Please don’t try to cure people of their introvertism

We currently live in a fairly progressive world. Most people are pretty cool with letting others live their lives. Better yet, we are mostly encouraged to live our lives. Which is awesome. There’s nothing more liberating than being able and motivated to discover who you really are, and then going out into the world and living. That’s how you can become the best version of yourself: when you aren’t forced to pretend to be any other way. The only slight problem is that not everybody’s version of the “best them” is the same.

I am an introvert. There, I said it. While I embrace the general philosophy of living each day as though it is the last, maybe my idea of that isn’t the same as yours. Maybe, for me, living each day to its full extent involves indulging in a 30 Rock marathon with an affectionate loved one, and not partying it up in Rio. You see, there’s nothing wrong with the latter, but the former is more my speed. I genuinely enjoy being left to my own devices, and have since I was a little child. I enjoy being around only a few people at a time. I love hanging out with only one or two people at a time and laughing for hours. When I’m forced into loud, crowded, crazy environments, I feel out of my element and I just want to go home and log onto Tumblr.

I realize that people mean well—encouraging others to YOLO it up isn’t the worst advice you can give. But, when the person’s response is to host an intimate, calm gathering instead of whatever your reaction would be, that’s OK, too. One way of being social isn’t superior or inferior to any other way.

Even though it is generally accepted that there are people who are naturally more introverted, it isn’t well understood by many people who don’t experience it. Being an introvert isn’t a chronic affliction. There is no known cure, nor does there need to be. Extroverts seem to have a lot of fun, but maybe it’s because their fun is louder than our fun. Contentedness comes in many forms, and it isn’t necessary to enforce only one method of attaining it. There are multiple articles promising to let you know if you are “secretly an introvert” and a mass of other information that really makes it seem as though being an introvert is to be an “other”; as though the natural, accepted state of humanity is extrovertism and introvertism is a deviation.

Personally, being told to “live a little” and “get out more” is insulting. It is an implication that my way of being content isn’t correct; that happiness can not possibly be achieved without fanfare and a dancefloor. Being around masses of people is draining for me and my fellow introverted peers. I’d love to embrace my true nature and stop feeling so unsettled by the feeling that I’m not living my life in the way that I should be, but it’s difficult to do so whilst being constantly chided. Yes, I’d prefer a small dinner for my birthday. I know you’re surprised, but I’m not that excited by the idea of that crazy upcoming party that will be attended by half the country. No thanks, I’d prefer not to attend that giant techno thingy in the desert. But by all means, you guys go ahead. And have fun.

I’d like to thank everybody for their valuable input and kindly remind them that being an introvert isn’t an illness. I’m really fine; introverts are fine.

Christina Seimenis is a South-African freelance writer slash future owner of a nail polish empire. Like any prodigy before her, she began writing from a young age, and knew she was destined for greatness when her “sad mad glad” poem received critical acclaim from her parents (probably). You can find more of her work on xoVain or her blog and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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