When I define myself as an introvert it seems to really surprise people, particularly those people who know me primarily online via Facebook or this blog. I can understand this perception… I’m obviously comfortable naked (particularly in public), I share my intimate experiences, I very vocally advocate for non-traditional relationships, and I fully participate in communities like Burning Man. I’m not a shy person usually, particularly if I am even remotely comfortable, but I am still an introvert.
Introverts are not defined by how active they are in public, it is all about how they get energized. I get exhausted when interacting with strangers, particularly when there is small talk involved, so I hate “mixers”, networking, happy hours, and any other form of forced association with people I don’t know. I am not a fan of dancing or clubs, even bars tend to drain me unless I am with close friends. One night out a week is plenty for me and I would rather lounge at home watching Netflix or reading than go out… but I have also found a way to be an introvert but be social and lose the shyness when in public.
The most important thing for me is to have close friends I can retreat to even in social environments. Yes, I did a naked bike ride, but I did it with my partner and one of my best friends and the entire time I hung out with them. Yes, I share moments I have but these moments are with people I love and I share them on the internet but I can control what feedback I get in these venues. I need the people I am closest to around me, I would be lost and exhausted and anxious without them. My dearest open-minded friends are now geographically close to me which is part of the reason you don’t see many events like the ones above from my time in Washington DC.
Another tool in my “I’m introverted but want to get out there and have adventures” is a having a distraction. I don’t like dancing when people can see my face but if I have a firestaff, a mask on, or some sort of LED tool that distracts it helps me break out of my shell. While logically I realize on a logical level that on a dance floor or out on the Playa I am hardly the focus of attention for anyone it still helps me to have a distraction that is within my control… the whole experience drains me less when the focus isn’t on me. Actually, in retrospect this paragraph is more about shyness than introversion but I wrote it so I might as well leave it…. maybe someone will get some value out of it.
As an introvert I store energy by being alone, I stay energy “neutral” when with close trusted friends, and I exert a lot of energy when dealing with strangers. Now, it doesn’t take long for some people to move from stranger to close friend, but my close friend circle still stays small in numbers. That is just how I operate, I may not understand extroverts who love going out nightly to happy hours or want to talk when they get home from work, but the beauty of this world is the diversity and I don’t need to understand. Extroverts create beauty, just like introverts do, and if we can respect our different ways of processing energy I think we can all learn from each other.
High-five from one introvert to another! We are a commonly misunderstood bunch, but this article does well to explain us! Thank you!
I’m glad you liked it. I just checked out your blog and I love it. My partner and I are doing a 12-18 month bicycle ride around the US and Canada next year and love reading about other cyclists. Chicago is one of our stops along the way, neither of us have been before but it seems like a cool city.
REALLY?! How? I just looked at all your routes, but, I mean, how did you figure out all the logistics to do that? We actually want to do the same thing but feel so lost as to how to start! (For one…cost? money?) We are even working hard to get our dog loving his trailer because it’ll be all 3 of us
I learned a lot of lessons when I rode from DC to Los Angeles last summer. Really it just comes down to being flexible with your schedule and taking it day by day. Our route is very tentative and it is likely things will change on a daily basis due to road conditions, weather, or just cool stuff we may want to see. Using Google Maps bike routes help a lot of the time and Couchsurfing.com provides a great resource to save money. We plan on camping, couch surfing, or staying with friends the whole way to keep the costs as low as possible. With bike repair, food, and camping expenses it looks like it will cost us about $600 each per month (we are saving now) but I think we could go cheaper if we really tried.
Hi again! I see, so this wont be your first big tour. Very cool $600/month seems doable. We are starting to save now as well, and are going to start learning how to camp to keep down the costs. My main concern is paying off student loans while on the road. Lots of savings, but I’m wondering about trying to find work that I can do on the road. Will either of you be working? … Sorry for all the questions. Maybe these would be good blog posts and I can stop taking up all your comments space 😛
I can relate, I am still paying off a ton of student loans too. I’m hoping to find some stuff to earn money on the road but I haven’t really looked into it much. Ideally we could find a way to make money and ride indefinitely.
I probably will do a blog post about this, I have several in mind about biking that I need to stop slacking and write. Oh well, a comment place is as good as any. If you have questions though you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or add me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pneiger) if that is easier.
I hope you are both able to have an adventure like this. Besides my first time at Burning Man the cross country ride was the most life changing event of my life.