With school just lurking around the corner, I find it fitting to address the topic of expectations people have. No, this isn’t another one of those post’s addressing the expectations of parents wishing their child to be a successful 4.0 GPA student. This post follows the expectations peers have towards me.
As an introvert, I’m usually found listening rather than partaking in conversations. I enjoy soaking in the expressions, the sounds, and analyzing every piece presented in front of me. I’m a thinker, and as a thinker I think through my head and only talk when necessary. As a result, people have classified me as ‘quiet’ ‘shy’ or would prefer not to engage in a conversation with me. It’s not that I don’t like the company of individuals, I’m the complete opposite. I love hanging around people, however the capacity and limit I have with public is rather small so after a while I would detach myself from further conversations.
Friends and classmates tell me I’m always happy, positive, and someone who is just nice to everyone. While some of these may be true, I’m far from happy and positive as people perceive me to be. Like I said before, I’m an analyzer, and that means analyzing every little thing that comes at me way. While this may be a good thing in some cases, most of the time it leaves me feeling mentally drained, depressed, or alone. To be honest, it makes me feel worse when people tell me I’m always happy and positive. It then leaves me with an expectation, a wall I constantly have to climb in over to achieve. To make these people happy, I have to work the extra mile to smile, and to catch me in a bad state would be troublesome for me because I don’t reach those expectations. I have set these boundaries for myself. I can’t do this, that’s unlike my character. I have to remain positive for my friend’s sake.
I love my friends a lot. I try my best for them, and try to be the best I can be. But I hope that those who know introverts as friends can understand these things:
- We aren’t shy. We love people. We love listening. It takes a lot of energy to talk amongst large crowds but that doesn’t mean you should exclude us from invitations. Not being invited because we’re ‘quiet’ makes us critique ourselves harshly
- Notice that there are times where we want to be left alone not because we are anti-social but because we just need a few minutes to recharge so we can be our best when faced with a crowd
- We analyze a lot, which means we’re always tough on ourselves. We aren’t all happy and positive as you might perceive us to be. Understand that and be kind to us 🙂
To end off, I was reading an article earlier, and I came across a good quote:
As you can see from all of the above, the greatest gifts you can give an introvert are acceptance and affirmation. We can tend to feel guilty, tired, anxious and like a disappointment. And you would probably never guess it. The way we’re wired is a gift but when we feel shame about it then it becomes a burden.
Recognize the strengths in the introverts in your life. Thank them for listening. Encourage their creativity. Remind them having a soft heart in a hard world is courage not weakness. In other words, support who God created us to be. We deeply love you and we truly need you to love us just as we are too.