As introverted people, we often run into family and friends who just don't understand us and it can be hard to articulate why we are so different. Extroverted loved ones often just want us to be happy but also can expect for us to be more like their personality type. Here is a letter you can share with your extroverted friends to help explain more about you and ask for their understanding.
To My Extroverted Friends & Family:
I want more than anything for my friends and family to be among those who understand me best. I am often finding that extroverted people struggle to understand why introverts are so different. Given our personality differences, I sometimes feel like you look at me as though my life or personality is lacking.
If I was just friendlier or talked more, I’d have a better social life. If I just went out more, my life could be so much happier. Sometimes I feel I may bore you because our energy levels just aren’t the same. I appreciate the fact that you want me to live a more fulfilling life, but the things that make you happy are not the same for me. My personality and my life are fine the way they are – it’s just different.
When I need time alone to decompress, it seems to offend you because I don’t want to be part of the group. I think the first thing to understand is none of this is personal, we are just two very different personality types.
There’s evidence that introvert and extroverted brains are wired differently and therefore have different requirements to lift their energy levels. Extroverts thrive from dopamine and gain their energy from other people. Extroverts have a strong drive for outward facing activities. As you know, parties and tons of people make extroverts feel alive. Extroverts love dopamine and crave more.
Introverts are opposite. They thrive from a different neurotransmitter that makes them feel alive through internal rewards, deep thinking and focus. Dopamine is overwhelming to introverts and disrupts their ability to focus. Social situations are draining for introverts and they require time to recharge before more engagement.
Introverts are actually very happy doing this and enjoy this time to recharge so they can be social again. We aren’t sad, we aren’t missing out on anything we just don’t feel inspired by the same activities that you do. I really want you to understand that difference. I do care about you and once my batteries are recharged, I am happy to be social again.
As introverts we care about deep, authentic connections versus tons of friends. We think first and share later. We talk less and listen more. We reflect first, then decide. We are just different. I am working on accepting these differences. My whole life I’ve felt like something was wrong because social situations and the ability to speak up fast didn’t come easy.
The reality is nearly half of the population is introverted so many of us are wired this way. I don’t want to feel like I need to be more outspoken, talkative or social to be complete. I accept myself the way I am and hope you can too. I am an introverted person who wants to be loved and accepted just like anyone else. I hope you can see the strengths that come with introversion and accept me as I am.
Your Introverted Friend
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