26 August 2014

Introvert, "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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. 


T' said...

It is kind of hard to understand. When I have been around you, at the Picnic, the time I was over your house, etc., you seem really outgoing and social. Not that I'd try and convince you that you were anything other than what you've said here, just observation is all I have to go on. That being said, I'm more than happy to not push you into social interaction (not that I could!). I'm about half way. I really love and need social interaction but need to be left alone to do work, too. As for grief, I'm still figuring out how I deal with that, because it's not what I thought at all. I guess it's mostly just that most folks are social and can't picture themselves not being so, and as such, they can't imagine that you're anything unlike them. I see what you're talking about here come up online a lot lately in various ways. We're all still learning how to get along.

Behemoth media said...

I never got a notice you left a comment for some reason!
I am better one on one than in groups and if I have been left alone for an extended period I can deal a lot better. I was thinking at the Picnic I would come in really early to do inventory, make orders etc so my time surrounded by people was less than it might have been. I do like being around friends, but i have limits... I have no problem saying "get out" or just going to bed if those limits are passed in my own home. I work things out on my own then I can deal with them in public. If I don't get that time, it's really bad for me. I trained myself to seem outgoing and social for retail. the picnic was an exceptional place to work in but my jobs after that were just plain terrible. I'd literally cry or lock myself in a dark room and dread having to get up and go back.You know better than anyone... working with the public is HELL under the best conditions!