According to vocabulary.com, an introvert is a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and tends to become preoccupied with their own thoughts. There are three of us in this house that fit that description. To be honest, I believe that everyone fits that description from time to time. The difference is, for three of us, this is more often the case than not. When Sunshine is gone and it's just Monster, Husband and myself, we can go hours without speaking. None of us feel it's necessary. We are happy all being in the same house, together, yet alone. Little Miss Sunshine is the exact opposite. There is rarely ever a quiet moment with her. She feel the need to constantly be talking and interacting. It's something the rest of us don't understand.
Raising an introvert is just as difficult as being one. There is a ton of guilt about not getting him out there and socializing more, but, honestly, he doesn't want it as much as we don't want it. I often feel like Monster is an introvert because we are. He doesn't see us going out and being social. We have all of one set of friends that we do things with, and, as the kids get older, we do things with them less and less due to crazy schedules. Over the summer, I can't tell you the number of times Sunshine asked to do things with her friends. Monster, on the other hand, I had to almost force him to have friends over. Thankfully, Monster's best friend is an extrovert, so he was always calling to play, which helped get Monster going. The funny thing is, I can count on one had the amount of times we did anything with adult friends, so, again, what is the example we're setting? I really want my kids to see how great life is when you do things with others and have a strong village to help get by in this world. Yet, neither Husband or I really want to have to interact. It's a double-edged sword. I feel like maybe, if we were more extroverted, we wouldn't be raising an introvert. I know that's not true, as it's intrinsic in nature, but I can't help but to think, "What if?"
Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage, states, “Extroverts don’t have the same internal talking as we do. Most introverts need to think first and talk later.” This is why I don't sleep. This is why Monster also lays up at night. This is why we don't like surprises. My father is the same way. For me and my father, part of it is anxiety, but the other part is the need to think everything over, from all angles, and figure out exactly what it is we need to say or do.
Introverts tend to express themselves better in writing. This has been true of myself since I can remember. I've always found comfort in writing, hence this blog and my many, many, many lists. My father is the same way. He actually sends cards to my children saying what is on his mind rather than saying it to them. My boys can't stand writing. They would both just rather say nothing at all and keep it all bottled up. Monster is finding it a little easier to convey his feelings through writing lately, though. The writing actually sparks a conversation. He'll write part and then talk about the rest. This actually gives him the time he needs to sort out his feelings and words. We started a "log" where we write back and forth. Most of the time, it's me writing and then him thinking, and coming to me to respond, but either way, it communication going.
And then we have Sunshine. How difficult it must be for her living with three introverts. From the time she wakes up to the time she falls asleep (actually if she had it her way, it would even be past that) she craves social interaction. She has often said that she would love bunk beds so that she doesn't have to be alone. The first thing out of her mouth when she and her brother first wake up is, "Do you want to play with me?". A few weeks back, she was at a friend's house to play, as was Monster. After picking them both up, they weren't even in the house yet before she asked, "[Monster], do you want to play with me?" I felt bad for both kids. All he wanted to do was get some alone time after 3 hours of socialization and all she was wanted was more socializing. I try my best to balance this out. Sometimes, when all he wants to do is retreat, I force him to get out of himself and play. Once playing, he's great and they get along amazingly. Sometimes, I force her to be alone. We all need to find ways to be with just ourselves and unwind.
Society is geared towards extroverts. The thing is, we all need to learn to get along with each other. We all need to learn to accept people's differences and needs. But that's idealistic. All I can do is try my best to balance out our household and help my introvert deal with living in an extroverted world and help my extrovert understand the need for people to have alone time.