On Being an Introvert

Earlier today I rather glibly posted on my Google+, Twitter & Facebook feeds the following: “Being an introvert is easy.” One of my FB (and real-life) friends replied, essentially conflating introversion with “social laziness.”

My first reaction was defensive, yet I can understand why some people would think that’s what introverts are like. So I thought it would be instructive, if not cathartic, to explain what I meant and, perhaps, defend my social orientation.

So what is it like being an introvert? I think what defines me most is contradiction.

As we are social creatures, having some form of interaction is essential to our survival–otherwise, we’d just reproduce asexually. I understand this and rail against becoming solitary as much as possible. I see the psychological benefits of being sociable, and, conversely, the psychological deficits of remaining solitary. Yet my default state, the set point of my social interaction, is introversion.

So what did I mean by saying introversion is easy? Simply put, it’s much easier to say or do nothing–to cocoon, turtle up, hide–than it is to actually do something. I understand that in order to succeed in life–be it professionally, emotionally, psychologically, or in whatever field–one must enact some change in the world. Thermodynamics says that entropy is inevitable. But this knowledge is contradicted, again, by my default state.

I’m still thinking about this idea–about how my introversion not only defines me but also defines my limitations. It’s a part of me whether I like it or not at this point. And change, as we all know, is hard.

This requires some work.

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