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I've been an introvert my whole life. Even since I was a young child I remember just being quiet. Now with that being said I feel I need to clarify that there is a difference from being an introvert and being shy. It is very important to not mix these two. They are two very different people. I kept my thoughts to myself and minded my own business. For those of you who don't know what an introvert is: It is known as someone who is quiet, reserved, would rather stay home than go partying with friends, would get uneasy if they had to go into a crowd, or a busy store.
I personally feel that us introverts are misunderstood and I am not saying that because I am one. I can really see why we are. I mean let's just think about it for a minute. Introverts don't go out, they don't speak, and normally don't have very many friends. It's a known fact that people fear what they don't know/understand. Introverts are in that loop simply because people don't know much about them. When I was in school I was by far the most quiet person in my grade and I would venture to say, the entire school system. It was to the point where one of my teachers told me that I needed to talk more because I was kinda freaking people out. You see it's like this, "the quietest people have the loudest minds." We are quiet because we have so many different things racing through our minds. So in a sense, we have our heads up in the clouds.
Being such an introvert can cause people to judge you simply by not saying anything. I was called creepy, stuck up, some people thought I couldn't speak, deaf, dumb, etc. It's not that I was any of those things, I just didn't have anything to say. I chose not to speak. I always felt the motto "speak when spoken to" was more along my lines. I spoke when it was necessary. It's not like I'd see someone being mistreated and not say something. I chose not to speak because being such a quiet person made you realize the true power of the spoken word. It truly is a double edged sword.
There is so much more to being an introvert than people realize. It's not just being quiet. It's more of a mindset, to me at least. I hate going places that are crowed, speaking in public, or being in the spotlight period. This is often over looked by a lot of people. I can do these things, but prefer not to and will avoid them if I can. When you are young it comes off as just being 'shy,' which in many cases is the proper diagnoses, but as I said earlier, there is a difference. Being shy is having a want to mingle, be in the spotlight, or talk, but can't. An introvert chooses not to do those things or in a sense rather not. Shyness is usually outgrown by adulthood; however, being an introvert is never outgrown.
We introverts are a different kind of people. We see things through a different light. We are more creative than others and we enjoy things that will make us think. I enjoy holding conversations that aren't exactly easy to keep up with. Small talk is completely boring to me personally. I prefer to speak on things that have meaning behind them or things that will make me think. I believe that this stems from making sure that the people you are speaking to are actually IN the conversation. You can easily fake a conversation about the weather, but you can't fake your way through one about the universe.
It's nice being able to just listen sometimes, but it does have it's draw backs. We are social creatures and this can be proven by the use of Facebook, Twitter, phones and so on. We introverts don't really care for the fellowship of others all that often. Not speaking to people and being disconnected from others can be a one way ticket to depression ally. I personally have struggled with depression for years. Since I wouldn't speak to anyone, people wouldn't speak to me much. That paved the way to making it harder for me to make friends. Since I wasn't making friends I went into a depression because I felt that no one really liked me. It never occurred to me that it was because I never got to know anyone and no one ever got to know me. It is a lonely path to walk, but I personally believe that if you can get through all the problems that come with being a loner it is well worth it. I've become wise beyond my years from being quiet and just listening. The things you can learn from just keeping your mouth shut and listening will blow your mind.
Speaking to the introverts reading this, in order to get to this point you have to realize that not everyone hates you. They simply don't know you. I know it is hard, but try to strike up a conversation every now and then. It will be tough every single time you attempt to do it, but I promise you that in the end it will save you a lot of heartache down the road.