Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice? . . . .
If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands . . . .
[A]fter an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses."There are some allusions to sociopathic ways of being ("many actors, I've read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors"), although introverts deny being misanthropic. But do you know who has even more in common with introverts? Aspies. I thought this Aspie take on introversion was especially entertaining in light of recent events:
Admittedly, if you take enough abuse and feel slighted enough times by colleagues and peers, it is a challenge not to become cynical and misanthropic. I personally find I dislike trying to deal with people more each year. The majority of people might be okay, but it seems that one lousy person will find a way to abuse or insult me given the opportunity. Why would I want to deal with a large group knowing even one jerk is present? Unlike other people, I have a difficult time, a nearly impossible time, forgetting such abuse.
But I'm not shy. I'm not introverted. In fact, my problem is that I will try to defend myself when I perceive an attack. (I don't always perceive an attack, sadly, until it is too late to undo damage.) So, my "introversion" is really an attempt to avoid people and conflicts. It's not a desire to be alone because I like being alone, it is a desire to avoid being miserable later.
Many people with ASDs start to seem introverted because that's an easy way to cope with life. If I stay at home, there is less risk of sensory overload, emotional overload, or general social conflicts. Alone is safe. And, thankfully, I don't feel "lonely" or "isolated" -- when I feel "trapped" it is not because I want to be around people, but because I want out of the city.
Sure, I realize I was isolated from peers and colleagues. But my desire for connections was practical; I realize social connections do matter at school, in the workplace, and within organizations. Unfortunately, I lack the social skills to develop the relationships that might help my career(s).