Entry 113: Alone Together
As an introvert, I enjoy solitude, yet I do not care for loneliness.
It can be difficult for extroverts to understand, but the best way to describe this reality is by attributing it as "energy." An extrovert operates by gathering energy from others, which is why they seem to thrive in groups, whereas an introvert has a limited amount of energy to give to others, which is why they seem to be reclusive. But there is more to that than meets the eye.
Personally, I was always a quiet and observant individual, even as a child. I enjoyed playing in my own little world with my LEGO creations and Batman action figures, and I never minded when other kids wanted to join my world and play along. As a kid, this was easy because every kid wants to play, so we all acted the same.
As a teenager, however, this all changed. As we all grew up, so did our interests. I continued playing with LEGO, watching Batman TV shows, and the sort, but everyone else had different things to tend to. As our interests diverted, so too did my interactions with people. I ended up isolated in my world, and only a few people knew about it. Whenever people thought I was "shy," it was actually because I had nothing to give to their worlds.
When I went to college, I opened my world to others a little more, because I came to the realization that we are all weird in our own ways, which makes us the same, in a sense. By finding this common ground, I was able to accept others for who they are, thus making me open to new ideas and ways of thinking. But I still only had a limited amount of energy to give out.
As a recluse, people often attribute others like me as "shy," but when given the opportune moment to speak, I choose my words carefully and I'll speak with quality, not quantity. This is why I enjoy having meaningful conversations with others, and also why I despise chit-chat and meaningless banter. The worst thing (in my opinion) is when people greet me with, "how's it going," to which I reply, "we doing good," or, "it's all good," which throws the conversation away from myself.
So don't mistake my quietness for shyness. I have plenty of quality subjects to discuss, but I do have my limits. Sometimes, after a long day, I need to "recharge" my energy by retreating to myself. There have been times when I turn down gatherings with friends because I have no more energy to give out, and I understand how bad this seems when I tell dear friends of mine that I need to be alone for awhile.
The perfect friend would hang out with me and understand my introverted nature, and would spend time with me in solitude. We would acknowledge each other's presence, but we would be alone, together.