introvert corner: why even though there are so few friends i'm happy
I am an ambivert (has both introverted and extroverted characteristics). While I value alone time, I also enjoy talking to people. I have no problem calling a friend to strike up a conversation (whereas most introverts prefer texting).
I can't remember being in a situation where I wasn't surrounded by friends. However, throughout my life, I have always questioned the reasons behind being friends with certain people.
So do other introverts. We can't have friends just to make small talk because we value the depth and meaning of a relationship. A "true" friend makes us 100% comfortable around them.
In essence, we tend to value quality over quantity. That's why introverts can't automatically friend someone based on a connection with another friend or similar interest. Sure, they can become acquaintances, but not necessarily friends.
Definition of "friends" of introverts
For introverts, the word "friends" is honorable. Someone we call a friend is very special to us. They are the ones we have let into our private and deep inner world.
Meanwhile, the extroverts I know seem to regard everyone as friends. They may meet someone once and call them friends. They always talk about "my friend" who did this and "my friend" who worked here and there. As an introvert, I always ask myself: Well, are they really your friends?
Extroverts often have a lot of friends. Casual friends, close friends, colleagues, schoolmates, friends in the show they did 10 years ago—the more the fun.
However, as an introvert, I make friends the opposite way.
I could spend months analyzing specific people I've met, wondering if I consider them a potential close friend. Do they and I want to sit and talk about meaningful stories together? Are they someone I can trust and who supports me? And do they mind if I want to hang out alone sometimes?
Only certain people will "make the list"
Because "quiet people" like us can spend too much time analyzing whether someone has the potential to make friends. So only a handful of people actually made the list.
This can make us seem unfriendly or unwilling to make the effort to make friends with others. But the truth is that we have prerequisites for making friends and prefer to have a closer group of friends. Even though this group is extremely small.
But in return, we get to know our best friends inside and out, just as they do about us. For example, if I have a list of 10 important facts about myself, I hope that whoever I call you will know them all. They will also sense my mood at each moment, can tell when I am sad, happy or normal.
Since introverts tend to like close-knit groups of friends together, we are also extremely relaxed and able to be ourselves when we are together.
During some very difficult times of my life, I took refuge in these friends — and vice versa. Close friends allow us to rely on and support each other through all the sad and joyful moments of life.
Growing up, I felt pressured by society to be "herded" and "famous."
When we grow up, many people are told that being known by society is famous and being famous is synonymous with success. So I try to meet societal expectations: I form large groups of friends and exhaust myself with endless social interactions within that large group, I don't even know anything about some of them.
For me, alcohol has become a social medicine that helps me "pretend until I succeed." Only, all those pretenses made me realize that I was tired of faking. Every time I took a sip of my cocktail, my brain begged to leave so I could curl up in bed, completely exhausted from fake etiquette.
I just wanted to be at a party with a lot of acquaintances, smiling through an informal conversation.
And let's be clear, it's not that introverts don't like to party. Sometimes we can get involved when in the right mood or when there's a good reason to attend. I love a little gathering with my best friends... or a friend... or maybe no friends (a favorite book or TV show instead).
Now, I happily accept my small circle of friends
As I got older, I felt I crossed this fine line when I didn't want to alienate everyone in my life. But I also don't want to spend a lot of time and energy with anyone I can't consider my best friend. I feel like my choice of friends has been perfected over the years. Because I know what kind of person will really "understand" me.
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