Here’s the thing:
We live in an “extroverted culture.”
The ideal is to be outgoing, friendly, spontaneous, bold.
If you’re none of that, you’re called anti-social.
Yup, that’s what society would like you to believe about introverts.
By definition, an introvert is someone “characterized by a preference for subdued and solitary experiences.”
Which, quite honestly, is only slightly true.
Introverts are not loners or anti-social. We don’t hate people.
Introverts simply energize themselves by being alone with their thoughts and seeking deeper connection with others.
Read these seven reasons why our choice to be alone is often a direct result of our desire to be socially engaged.
1. “Five minutes of social life takes up an hour of analysis”
Introverts need to recharge themselves using solitude because we like to analyze the details of what happens at social gatherings.
As it was beautifully put by The Book of Life: “We need to be alone because life among other people unfolds too quickly. The pace is relentless: the jokes, the insights, the excitements. There can sometimes be enough in five minutes of social life to take up an hour of analysis.”
2. We need time with our own thoughts
At one point in a social interaction, we need to withdraw and be with our own thoughts. This doesn’t mean we don’t value our friendships; rather, time spent alone helps us better understand ourselves:
“At a certain point, we have had enough of conversations that take us away from our own thought processes, enough of external demands that stop us heeding our inner tremors, enough of the pressure for superficial cheerfulness that denies the legitimacy of our latent inner melancholy – and enough of robust common-sense that flattens our peculiarities and less well-charted appetites.”
3. We take people seriously
Again, our eloquent writer: “We, the ones who are asphyxiated without periods by ourselves, take other people very seriously – perhaps more seriously than those in the uncomplicated ranks of the endlessly gregarious. We listen closely to stories, we give ourselves to others, we respond with emotion and empathy.”
Here’s the key point:
It’s simply impossible to digest everything that’s been said, and we really want to do this.
We want to process everything that’s happened.
We take people seriously, along with every interaction at our social gatherings.
4. Being on our own enhances our appreciation of others
By retreating into ourselves, we give the impression that we reject others and their company.
But just the opposite is true: in withdrawing to digest, we show our deep appreciation for social connection with others.
Self-reflection teaches us gratitude. And we are grateful for the few connections we do have because we believe they are made genuinely.
5. Alone time is when you’re most creative
It is by withdrawing into ourselves that we become more of ourselves. This is the place where original thoughts are spawned, where we discover our own perspective on things.
It’s the birthplace of creativity. Being alone makes us more productive, inspired, and passionate.
This makes us a more unique human being.
We are able to make more out of life. Thus, we are able to give more.
That results in us having more to offer our friendship.
6. You become better friends by spending time alone
“We’re drawn to solitude not because we despise humanity but because we are properly responsive to what the company of others entails. Extensive stretches of being alone may in reality be a precondition for knowing how to be a better friend and a properly attentive companion.”
The novelist, poet, and environmental activist Wendell Berry beautifully explains the benefits of being alone:
“We enter solitude, in which also we lose loneliness… True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible. One feels the attraction of one’s most intimate sources. In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives. The more coherent one becomes within oneself as a creature, the more fully one enters into the communion of all creatures.”
7. Solitude allows us to live highly-authentic lives
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Being alone gives us plenty of time for introspection. We are able to assess what we truly think of the world and how we want to live.
This allows us to live truly authentic lives. We are good at choosing the right things and the right people to let in.
In that sense, introverts are truly social beings. We love being with people who inspire us and lift us up.
It’s all about quality, not quantity.
(If you’d like to learn how to live an authentic life, check out our free video training with the shaman Rudá Iandê: How to live your life “out of the box”.)
8. There’s satisfaction in simply being surrounded by a group of people
Just because introverts don’t command the room, doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy being in it.
Usually, when we’re in a social setting, we don’t find the need to be talkative because we enjoy doing other things instead—observing, listening, and just relishing the feeling of being there.
You may think we look alone in a crowded room. However, we’re anything but.
For introverts, there’s a certain satisfaction of just being in a room full of people.
9. Life is a lot more fun when you’re not scared of being alone
Introverts aren’t scared of being alone, which can mean a lot of perks.
We’re not scared of traveling another country alone. We don’t mind going to the movies alone or eating by ourselves in a restaurant.
We feel no pressure for being social all the time.
And to be honest, it’s quite a lot of fun.
Instead of worrying about whether or not we meet people, we just do things in spite of being alone.
I think that makes us more fearless than most people.
10. Being comfortable in ourselves makes us great leaders
Hear me out:
There’s a huge misconception that introverts don’t make great leaders or CEOs.
That’s couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, a study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that companies with introverted CEOs were more successful than those led by extroverts.
Of course, there’s no use confusing correlation with causation. Nobody’s saying only introverts or extroverts should lead for that matter.
But it does make sense.
They say that there is no lonelier position than being a leader. It can be alienating when you’re trying to lead people.
However, introverts don’t mind being alone and distancing themselves from others professionally. It only makes sense that we’re effective leaders that way.
11. Being alone allows us to have more to say
People think introverts are quiet because we have nothing to say.
In truth, we have plenty to say.
But if it’s not the right thing to say at the right moment, we would rather not say anything at all.
Furthermore, we just enjoy the stimuli of listening. We like to digest the conversation so that when we do participate, we can add something good to the talk.
When introverts open up to someone, it’s like the ocean opening up. We have so many things to share and we are not afraid to share them.
12. We understand the power of human connection from being alone
In these words by the poet, novelist, essayist, and diarist May Sarton in her Journal of a Solitude we understand the need for connection through spending time in solitude:
“I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my ‘real’ life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened.
“Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone…”
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