What Introverts Do Not Understand Part I

Lately, I have seen a number of people, both young and old, that seem to have forgotten their earphones. Know what I mean?

Well, as an introvert it is beyond my comprehension why you would feel the need, or even want to, play your music to everyone around you, especially if you are in a busy street or in the Underground – buskers excepted. It’s like this obsession with fame has made people believe that they are in a music video or that they must be heard to know that they exist.

Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I play music any time I get a chance. If I’m home alone which is very rare nowadays, I play music loud and sing along at the top of my voice. As an introvert however I am aware that we live in a noisy world and people around me might not want to hear my music or they don’t like the kind of music I like. Hence, one of the modern world’s best inventions – earphones. Nowadays, they come as personalized as you could ever want them to be.

And for those who feel the need to play a sound track to their life for everyone else to hear – you are annoying. More so, you are as beautiful, important and valuable without tiresomely drawing attention to yourself. Your existence is not diminished just because the rest of us can’t constantly hear you.

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What do you do on your own?

Does having no one to join you, stop you from doing things you’d really want to do? Do you go to see your favourite band by yourself, the long awaited movie, a dinner on your own or go for a walk in the park? Do you join that yoga class or local gym? Do you travel solo?

Chances are that if you are happy to do things by yourself that are not normally seen as solitary activities, you’re likely an introvert. Introverts are much more comfortable in their own company and therefore, I would think, less likely to opt out of doing something because they don’t have someone to go with. Possibly with the apprehension of having to talk to people they don’t know. Extrovert on the other hand might see going somewhere solo as an opportunity to get to know new people, much more likely to interact with the new set of people.

Yes, we all read in our own quiet corner, or even to put a barrier between us and the rest of the world, such as communting on an overcrowded tube train. We watch TV in our own favourite chair at home. We have a coffee or maybe even a beer at our local cafe or pub. Most will go for walks in the park when the weather is warm without needing company. But how far are you willing to push yourself?

When I moved to London, on my own, which I’m sure many would see as a brave step, I was quite aware that if I wasn’t prepared to go places by myself, I would spend my entire time in London confined to my rented room. Not much fun! I believe I already had this ability, to do things solo. I went seight-seeing, to the museums, to photo exhibitions etcetera by myself and I still do. Sometimes prefereing to experience things without anyone else’s opinion.

Later I started going to the movies by myself, went out to dinner as a treat, attended events that are local to my community. I confess that there are still things I don’t do by myself. It’s more about feeling vulnerable than that I care about whether it’s socially acceptable or not. Medium-to-big concerts, dancing, late-night pubs, travelling, are things where I don’t feel comfortable. But, even smaller concerts, I love sitting in my own corner listening to a really talented musician.

So how solo are you prepared to go? Or are you dependent on having someone with you to share the things you love doing?

Buzz and Flow

Do you like the challenge of being dropped into the deep end and coming out successful? Do you admire adventurers who conquer steep mountains and sail around the world all alone? Do you like the buzz of winning the highest price? Maybe even simple things like winning £10 on a scratch ticket? Then you are probably an extrovert.

Introverts are more likely to go for the flow than for the buzz. Personally, I hate the sink-or-swim situations. It used to give me very bad self-esteem after struggling through assignments not knowing what the heck I was doing. As an adult I have realized that the low self-esteem after these situations are very unfair on myself. Most of the time, I do come out of it, having completed what was asked of me, if not to my own satisfaction then at least the everyone else’s. With that said, any sink-or-swim situation I’ve had to get through has left me with the feeling of: “Great, that’s done. Now let’s NEVER do that again.” I’m sure extroverts react differently.

What I like the best is, for example when I write, I get so into what I’m doing that, suddenly, time and space does not exist. The words just keep coming and sometimes it’s even difficult to keep pace with the words trumbling out of my head. I’m not aware of what is happening around me, I don’t notice sounds, the day can shift from day to evening and I don’t notice. I could miss my lunch and forget I’m thirsty. I’ll just keep writing until the flow is gone. Then I look up and it’s hours since I last ate something, the sun has gone down and I’m bursting to go to the loo.

I’m sure introverts and extroverts experience both buzz and flow moments in their lives but how we react to them is different. I always seek the flow moments, whether I’m writing, at work or just going for a walk. That elevated state of functioning has been part of some of the greatest moments of my life. The buzz moments however I quite easily forget. The kind of pushing yourself beyong your preceived limits that produces the buzz feeling, I’m sure, means a lot more to an extrovert than it does to me but perhaps they don’t value the flow of the moment the way I do.

Your thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Are you a flow or a buzz person? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Does it correspond?