I am an introvert.
I enjoy being alone. My enjoyment of alone time has served me well in as someone who often travels for work. I prefer staying home when given the choice of a Social event or skipping it. Social interaction is fun when I am in the midst of it, but I find it tiring. After socializing in professional or personal circumstances, I need quiet time to recharge. I have never been nor will I ever be the person who goes to dinner and then to a bar and then another bar. I will meet you for dinner but then I’m out. I’m going home.
I am not shy.
I am not timid when with other people. In fact, I speak publicly and meet new people all the time. I enjoy meeting people when I conduct trainings, visit schools and when speaking at conferences large and small. I am talkative in all situations. My teachers often complained that I was chatty. I enjoy a deep conversation as much as a good laugh. And when the gathering is over, I happily retreat to my own space. I am not sad to leave. I am happy to leave and to once again be home because…
I am an introvert.
I am an introvert who struggles with the messages I got about that not being okay.
All too often, Introverted children are shoved out of their comfort zone. They are told to play with other children when they aren’t ready. They are told to stay at the party longer even though every instinct inside them is telling them to get out of the social situation. They are made to feel guilty when they don’t want to be in the crowd. They witness the admiration adults have for the super social kids….. because so many adults wish they had been that super social kid. It would be a very rare thing for adults to outwardly admire the child who has had lunch with friends but doesn’t want to go to the park with everyone afterward. Exactly how different is that from the adult who went to dinner but doesn’t go to the bar? It isn’t.
My podcast co-host Alison Kentos and I had an interest exchange today via text. We had considered going to a gathering that was in no way required of us. It sounded good a few days ago, but today our introverted natures took over. We hemmed. We hawed. We wondered if it was our introverted tendencies that told us to skip it. We wondered if we should push ourselves. We realized no one else would really care if we showed up or not – this wasn’t a gathering focused on us. We wondered why we felt we had to go even though our attendance or lack thereof would be inconsequential. We felt unsure, a little guilty and very much like two young children with people clicking their tongues and shaking their heads at us for not wanting to go. After some texted angst, we decided to be who we are and stay in our homes this evening. I also decided to say this….
Let your introverted child who wants to go home after the lunch and not add the playground time afterward and who wants to skip the birthday party or not join in on the playdate make that decision sometimes. Let that child’s temperament – something the child is born with – be acceptable. Teach your child that there is room in this world for all types of people and while we sometimes have to go to the event, there are times when it is okay to say without guilt or remorse, “Not today.”
You may also want to read Your Introverted Child Is Happy, Too and What Would It Be Like to Embrace Temperament Instead of Critiquing It?
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