Sunday, June 8, 2014

how to care for an introvert

i always thought i knew what an introvert was...

throughout my life as a social being, i thought an introvert was someone who was shy, nervous, or anxious.  i had always considered them to be someone who just needed help loosening up at a party, or someone who needed help working a crowd, someone who needed encouraging to make new friends....

but i was wrong...
and this realization is the one of the most eye-opening lesson that i have learned as a mother !

carol bainbridge writes ...
" while in introvert may also be shy, 
introversion itself is not shyness.  
basically an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone
and whose energy is drained by being around other people."

"introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind.
they enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings.  
they often avoid social situations because 
being around people drains their energy.  
this is true even if they have good social skills.  
after being with people for any length of time, 
such as a party, they need time alone to recharge"

when i read this, suddenly everything made sense!!!

there are four of us in our family... 
i had always thought of us as extroverts with one of us being a little shy.
we did and still do a lot of socializing as a family.  we were involved with a cooperative preschool, enrolled in numerous camps, joined scouts, cubs, brownies, guides, played and coached soccer, dance, tennis, karate.. we enjoy visiting family and friends and also enjoy entertaining them at our home.

but one of us... always needed alone time.
after a social activity or a get together, 
i noticed that while one child was immediately begging for a longer or another playdate, 
the other one needed to retreat to the bedroom and close the door.

it became more obvious when they reached their teens
and started to schedule their own social lives.  
immediately after coming home from a party or social event, 
one will ask permission to go to another for the next day, 
while the other declares..." i'm NOT going to another party for a year !"

this baffled me...
it concerned me.. (i thought my child was going through depression)
i did everything a parent could do to turn my child around...
 ie:  registered them for more lessons and camps,
encouraged them to make more friends, etc....

it was disastrous... 
because the more i pushed, the more my child pushed back 
(typical drama for moms with teenagers...)

until i came to understand what an introvert really was...


carol bainbridge continues...
 "when introverts want to be alone, 
it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. 
 it means that they either need to regain their energy 
from being around people or 
that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts.  
being with people, 
even people they like and are comfortable with, 
can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective."

you really do learn something new everyday...
and the things that you need (ie solutions) and want (ie.some tools, suggestions to work with)
really do fall on your lap if you train yourself to become aware of them ...

my husband and i were out on a date at one of our favourite coffee houses one weekend,
when beside our corner table, tacked on the wall was this poster..

how serendipitous was that?

this poster and its suggestions changed how i interact with my child 
and any person with a strong need to be alone.
they totally make sense to me, most helpful in my situation is number twelve !!!

there is a lot more i have to learn in this life
but this was definitely a great lesson i learned and must share...



  1. What an interesting post Erica! I consider myself an introvert, but wasn't aware of it until I entered my 30s. Before that I actually sometimes thought something was wrong with me - don't feel bad about trying to help your child! Strangely enough, introversion is something that is not talked about too much, or you and I would have recognized it way sooner.
    That definition is spot on: "an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people". So true!

    1. thanks Miriam... and yes, the whole concept of energy depletion really cleared things up for me.

  2. Very good explanation of an introvert! I'm a ENTJ, so I'm pretty opposite. I could definitely see having the same instinct as you to schedule activities.

    1. i'm a total extrovert too... but lately, i love quiet time so i can read and blog

  3. I'm an introvert, but people always think I'm an extrovert based on your initial thought of what it was. I definitely need that quiet time alone to recharge and balance myself.

    Found you through the link up!

    1. glad you found me... aren't link ups great... will check your blog too

  4. I'm an introvert. A lot of people call me shy or aloof. Which, in a way I am. But, I don't like big crowds and people who talk all the time completely drain my energy. I do have anxiety and social phobia so I know apart of it is due to these issues but I have always been a loner. I have two friends who I really talk to and open up to. I tried having a lot of friends when I was younger and it just didn't work out for me. I am kind of an old soul so I actually tend to get along with older people then people my own age. Plus, most people my age want to go out and party and drink and that is not me at all. I would much rather stay home and rent a movie and relax after working all week.

    1. i love old souls... one of my best friends is one...she calms me and is always showing me a different perspective on life... thanks for stopping by


thank you for your kind words... they really do make my day !!!