I have a very satisfying inner life.
When told I am extremely introverted, the very idea seems to go right past most people. Simply put, I just don't get much from and actually lose something when I have to interact with others. My ability to tolerate social situations is by most standards very, very short. While observing people can be interesting, I rarely have any desire join them. I get pleasure from solitary activities like drawing, reading, cycling to name a few. I get nothing but stress from group activities.
I do have friends but I don't require any sort of social interaction even if they are sometimes enjoyable. I have been alone and isolated for weeks at time and never once did I miss the company of other people. By myself, I get a lot done, am never bored and my mental state is never better. I don't get lonely, I can’t even imagine myself feeling that way. I don't want solitude, I require it to function properly. Too long without and I have trouble eating, sleeping, working...even thinking.
There are huge advantages to being this way. I am self motivated, independent and can focus on my work and fun intensely for long periods of time. I don't need personal contact or hand holding to get through the day or a project. To process intense situations, like grief for example, the best way to support me is to leave me alone. I need personal reflection much more than discussion.
If a more extroverted person is isolated from social situations for one reason or another, pretty much everyone knows its damaging, even dangerous to their heath physically and mentally. However, when I am forced into social situations, despite the having the same dangers, I am told it will be "good for me".
It won't be.
Creative work is perfectly suited for my temperament. In fact, having other people around is deadly for many creative fields where focus, introspection and being able to experiment without people looking over your shoulder is key to being productive. The problem isn't being introverted, it is persuading people to let someone like me, with different strengths to take advantage of them instead of putting me into unproductive (to say the least) situations.
This has been coming up a lot lately and no matter what I say, I get the same attitude that if I was just around more people ( like I haven't spent my entire life around them) I would magically go contrary to my entire life’s experience and see how "enjoyable" it is or because people find my company enjoyable then I automatically must feel the same way when I make it clear the opposite is the case. Just because I need to be left alone doesn’t mean I want to be an asshole about it.