I have what I like to call the ‘Alice-in-Wonderland Syndrome.’ In a world ruled by extroverts and their common sense, I feel very much lost. It’s like I’m playing hockey while everyone else is playing curling, and I have yet to figure out the rules. If only extroverts were aware of their instinctive knowledge and share them with me, I could play the game too.
We introverts live in a world where we have to always be ready to party; welcome people into every aspect of our day when asked, “what did you do this weekend?” and be glad to see someone even when all we want is to be alone. For those who have the Alice-in-Wonderland Syndrome, we are a bitch if we don’t play by these rules. We are crazy. The Cheshire Cat was right about this one when he was trying to tell Alice what crazy was. We introverts are the ones that purr when society thinks we should wag our tails. We flick our tails when society thinks we should growl.
“To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog’s not mad. You grant that?”
“I suppose so,” said Alice.
“Well, then,” the Cat went on, “you see a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I am mad.”
Translation: Because we don’t jump up and down when friends want to hang out all day every day, there’s something wrong with us.
Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way. And by the way, no extrovert thinks they are mad. They think I am.
I’ve grown accustomed to this. “Checked out,” “Uninvested,” and “Antisocial” are just a few of the words coworkers use to describe me on a bad day. Most of the time I’m just thinking or trying to be efficient. Apparently, every extrovert knows the rule instinctively and can play it out without a second thought.
Here Are Some Tips For Introverts
1. First and foremost, do not feel the need to change yourself.
You are entitled to be an introvert without feeling ashamed! Trust me if you fake too much, you get tired and then you will be mad at the world. Feeling proud to be you is the best thing you can add to your long-term and short-term happiness.
2. Learn to recognize people who would understand.
They will know that what you are saying is not a declaration of hatred for the world, just a matter of preference. If you know some people that will take it the wrong way, find a way to decline invitations without sounding blunt. Sugar coat some. Even an “I don’t hate you” goes a long way. Own your introversion, responsibly.
I wish I knew how to be discreet when I was in middle school. I declared without any hesitation that I could survive in a world without people in it and that I would definitely be okay. My friends all stared at me over their pizza and fries like I was a lunatic. The timing was bad. Here I was sitting with my friends essentially saying that I did not want their company in the long run. This was not true, but all my extroverted and introverted friends thought it was. What I meant to say was, ‘I would be lonely, but I am independent with my happiness.’ I do not feel the need to be clingy to feel happy. They forgave me so it worked out in the end, but I learned my lesson.
3. Make sure to get some “you” time before your batteries are depleted.
Going to an outing with low energy will exhaust you and make you seem like a party pooper. Plan something exciting before or after, like reading your favorite book with a heaping pot of your favorite Italian dish.
4. Many introverts have the biggest Resting Bitch Face when they walk into a room.
Trust me, I should know. Control it! Think of the door frame as a stage. When you pass through you have arrived, like a neo-Audrey Hepburn. Smile! Give yourself a mental pep talk if needs be, but do it. You will leave a better impression.
These tips are not all inclusive but they are the starting point to inviting extroverts (and even other introverts) in and actually being happy with it. They will erase the majority of the awkwardness of social settings and keep your mind focused on the present. There’s nothing worse than realizing you were not listening to the conversation because you were exhausted from being around them.
Remember, never feel bad that you are an introvert! Just because you do not like to network, it does not mean you are bad at it. Do not be afraid. Some of us are actually rather fantastic at it. Do not forget all the accomplishments you have achieved! We had to fight to be in Wonderland and survived. Be proud. Now go get ’em!