Embracing Introversion and Being Boring

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Embracing Introversion and Being Boring

Do you ever feel like you’re boring?

Do you often feel drained of energy when you’re around other people for a long time?

If so, you might be an introvert (which you probably have been told before.) That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re socially inept, which is the good news.

I’m actually on the same boat as you.

Sure, sometimes I can be the most energetic person in the room and want to do “crazy” things, but often times I get drained too quickly just by being around other people. I’m not a marathon runner and I lack the endurance to keep up my pace.

The truth behind introversion and extraversion

The difference between an introvert and extravert often gets mixed up because people think the former can’t be a social butterfly and the word introversion is mistaken for anyone that is shy.

Some introverts are outgoing, but they’re like batteries that are drained when they’re around others and charge while alone.

Back when electronics used Nickel-Cadmium or Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, you had to be conscious about how you handled them. Those old batteries needed to be discharged to 0% on occasion to keep their full capacity (which is no longer the case with modern Lithium ion batteries, but that’s besides the point.)

Like the batteries of old, introverts need a specific manner of care and as an introvert, you need to know your limits and how you best operate.

This is why there are a lot of times I prefer my own company. I enjoy it because I’m able to dictate when to go out and have fun, as opposed to others insisting during times I don’t have too much energy in my reserve.

That actually made sense as to why I was much more energetic and social butterfly-esque back home in the states. I had a lot of extraverted friends, but I always had the excuse of work or homework to not go out on nights when I felt particularly drained of my batteries.

The nights I went out or planned something were when I was ready. It’s a little self-centered but necessary.

Introverts aren’t boring, but there’s no denying that we can appear that way at times to someone who either doesn’t understand introversion or doesn’t realize you are one.

The problem with the Philippines

The issue with me being out in the Philippines is the fact that there’s too much adventure and I just can’t keep up.

Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love the people here to death (even though sometimes the small things about this country gets under my skin.) But the problem is that I’m constantly stimulated by extraverts who want to have fun on a frequent basis, something I can’t do with consistency.

I live in a house with two extraverts so there’s never really any “me” time. That “me” time is what an introvert needs to recharge and get ready for serious fun. No wonder I haven’t been myself out here. It’s no one’s fault though and I’m working on figuring out how to find that alone time while I’m out here.

It’s good to remember it’s okay to be boring on occasion. Sometimes you won’t want to talk. Sometimes you won’t want to go out. Sometimes you’d rather stay home and watch a movie by yourself. That’s boring to some people, sure, but you don’t always have to be wild. Save it for when you have the energy to spend.

I’ve been beating myself up this month because I felt I was being boring and couldn’t figure out why. I thought I was just uncomfortable because I’m so far out of my element. It finally hit me when I remembered I’m an introvert.

When I remembered this I told a few people about what’s going on. They know to stop asking, “Are you okay?” a question that introverts often get when we’re feeling just fine.

Embracing introversion

The difficult part is not getting caught up in the fear that you’re boring. We all want to be interesting people with a life of adventure but not 24/7. You still can be a fun person but on your own time.

Accepting that you’re introverted is a great first step because then you can start figuring out how you best operate. Truthfully, I’m still in that process right now as I still haven’t found my natural rhythm yet.

Another important thing is to not say no too often when people ask you out. There will be plenty of times where you’re just not feeling it but say no 10 times in a row and no one will want to ask the 11th time only to get rejected.

I wish I could give more advice on introversion but I’m still figuring it out myself. Maybe in a way I’m asking you for help right now.

Fellow introverts, how do you best handle the energy drain when you’re out and about? Readers with introverted friends, what have you noticed about introversion?

Photo Credit: Gavin Bobo – Flickr

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway. After landing his dream job with Empire Flippers, he dropped out of college and began living a location independent lifestyle (still always drawn to coffee shops though.) Don't worry, he still publishes every Monday and hasn't missed a single week since starting this site in January 2013.

Latest posts by Vincent Nguyen (see all)

36 responses to Embracing Introversion and Being Boring

  1. I’m boring and I know it. I’m okay with that and I don’t care. Oh, but then again I can be a great conversationalist. Us writerly type tend to be able to share stories well.

  2. I’m in the same boat as well. Being an introvert isn’t bad. Like you said – we just get our energy from different places.

    Also I find that I favor small intimate settings instead of big ass parties with a bunch of people. Living with others can definitely change the game. But ultimately it comes down to having an open line of communication with those around you. By stating what you stated here, I’m sure those dudes will be cool with it.

    I’m going to be in a similar situation in two months so this post was super helpful!

    • Same, parties are draining and I can only keep up for short periods before I’m completely tired. Small get togethers are the best for me too.

      How do you deal with the expectation to always be loud and outgoing?

  3. I’ve always thought I was an extravert until I read an article on HuffPost and your article today validates it perfectly. I love being around people but I get tired easily and will always find a way to sneak out to recharge by myself. I don’t blame you about being in the Philippines. In fact, pretty much all of Asia is like that (I’m from Singapore). There’s always a constant need to be out there surrounded by people.

    People like us is scarce, Vincent, but I found a solution to this: hang out at places where you’ll meet like-minded people. Initially this will be hard, but I find going to a little mellowed bars with awesome live bands is where most introverts hang (9 out of 10 times it works for me). I did that and after a while, knowing these ‘same-types’ makes it easy for us to deal with the expectation of being loud and outgoing.

    I hope that helps and you’re enjoying your time in the Philippines!

    • That’s a great idea! I’ve never even thought about going to mellow places with the intention of being around similar people before. That seems so obvious now! Most places are a heavy mix between extraverts and introverts but places that attract the latter seem more attractive. I’ll give that a try once I find a great place. :)

  4. Now I understand why… haha.

    Don’t worry Vince, I completely understand you because I’m also an introvert, though it may not seem so obvious. Haha. At least once a week, I wake up early in the morning and jog alone in a reclaimed area (seawall “park”) near from home. If I don’t feel jogging, I’ll read a good book (mostly non-fics) instead while enjoying a cup of coffee early in the morning when nobody’s awake to disturb me. It doesn’t hurt me to eat lunch or dinner in a public area, or walk at the park or mall alone. Way back in college, an acquaintance felt sorry for me upon seeing me alone eating in the school cafeteria. She asked. “You okay?” and said that I might be having a hard time in college because I have no friends. LOL. I had the best friends in college but there are times that it just feels energizing to be alone.

    I totally agree that introversion is not equal to being not outgoing. And contrary to popular belief, the introverts are the most interesting people (also most fun) to be around because they are more insightful in most cases.

    There’s always a pressure that we should be interesting and not be boring. I personally experienced this when I was younger but realized that I will never be interesting unless I am interested with something. We should keep on searching and experiencing things that interests us.

    A spectrum describes introversion and extroversion well. I believe that each people has its own level of introversion/extroversion and everyone has its place in that spectrum.

    My advice? Hmmm… Take time to listen your self. Don’t rush things, you’ll discover your natural rhythm in time. Take time traveling alone around like you do. Look for an uncrowded coffee shop or a nearby park from home where you can easily have a ‘me’ time. :) And about you saying no for some of my invites? No pressure… But in case you need company, I’m just a beep away. Haha :D

    • Haha, I get asked “You okay?” at least 10,000 times a day. Last night I was at a party and I literally got asked “You okay?” every few minutes by different people (then multiple times by the same people.) It gets pretty annoying!

      I’m still trying to find that natural rhythm. Until then…

      Thanks for the looking out, Joff!

  5. Social pressure can definitely lead an introvert to think they’re boring. But it takes a strong person to know themselves and not be influenced by others and their supposed energy.

    I’m an extrovert because I get my energy from others, but am an introvert when it comes to large social gathering – I prefer smaller, intimate gatherings. Confused? I am !!!!

  6. Sounds like you’re experiencing the same things that a lot of people who exchange or do a gap year abroad go through. Being somewhat introverted

    I think introversion gets too much credit on the internet(possibly because it’s the introvert’s domain). I’ve met a few introverts who were uncreative complete assholes waiting to spread their douchey wings. But it’s not a bad thing either like school and parents and “friends” will likely try to tell you at some point or another.

    For an introvert I think it’s important to pick your battles. And only choose the social gatherings you feel you gain the most from. If something is exhausting, you better get something in return. Even if it’s just the gatherings you most enjoy.

    Like Razwana I’m not really an extrovert or introvert., I prefer smaller gatherings, preferably 2-5 people. But I can enjoy larger gatherings at times. Then there are times I really really need some peace and quiet. (I have tested anywhere from mild introvert to mild extrovert to not quite either. Aka I’m an ambivert! The vert with the awesomest of names.)

    How do I deal with the emotional exhaustion personally? I usually try to do something I’m good at in solitude. Like cooking. Or I’ll hang out with my best friend at the time, someone I am so comfortable with that they have a calming effect on me. Or watch a non-action movie. I have also been known to watch guilty pleasures on netflix. I guess these days I would probably default to writing, I haven’t really experienced too much social exhaustion lately because of my lack of trying to have a social life, which comes with it’s own set of problems I guess, but apparently there are upsides as well!

    • Looks like your comment combined a bit of Joff along with Razwana! I was just telling Razwana about ambiverts and I totally forgot that was a thing until her comment.

      Writing in solitude can be awesome but I’m not sure what else I enjoy that could be done alone. I sure can’t play Tennis alone! Cooking… Hm, not my thing. The dish cleaning is enough to deter me. The self-discovery journey continues.

  7. While I wouldn’t label myself an introvert, my takeaway from this article is this:

    – Accept who you are and stop trying to keep/adapt to others. Follow the beat of your own drum,

    • Exactly that! Another takeaway I’d want you to take from this (as a non-introvert) is to learn how to handle other introverts. Although, I don’t think I made that much of a point in this article.

  8. I’m on the same boat as you are. I feel like when I get a long period of “me time,” I am so much more aware of my surroundings when I go out with friends. However, when I’m socializing for far too long, and I’m still forced to stand around people who are talking, I tend to zone out.

    I guess a way to “recharge” ourselves is to just lay low and do some other activity that doesn’t require so much “socializing energy.”

  9. Love it! Embrace who you are and figure out how it works best in whatever lifestyle and company that you keep.

  10. .I’m learning to embrace my introversion as a gift. Extroverts need introverts. Think about all the things that you do naturally that extroverts don’t. The world would be in a much bigger mess without us. The world needs extroverts too, of course, for the things they do well.

    I often find it helpful to explain my to my extroverted friends and family how an introvert operates. Once they understand this, and the time I need to recharge, they don’t take it personally when I turn down an invitation or go home early. Some even go as far to give me advance notice on upcoming activities so I can plan to keep some energy in reserve to participate.

    • I never realized how important it is to simply tell people how you operate! I think last week was the first time I did such a thing and it’s made a huge difference in my life. Really, if an introvert can get over the initial awkwardness of bringing it up in conversation life gets a lot easier. Wish I had done it sooner.

  11. Hi Vincent! I am an introvert and I understand people probably think I am a bore but I don’t care (about what they say). I have stopped caring about what people think since I embraced introversion. But that doesn’t mean I have to be insensitive or anti-social. I have to make that balance act as well.

    Regarding your adventures in the Philippines, you should also enjoy nature tripping like hiking the hills and mountains, visiting countryside or doing some island hopping – which can all be an introvert activity although you can go with friends (because you would have an ‘ alone’ time :)

  12. I’m an introvert, and I know that some people see me as boring. But those are the people who don’t really take the time to get to know me or understand introverts. I’ve even had someone remark that I’m “vanilla.”

    When I am stuck in the midst of a “ping pong” conversation between extroverts, I quickly find my energy depleted. When there is no time to think and ponder, I find that my energy is quickly zapped. Shopping is another activity that easily wears me out.

    Most of my closest friends are introverts – the ones who have taken time to get to know me. I don’t really feel a close bond with someone unless I know that they genuinely listen and that we can discuss the deep matters of the heart. I do have some extroverted friends, but often, I don’t sense that close bond with them.

    The ironic thing in all of this is that my wife of 10 years is, by nature, an extrovert. We work well together because we compliment each other. However, at times she still thinks something is wrong with me when I want to be quiet.

  13. My friends know I don’t ”do” bars or big parties, if I do go, I find I can’t hear myself after a while, I get tired and have to go home. I can do 1-on-1 catchups really well though. I find usually after I tell people how I don’t really like parties, they go ”OMG me too” and we find a nice quiet cafe for proper conversation — people will understand fi you tell. Them. Living ith extroverts is hard – I spent a lot of time in my room, and out on walks on my own. Did you know there’s areas of London where you can be the only person for entire blocks? In a city that big! Being introverted can be tough in this usy world, but once you explain how you operate, there’s a lot ore of us that come out the woodwork! :-)

  14. It’s been hard for me to explain to my family that I’m introverted actually. I have depression and social anxiety to boot, so I get interpreted as grumpy or shutting people out or sick. I mean I am sick, but it’s made me realize I’d like to avoid work that demands extroversion. I’d like work that’s at least half introverted. Having made that decision about my work life, my home life remains a chore. I watch and listen, and that’s what I have energy for. I don’t have the energy to be lively and enthused. I often worry I’m boring because I prefer mellow activities where I get to have long talks with people. Which sometimes means the only suggestion I ever have for “what do you wanna do this weekend?” is walk to a park, watch a movie, have lunch, go to a bookstore or museum, or sit around at home and talk. and the talking itself, i’m just not a natural comedian.

    Something I’ve noticed a lot lately is that some people are draining and others are energizing. No one’s really unchangeably either introvert or extrovert. sometimes i’ll feel more extroverted around people i feel safe with or when i go to a place i’ve never seen before. i am always severely introverted around my family. but even alone time and good company doesn’t “recharge” me exactly. It makes me feel better about going home, and it gives me something to feel happy and confident and validated about when I go to work where bosses can be stressful. But it barely prepares me for interactions I dread and know will be draining.

    • I definitely know what you mean when you say some people are energizing. For me, those are the people who match my energy level when I’m up or down. Sometimes I’m really drained and talk like I’m whispering. Most people would say, “What?!” trying to get me to raise my voice. Others would maintain a loud volume.

      Adjusting, however, lets me know you get what’s going on. You know I’m tired so you’re trying to find a comfortable range for me. Now that is energizing.

  15. I like what you say at the end. I’m an introvert too, but I make sure I invest my time in the right people when called for a gathering.

    Also, while I know I’m boring to many others, I never truly see myself as boring! It’s their problem if the way I am doesn’t excite them, haha.

    A little biased maybe, but the best people I know are mostly introverts.

    • I don’t know if I’d say the best people I know are introverts since it’s hard to define what makes someone better than another. However, introverts are definitely easier to relate to!

  16. I used to care so much about making sure that I don’t bore people.
    Now I could not care less about what others think of me.
    it’s a liberating feeling really

    cheers
    Akos

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