I am alone, not lonely: an introvert’s explanation
I am an introvert.
To be specific, I am an INTJ when it comes to the Meyers Brigg’s exam—introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment. I like to be alone, analyze, and make quick decisions.
My biggest problem is most people don’t know I am an introvert. I am social and rather outgoing so people often mistakenly think that I am an extrovert. I definitely play an extrovert on the Internet. I love using Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to share thoughts and ideas. However, online is different than offline. Online I can control how much I interact and engage with it. Offline, I cannot.
The truth is I find people (especially extroverts) extremely draining. When most people hear this, they get offended, but it is not what they think. What I mean is that being around people really drains my energy. Extroverts, on the other hand, seem to gain energy by being around people.
For me, something like a party is extremely exhausting to me. How can people enjoy just sitting there and talking? There is SO much talking. I enjoy conversations and discussions, but I hate talking. I really dislike having to force myself to “meet people” where I would rather just welcome people being introduced in my life through my own shenanigans.
I always say, “I hate people, but I love persons.” If there is more than three people in a group hanging out with me, I can feel myself get physically tired. When I go to San Francisco or Seattle to visit, I seem to have to take about 4-5 days in isolation to recover from it.
An atypical example of introvert and extrovert is me and my co-founder Adam. I am really outgoing, do a lot of the business development and meet new people. Adam is shy and quiet, but he enjoys being around the company of people, whether it is co-working or hanging out. For me however, being in exile for two years seems like a vacation. People always think that I’m the extrovert and he is the introvert.
It has been a bit challenging for me because I have a lot of friends who I know care about me, and I care about them. However, I do not have enough time to hang out with all of them. When I hang out with them, it physically drains energy (even when it is fun and I have a good time) and then I have nothing left to work on my designs, drawings, or reading.
The other problem is because of my social nature and that I am good with people, others are often drawn towards me to make the connections for them. I feel I attract a lot of people who fall in-between introvert and extrovert.
To be honest, I think that’s the reason I have a cat. I want a pet who I care about and can love, but we can leave each other alone as well.
I really enjoy being alone. I rarely get lonely. The idea of going to a movie by myself, traveling alone, or just having no plans makes people think I am depressed or that something is wrong. However, that’s how I recover.
If I spent all my time meeting up with people to renew their energy, I would have no energy left to focus on what I love: design.
Please understand, if you are my friend, that if I ignore you it isn’t a negative thing. If I did not want to be your friend, oh trust me, I will tell you. However, there is only so much time in a day (and in life) and I just need to focus.