I am an introvert. People are often surprised by that fact because I’m outgoing, enjoy speaking in public, and know a lot of people. In fact, sometimes people are so surprised that when I tell them I just want to spend a quiet night at home or go to a movie by myself, they think I’m mad at them or that I’m “depressed.” Those things are just not true.

Introvert B3 by Hartwig HKD

I just really need time by myself. I’ve learned over the course of my life to honor who I am and do what I need to do to care for myself.

But introverts are hard for some people to understand, so here are a few things that might help:

Being an introvert does not mean I’m shy. “Shy” means a person is “shy.” Introverted means that a person is drained, rather than recharged by being around other people.

Being an introvert does not mean I have stage fright. I speak in public a lot, and I’m just used to it. I actually like the opportunity to speak because those opportunities usually come when I’m talking about passions of mine – writing, literature, and fighting cancer.

Being an introvert does not mean I avoid human contact. I LOVE people. I love people in person. I love people online. I really do love people.

Being an introvert DOES mean that interaction with other people drains me. After a day of meetings or at a fair, I am exhausted. I just need time to recharge and rest, not because I loathed my time with people but because, for whatever reason, the way I’m built means that I give a lot more energy than I get in human interaction. This fact makes me sad sometimes because I wish I could spend whole weekends with people and come out recharged, fresh, ready to go. But that’s just not the way I’m built.

My introversion is just another way I know I’m built to be a writer. My chance to be with people is special; I value every one of those moments. But to savor those well, to appreciate them, to be pleasant and not grumpy, those moments have to be more rare for me than for some people. After a day of people time, there is nothing better for me than a day in my farmhouse with coffee, a pooch, and some cats. I get fed from that time.

So for the sake of the introverts in our lives, let’s all remember that it isn’t about being anti-social or even shy. Our desire to be alone is just about wanting to be our best selves when we get to spend time with other people.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you drained by time with people or recharged by it?