Does it ever get any better?

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Orientalist
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Does it ever get any better?

Postby Orientalist » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:38 pm

I notice we have quite a few relatively young members here, either at school or in their 20s, and some must be wondering whether the problems of introversion ever diminish. Well, the short answer is "Yes," as time goes by you learn various strategies for coping and for arranging your life for minimum social stress.

Here's a few tips on what worked for me, and what didn't. We are all different, so they may not work for you, but they may give you some ideas.

I left school as soon as I could, which was at about 19, and left my home town not long after. The advantage was I didn't have anyone telling me what to do and I didn't have to conform to anyone's expectations. The disadvantage was that in moving to a big city (more jobs) I found it incredibly difficult to make friends and therefore very lonely. In your home town, you may not have real friends, but you'll have acquaintances and you have family. In retrospect, I'd have been better off staying in my home town - but not with family - a few more years or going to university.

After a few years of not knowing what I wanted to do work-wise, I got into computers. Engineering and programming are favourite occupations for introverts because you can spend a lot of time alone and generally don't have to deal with people too much. As an introvert, try and tailor your career to something where you won't have to interact with customers or the public. Lots of accounting staff seem to be introverts, for example. But there are plenty of other occupations that will work, from postman to Internet entrepreneur.

I never identified as an introvert. I didn't go around saying I can't do this or that "because I'm an introvert." People will probably think you are making it up. Extroverts seem unable to imagine what being introverted is like, so they simply refuse to accept it. Whenever someone asked me to do something I didn't want to (usually at work), like public speaking, I would give them a very specific answer: "Sorry that just isn't something I can do, my mind will freeze, I'll go off topic and start waffling and I'll embarrass the company." It didn't always work, but at least people believed me. Also, if forced to do stuff like this, a lot of preparation can help, as well not caring how things were done by others.

At one time I was frequently asked to give speeches at weddings. In the end I wrote the speech down word for word and just read it when I had to without looking up.

If you can possibly find a group of people with your interests, participate. It'll be easier than socializing with people in general. If you get stuck at parties or get-togethers, find someone with similar interests and stick to them the whole time.

I've never tried a self-help program. They are usually designed to increase confidence. Maybe they can help, maybe not. But you may find a particular system or way of living that helps with social stress. For me it was Buddhism - the original Theravada Buddhism. Buddhism is all about reducing stress/anxiety/dissatisfaction by letting go of things we are attached to. It's a slow process but it works. And you don't need to join a community to do it.

Lastly, find the love of your life and don't let him/her go. If you go through life without close friends, the right partner can provide that missing friendship as well as the romance.
If the truth hurts, you ain't livin' right.

leonine03
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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby leonine03 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:18 am

Thanks for this post. I have just started a new job where everyone seems to be an extrovert and I am struggling to accept myself as I am because I do not "fit in". I am generally very confident so most people don't realise that I am actually an introvert - they sometimes mistake it as arrogance so I do hope it gets better.

I have a husband who tries to be supportive and a friend who is very similar (he is in a different country now though) so I can reach out to them if it is really getting to me.

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Orientalist
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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby Orientalist » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:00 pm

Good luck with the new job. This can be a bit traumatic.
If the truth hurts, you ain't livin' right.

tongue35
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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby tongue35 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:17 pm

Hmm I think with time an introverts life will generally get better as he/she will accept himself much more and will not face as much peer pressure to socialize..I still find living an introverts life to be quite challenging..

leonine03
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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby leonine03 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:42 am

I tried to "fit in" when I first started. Luckily for me I joined in the very busy period of the company so I didn't have too much time to worry about not being as chatty as the other girls. However, work's slowed down now and there is much more time for all the girls to talk about everything under the sun ... which I find rather out of my remit. I can talk if I have to but endlessly chatting about things just for the heck of it is just so exhausting .... I don't want to be rude but I am afraid I am coming across as distant and aloof!

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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby Raincloud » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:26 pm

I think that for me (now 59) what's gotten better is my realization that I am an introvert (which happened in my 30s, though my understanding of what it means has expanded since then) has helped me understand myself and my limitations and needs much better than when I was young and thought I was some kind of freak, and had plenty of other people attempting to validate that thought, treating me like there was something wrong with me.

Now I know I have to go at my own pace socially and if someone doesn't get that, it's their problem. I no longer let it be mine. I'm willing to explain to people that I'm an introvert, but beyond that I make no excuses. If someone can't learn to work with me on that, I really don't have time for them in my life. I used to be so passive and let people walk all over me about socializing. No more.

That doesn't mean I don't have problems being an introvert, or that it doesn't hold me back in some ways in this extroverted world, but I'm much more forgiving of myself and comfortable in my own skin, and that makes so much difference.

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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby nicoclone » Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:58 pm

Ok, when you graduated, one thing for sure is freedom but when you are slacking off, actually you will just be getting lame and lame since you are still not aware of the fact that your real life (challenge) is just about to begin and when you are getting hindrance on your way, you will start to realise that life is just not getting better after you are freed from prison for introvert (school) lol. Example, when i go to renowned college in my country since i'm nerdy introvert, i feel proud at first but when i arrived at the university, i realised i have to be alone from now on and i am separated by sea to my beloved city and family. Then, you will begin to cherish how important your own family since you are an introvert. Then, you will drop out for some reason since it is just hard to be alone and doing stuff by yourself. In my case, my university's orientation is like this. Senior bullying their junior for one whole semester and as an introvert, you will be the first one to lose in war and drop out. Then, people you know will start looking down on you even your own family do it. Then, you will start thinking it is better living in a prison rather than be free. And sometime you are just wondering what the reason you have been kept alive by your parent this whole time, maybe you will try to drink fruit-flavored baygon (insectiside in case you dont know) in this state until you find some purpose to still continue from your game over state to restart from beginning again. Like me, i find that i like to make story and has high imagination and i'm also a gamer in my heart, so i begin to learning stuff related to game-developing since i want to be a success game developer. That's my life story. I'm working now as a teacher lol even though i'm an introvert lol. It is also part of my reason why my parent especially my dad is just looking down on me because i'm just socially impaled even after i am a teacher. Is job as a teacher just be looked down by society??

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Orientalist
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Re: Does it ever get any better?

Postby Orientalist » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:42 am

Here in the Asia, teachers are looked up to in society even if their salary is low.

I also considered school a prison. I then considered my home a prison (even though I had loving parents), then my home town, then my country. I remember thinking that I was different from everyone else and that I would find like-minded people in the capital city. But after I moved there, I found it was a very lonely place and the few "friends" I found were from my home town! For introverts, it's probably better to be a big fish in a small bowl than a small fish in a big bowl. It comes down to a trade-off between loneliness and icky socializing.
If the truth hurts, you ain't livin' right.


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