For most of my life I always wondered where those feelings of wanting to escape when other people approach you come from. Like that hesitation of answering when the phone calls, or not wanting to ask the cashier for help when you can’t find something in the store. For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me and I was the only person feeling this way. Well I could not have been anymore wrong then that. This is how life can be when you are an introvert.
Introverts often feel uncomfortable social environments but this does not mean we don’t like other people. This is purely the minds response in showing you that it is wasting energy in these situations. That you have to be careful with how much you spend so you don’t run out. As introverts we only regenerate energy from the inside, being alone in a tranquil environment or when doing something we love. Extroverts on the other hand regenerate their energy from interacting in the outside world and with other people. The more stimulation for them, the more energy. The less stimulation for us, the more energy. The reason for this is that introverted personalities have a inert biological trait of dopamine sensitivity which makes us happy with less stimulation. When introverts get to much stimulation they in turn get to much dopamine in their system and suffer instead. Extroverts don’t have this sensitivity.
Since the world is mostly focused on extroverted qualities and since this is how society tells us how to act, growing up as an introvert can be very confusing, especially as a teenager. I grew up in a country where introverts are more accepted, yet I still had to suffer consequences for being an introvert. The biggest dilemma is keeping people close when you don’t always want them close to you. To make relationships and friendships last when you don’t have the energy to see people all the time, and as often as extroverted people might want you to.
Being an INFJ I have to withdraw at times to do stuff I’m interested in and work on things alone because this is part of who I am. It makes me feel centered in my life and if I don’t get this alone time, I get stressed, frustrated and agitated. The problem is that even if I have a great time with other people for a long time and don’t think I need to be alone, I will hit the wall of no energy left at some point and need to withdraw. Even if I was enjoying myself. Explaining how this works for other people has always been a challenge.
The best thing has been to make sure you have a bunch of introverted friends that feel the same way as you do. Extroverted friends is of course good in their own way as well to keep you balanced. You should just make sure that even when you can’t see all your friends at times, keep in touch with them so your withdrawal doesn’t send them the wrong idea. In relationships it is a good idea just to explain to your partner that you are introverted and that you need alone time, which has nothing to do with them personally. The world is an extrovert playground and people tend to think bad things about introverts because most do not understand what it really means, especially extroverts. Many introverts do not understand themselves either and it is important to know that this is a trait your are born with biologically, and something that you cannot completely change. When you accept this and start to live your life and build your relationships on who you are, you will be on your way to living a happier life.