The life of an introvert in an extroverted family can be challenging, to say the least. And the larger and louder the family, the more challenging interacting with them can be. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, or perhaps you’re not sure if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, basically all you need to know is that being an introvert means you generally recharge by being alone rather than with others.
The exact definition of an introvert is still debated. Psychotherapist Marti Olsen Laney says that introversion is a temperament rather than a single personality trait. And in 2015, psychologist Jonathan Cheek realized there are actually four different types of introversion. But generally speaking, compared to outgoing extroverts, introverts often reach inward rather than outward in most, but not all, social settings.
Some families might be completely understanding of your introversion, and if that’s the case, you’re fortunate. Other families, on the other hand, might not get why you’re not as outspoken or social as they are. If the latter sounds like your familial clan, then you’re probably going to relate too hard to the below sentiments.
Because if you’re the only introvert in an extroverted family, you’ve probably run into these situations before:
1. You’re constantly being asked, “What’s wrong?”
“You’re awfully quiet today. Is everything okay?” If your family doesn’t realize you’re an introvert, they might think you’re having a bad day or that you’re just being rude. Depending on what kind of introvert you are, you might not be as keen to partaking in conversation as your more extroverted family members would like. (Hey, that’s okay, by the way.)
2. Family get-togethers leave you exhausted.
Aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins’ boyfriends, the next-door neighbor — everyone is there, and they’re all talking at once, to each other and to you. They want to know how you’ve been, who you are dating — “How’s that new job that, in my opinion, doesn’t pay you enough?” There’s a lot to take in and a lot of energy to expend when facing all of your family at once.
Family parties are a lot to handle for introverts and extroverts alike. But if you’re an introvert, you might need a bit more time to recover.
3. Alone time is never really alone time.
For whatever reason, closed doors in family homes are often considered suspicious. This poses a problem for the introvert who likes their private time. Mom asks, “What the heck are you doing in there?” Dad asks mom if you’re ill. Siblings make a snide remark about what’s really going on in there.
Listen, fam. We just need some time to ourselves — like completely to ourselves. Introverts cherish their alone time. It’s when we can think clearly, be productive, and relieve our tensions caused by the outside social world.
4. We don’t call Grandma as much as we should.
Introverts don’t really reach out as much as they should. Luckily, our friends know this and aren’t annoyed to be the ones to call or text first. But Grandma or Grandpa, on the other hand, expects you to call at least once a week, and they may not be so accepting of our minor phone phobia. Grandma, it’s not you. It’s us.
5. Although sometimes they might think otherwise, we love them and love spending time with them.
Yeah, being around our families can be overwhelming at times. But that obviously doesn’t meant we don’t love them. As the only introvert in your family, you’ll learn different techniques to dealing with the above situations. Let your family know how you’re feeling when you need to take a breather from them, and chances are they’ll completely understand.