Texas Tech University

Unveiling the Introvert's World

by Ezequiel Buck Martínez

Introverts want to be loved and understood as much as anyone else, but it's hard to show it.

Ever since I was little, I have been afraid of talking to strangers. If I had to describe the sensation I feel when interacting with someone I don't know, it would be that of fear—the fear of being rejected and misunderstood. It is a distressing feeling because logically, I know that nothing will happen to me for asking for a movie ticket from the person who sells movie tickets (that's why he is there). Still, my body automatically thinks that it is the end of the world. Living in a world where social interactions are practically mandatory is tiring for introverts.

buying a movie ticket

Introverts tend to overthink social interactions, even one as simple as asking for a movie ticket.

Psychologists have defined introverts as individuals in whom exists an exaggeration of the thought processes in relation to directly observable social behavior, with an accompanying tendency to withdraw from social contacts. I think this definition effectively sums up the experience of overthinking every social interaction, even one as simple as asking for a movie ticket. I know perfectly well that nothing wrong is going to happen, but my subconscious is going on and on with hypothetical scenarios that exhaust my desire to socialize. Introverts lose energy when socializing, unlike extroverts, who gain energy from it. I understand that this may be difficult to comprehend for many extroverts, but this overthinking is exhausting.

More and more failed attempts to stop feeling this way towards social interaction compelled me to focus on a few friends I trust and reduce my public circle. And yet, being introverted is not a decision. Rather, it is a spectrum in which your environment and formative experiences decide how introverted you are. Although one can struggle and force oneself to be more sociable, one will never be able to feel as comfortable as being alone with one's inner thoughts or close friends.

One moment that greatly impacted me was the day I heard my voice on a video. I didn't understand what was going on. "My voice doesn't sound like that," I thought. That was the day I discovered that the voice you hear does not reach others. I hated my voice; it didn't represent the emotions I wanted to show when I spoke. I didn't like to talk. I felt a disconnection between my inner and outer self. I felt that people misunderstood and misinterpreted me. This moment enhanced my introversion by knocking my confidence to the ground.

Another incident that affected me occurred on my first date. I think this is a significant moment for every person as it can define your perception of yourself and how you feel others will perceive you. In short, I screwed up. I spoke very little and was terrified. It was a before-and-after moment when I realized that if I wanted to do something, I had to change how I relate to others. That is, be more "extroverted." Trying to be more extroverted while being a natural introvert is one of the most challenging things I have faced.

two adolescents sitting side by side on a bed

It's scary to be vulnerable.

And the barrier between introverts and extroverts is probably here. Being almost entirely at the extremes of social interactions makes it challenging to understand each other. In the eyes of extroverts, we are weird and unfeeling, as if we hate people and don't want to be bothered. The reality is quite the opposite. As psychologist Max Freyd framed it: unlike the extrovert, who hides little, the introvert hides everything because he dreads the exposure of his emotions because they are too raw and intense.

Yes, we introverts can be more emotional than extroverts. Socializing means sharing, and sharing makes you vulnerable to being hurt. We want to be loved and understood as much as anyone else.

So, what can we do about the situation? Because my introverted friends think the same as I do, we make an effort to socialize, but often we don't feel that same effort reciprocated. Many may argue that extroverts are not obligated to lead all conversations. Nor do they have to reach out and talk to the person alone in the corner of the room, and I agree. But, if you see an effort on the part of the introvert or they show an interest in engaging in some social interaction with you, try to be patient and give him or her the opportunity to connect with you. It makes our day when you help us. It feels great, and I bet you that an introvert can become one of your most loyal friends or partner.

Ezequiel Buck Martínez is a Computer Science major who uncovered his passion for programming through video games. Dedicated to continuous learning, he thrives on exploring new domains. With a love for sports and martial arts, Ezequiel aspires to excel as a software engineer, contributing to the ongoing space race.

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