I'm an introvert. Probably the most stereotypical introvert you can think of. INFJ. Only child to introverted parents. Hermit. My bed is my favorite place. I love silence. The ringing of a phone/doorbell is the worst noise ever. Small talk makes me barf. Groups of people make me angry. Being around anyone other than my family drains me physically and mentally.
So, you'd think that I never get lonely, right? Wrong. Sometimes I need to get out of my own head and be out in the world. I see people hanging out with friends and I think, "I want to do that!" I have many amazing online friends, some that I talk to every single day. But there's a unique and particular connection that's missing, I think, when you can't see a person's eyes and be seen by them, too.
Last week, I went downtown to our historic district with my friend so that we could take photos to use for social media and blog stuff (#basic). And it was so much fun. It felt good to laugh and to get outside and enjoy the presence of another person, one that I didn't give birth to or marry.
It doesn't happen often, but I do get lonely. I'm usually in my own little world and then six months will go by and I'll feel lonely and want to hang out with friends. I rarely ever reach out to anyone in the in-between times, though, because it truly doesn't cross my mind. And I've lost friendships over it because they thought I was being selfish and uncaring. But the truth is that my people battery gets recharged quickly and lasts a long time. I'd make a killer cell phone... Whatever, you get what I mean.
It's hard to be an introvert because I feel like we always have conflicting desires about other people. Here are some examples:
I want you to invite me. But I want you to not be offended when I don't actually come (which is 95% of the time) or if I leave early (especially if it's a gathering of some sort).
I want to hang out with you. But every once in a while, and only for a short period of time. (One of my introverted friends and I talk about this often - that it'd be fun to have a girls' trip where we go someplace quiet, stay in our [separate] hotel rooms all day reading or writing or napping. And then meet up for meal times or shopping and then go back to our rooms. Ahhh, bliss.)
I want to talk to you. But only via text or email.
I want you to know that I'm thinking of you. But I probably won't get around to actually telling you because it will start a whole long conversation that I don't have the energy for. So I just "like" your photos on Instagram and keep it moving.
I want to tell you what's going on with me. But I don't want to bother you. And I hate talking about myself or having to explain stuff.
I am lonely. But being around people (even lovely, kind ones) is hard and exhausting.
So, if I show up when you invite me, I hang out with you longer than the amount of time for a coffee or lunch, I talk to you on the phone or in person, I actually tell you stuff that's bothering me and tell you that I'm thinking about you... you just might be my husband or my father. Hi, guys! Haha.
I'm joking, but only slightly. I know it sounds ridiculous and antisocial. I get that a lot. But it's not meant to be. It's just how I am. The point is this: introverts do get lonely. We are very sensitive and empathetic and care very much about the people in our lives - even if it doesn't seem like it.
So, if you haven't heard from your introverted friends lately, drop them a line. Go crazy and invite them somewhere even. And when they profusely thank you for the invitation and then politely decline to attend, smile and know that your introvert does love you. In their own way and on their own time.