The Introvert's Corner

How to live a quiet life in a noisy world

Wise Words From Fellow Introverts

Wisdom drawn from comments posted in The Introverts Corner.

Photo by striatic via Flickr (Creative Commons).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/striatic/1629254/
While I get to slap my name and mugshot on this blog, it's you readers who really make it hum. I do read everyone's comments and find all sorts of wonderful wisdom and wit in them. So today, I thought I'd pass along a small number of useful excerpts (edited for space) from some of the hundreds of comments you have posted here.

Thank you, everyone, for your contributions. I consider them a most generous gift.

On being you

There is no point in trying to spend your life making, or trying to keep, other people happy because you will usually fail anyway. Decide what makes you happy and then do it. People who class themselves as "friends" but expect you to be miserable for their benefit we can all live without.--Mike Craggs

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...explain your introversion and your need for solitude, rather than coming up with various excuses. America is an extroverted society, and it is likely that introverts suffer at least some discrimination as a result... it really isn't effective to address discrimination by making excuses; you need to tell people what it is you expect from them, even if they don't agree with you.--Alan

My son is the child of 2 introverts, and he realized his own introversion early. In preschool, his teacher reported her concern to me that he was not interacting with other children...and she was concerned he might be feeling alone and isolated. When I asked him about it, he said, " no Mama, I Love being alone!"--Anonymous

On friends

For many years book clubs or readers groups at a local book store/library have been the key for the introverted ladies of my family to make new friends. They usually have very small memberships, don't last too long and, well, offer an opportunity to break away into rows of browse-able bookshelves before and after--Merritt

While I have to agree with some of the comments about not desiring large numbers of friends or actively seeking new friends I do have to say that it is important to always keep the door open for new, potential friends that may unexpectedly walk into your life.--Anonymous

HOW TO EDIT MY FACEBOOK "FRIENDS" LIST
Have I had any substantive communication with this person in the past 6 months? If yes, keep. If no, ask:
Am I interested in hearing about what is going on currently in this person's life? If yes, keep. If no, ask:
Do I believe this person can add to my life in a positive way now or in the future? If yes, keep. If no, ask:
Is this person a member of my family? If yes, keep. If no, DELETE!--amplifier76

On Parties

...find a comfortable spot and settle in. the kitchen is my favorite: almost everybody will find their way in at some point...also, after a few minutes i know where things are and i can be helpful to drink/glass/ice seekers, which allows me to be part of things without feeling overwhelmed.--anonymous

At my last high school reunion, I appointed myself the unofficial photographer and had a blast.-anonymous

...just wandering, if it's a large party, is a good way to sort of remove myself. I'm still around people but I'm not forced to try to engage in any conversation unless I want to.--tracy

...I find the hostess, usually a good friend if I've been invited, and ask what I can do to help. Somehow, keeping my hands moving ...for at least the first hour or so lets me ease into the scene. It also allows for mingling without getting "stuck" ("have to replenish the tray, be right back" but then move on) and it helps my hostess.--Martie

On introvert fun

...I love rock climbing. It's just you and your thoughts. Plus, the higher up you get, the less tempted your belayer is to talk to you :) --Anne

Long drives down the interstates are good too, even here in the boring Midwest. As long as the traffic isn't too heavy, it's easy driving and you can relax a bit and enjoy the scenery.--Alan

I love love love getting those little red envelopes in the mail from Netflix and watching like 4 hours of a favorite tv show ... or all 6 hours of pride and predjudice in a row without any interruptions. --JackieM

When I was a child I spent many wonderful hours, alone in my bedroom, building model cars and trucks. Now I love spending many solitary hours tinkering in the garage.--Anonymous

I like spending hours cooking something creative--Christy

...being nocturnal...lot of people seem to assume when you say you like to stay up late that you like to go out partying late, but not me!... I'll come home 'early' claiming that I'm tired, only to feel completely rejuvenated after some time at home, and then I stay up till 6am in my dim comfortable quiet setting.--Aelthwyn

On the telephone

.the answer to "Whatcha doing" is "I'm talking to you!"--Tiphane

My mantra is: Just because the phone rings does not mean it has to be answered.--Jen

People are either amused or amazed that I will not answer my phone mid-conversation. I was always taught to not interrupt others, and so I apply the same rule to my phone..--Jonathan

Most of my friends lovingly tease me about hating the phone so much and texting has become our primary tool for communication. Because of this I know that if one of my close friends is calling it's because it's actually important ... Also, my mother is an introvert as well and detests the phone but... we have an agreement to talk on the phone about once a week. There is inevitably a point at which all the catching up has happened...[we] will literally say to one another "I'm done being on the phone now so I'm going to go, but we'll check in again next week?" It is such a relief to be able to be this honest...I've begun to try this line with other people in my life and surprisingly, it's going over well. --HeatherT

On chitchat

...the person I am talking to is really the deciding factor in whether I will take part or not. If I'm talking to someone that I know somewhat and am interested in getting to know better than I will chit chat, no problem. Now, this does not mean that it isn't still exhausting and hard but if I see a possible benefit from doing it then why not?--Jennifer

If I'm drunk I can small talk, when sober it takes a great effort. The reason is that at some point when I'm small talking, I'll analyze the conversation and think "This is stupid, what the heck am I talking about? It's clearly unimportant." I then get self-conscious... so I clam up. When I'm drunk I assume the part of my brain that does the analyzing gets knocked offline first. When I'm sober I have to constantly tell myself that "It's not the content. It's the action.--Splint Chesthair

On love with an extrovert

...one thing I absolutely cannot stand is when he walks into a room where I am, with either the radio or the television on, and ... says, "What's this about?" I want to retort, "Just listen and you'll find out!". Fortunately most of the time I don't. But sometimes I do say, "Mmmm, don't know, I was lost in my thoughts." So he has to wait and listen if he wants to find out.--Toni McLean

Vacations are us-only. We can have a few long weekends a year where we visit and/or travel with friends, but the *real* vacations must be friend-free. We can have weekend guests once a month. (This is too much for me, but it's a compromise.)--Nina

When I am upset about something, he wants me to just say whatever I feel - just lay it out there. He doesn't understand that I need to process how I feel first and then put that into words. From his perspective, he thinks that I am shutting down and not willing to work on the issue. Over time, we've been able to adjust to each others styles. He gives me alone time to work the issue out first, and I try to verbalize what I'm thinking as much as possible--Anon

On chatterboxes

My coping mechanism for those who tell me their most intimate problems & secrets (it ranges from close friends to complete strangers) is that I view it as my service to humanity....I get to chalk up some good karma.--Jonathan

My best deterrent against particularly bothersome and insistent chatterboxes is to shovel their own medicine down their gullet. Rattle on with them like you're filibustering the Senate....--Emily

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Sophia Dembling is a widely published Dallas, Texas-based writer. Her latest book is The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.

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