Introverts freer of social restraints than extroverts

I like to be alone.

People always seem to think I’m crazy for wanting to venture into the dangerous, frightening realm of solitude.

A lot of my classmates think I’m crazy for not having plans on a Tuesday night. “Come out with us!” they say. “You need to!”  No, I don’t need to.

After a full day of classes, homework and a part-time job, all I want is to be in my own home, where it’s quiet and I can finally be alone with my own thoughts and Netflix.

I’ve been an introvert all my life and many extroverts seem to have issues with that. They tell me I’d be happier if I were more outgoing or social and that I don’t need to be “that way.”

Being introverted doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the company of people. I’m just picky about what I do and who I do it with. For me, that’s a good thing. It means I never have to do anything I’m not interested in and I never have to spend time with people I don’t care for.

Far too many times, I’ve watched poor souls shrug their shoulders and go along with their friends’ unattractive plans. I can see it on their faces and hear it in their voices and I can tell they’d much rather be off doing something else. They lack the chutzpah to speak up and take their own path. Life’s too short for that.

My time, like everyone else’s, is valuable, which is why I’m very particular about who or what I give it to.

When friends of mine invite me to do something I don’t want to do, I have no qualms about saying so, even if I don’t have any other plans. I’d much rather be home than out doing something I don’t enjoy, or worse, doing something I don’t enjoy with people I don’t enjoy.

Why are extroverts so enamored by crowds and big events where they can’t get to know anyone, much less spend any quality time with them? Things like football games, clubs and rowdy parties are fraught with small talk and performance.

At any party I actually do decide to attend, it’s not hard to find someone awkwardly buried in conversation with someone they aren’t interested in. I watch them smile and nod and check their watch and shift their weight with pity.

Why not just excuse yourself?

It’s a much easier, happier life when you have fewer, but closer, friends. I’m so much more satisfied by slow, quiet evenings of meaningful conversation, good food and friends who make me laugh than by loud, blurry nights of speedy encounters with people I’ll never see again.

Extroverts like to think they’re freer and more fulfilled than introverts, but being an introvert grants me the privilege to be comfortable all the time. I don’t feel better about myself when I attend something because everyone else is going.

The coolest, most interesting people I respect and admire call me their friend and make time in their schedules to see me one-on-one.

 

Reach the columnist at jwadler@asu.edu or follow him at @MrJakeWAdler.

 

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