Tuesday, May 7, 2019

National Mental Health Month: Introversion & Social Anxiety

Being introverted doesn’t automatically mean the person is shy or has social anxiety, the two things are similar but different. Introverts prefer to have more alone time to be with their thoughts and do things on their own. Shy people or people with social anxieties fear interacting with people and panic when they are in social situations. However, it is possible to be introverted and suffer from social anxiety at the same time which is something I have struggled with my whole life. Many introverts might even develop some form of anxiety because people don’t fully understand an introverts’ need to be alone.

Introverts don’t intentionally ignore you, they’re not being rude, they’re not upset all the time and they usually aren’t sad, introverts just don’t enjoy small talk or socializing as much as extroverted people do. I get asked all the time “what’s wrong” or “why am I so quiet”, and most of the time nothing’s wrong, I’m just consumed by my thoughts. If an introverted person feels like socializing they will, if they don't then they won't. Most of the time introverts are usually thinking of a million other unrelated things and you'll probably get a short response from them unless it’s a meaningful topic that they’re interested in. 

Similar to a shy person, once an introvert is comfortable with someone they become extroverts with that particular person and whatever energy they gave off, is usually reciprocated by the introvert. If they like you, they like you. If they don’t, they don’t. Introverts don’t totally hate people or socializing, they can usually tolerate most social settings, but often get overwhelmed by too much socializing. Most introverts engage in daily activities that force them to interact all day but as soon as they’re done, they’re heading home and back to being their introverted selves. Introverts get exhausted by social interaction, but they don't hate or fear it like someone with social anxiety would. They just need quiet time to recharge. An excessive amount of socializing can literally suck all the energy out of an introverted person and for that reason they prefer to limit their social interactions and regularly engage in alone time.

Introverts are usually very quiet people who loathe too much attention, they don’t say much because they’re usually too busy analyzing their thoughts but they are usually very observant. They’re usually straight forward and loyal to anyone they let into their tiny circle and they'll always be there for you but once you start to annoy them, they will disconnect themselves from you or the situation and retreat back to their introverted ways. You’re probably an introvert if you change your route/plans, look the other way or wear headphones just to avoid talking to people. Society may label introverts as weirdo loners but there's nothing wrong with being an introvert, you can’t help the way you’re wired and introversion is actually a very common character trait.

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