 17, 2019 at 4:44 am #312721
Anita- I think you’re absolutely right. A healthy person has a balance between being able to be alone, and being able to be around others. All while feeling peace in doing so.
Neil- Well said, what a beautiful reminder! It’s so true, that we share enough crappy times with ourselves, that we owe it to us to share some peace and happiness as well. I love that!
Peggy- How beautiful it is that we are all so vastly different and unique in our experiences. Thank you for sharing yours!September 17, 2019 at 9:00 am #312763
In your original post you wrote: “I just began grad school, and I’m in a new place surrounded by new people who are nothing like me”- what if there are quite a few people who are a lot like you, but they want to appear like everyone else, so to be one of the accepted, approved crowd, so they pretend?
I wonder if you can spot a person like that in grad school, one who is very much like you.
anitaSeptember 22, 2019 at 10:16 am #313561LenaParticipant
I can 100% relate to this. It’s easy to feel different as an introvert, especially when you’re in a situation (like school) where you’re constantly confronted with large groups of people who all seem to be super comfortable and chatty with each other and don’t appear to have any issues whatsoever relating to others. In college, when I was deeply struggling with my self-worth and identity, I constantly felt like a loner, isolated, pathetic even–even though I had friends who cared about me. I definitely carried around that feeling you describe of wondering if something was wrong with me, like maybe I couldn’t grasp something fundamental about human interactions that everyone else understood so easily.
As I’ve gotten older, though–and felt more comfortable in my own skin–I’ve realized that I’m not a loner, per se; I very much enjoy being around other people. But I do best in situations where I’m with people I can be myself around, a handful of “kindred spirits.” And being alone is great too. To me, Western society (especially in Instagram/Facebook age) values quantity in friendships over quality, but I see the value in friends that I can have those deep conversations with, friends who are on the same wavelength, who encourage, challenge and inspire me. And frankly, a lot of people who seem to have a plethora of friendships don’t necessarily have that. Real friends are rare, and I think introverts are particularly adept at keeping true friendships alive, cultivating them, and valuing them over the surface-level, fleeting relationships that come and go.
Something that made me feel better about who I am (and that made me realize that I’m not alone) is reading the Highly Sensitive Person person book. There are tests that you can take online to assess whether you fall into the category of being an “HSP.” To me, when I realized that I was an HSP and that there were others like me, it was easier (and exciting!) to learn that I have a cognizable personality trait that accounts for a big part of why I felt “different” growing up. I definitely recommend checking it out as I suspect you might fall into that category yourself–or even if you don’t, could probably identify with a lot of the traits that HSI’s possess.
As this thread shows, there’s a community out there of people just like you. You aren’t alone, and the fact that you’re starting to accept and embrace this quality about yourself–instead of rejecting or resenting it–is admirable!