I don't remember exactly when it was that I noticed I wasn't like the other boys at school. They were all off playing football at breaktime, hanging round with mates on street corners in the evening and going out with girls at the weekends. I was different. I was more likely to be hiding out in the library at breaktime, watching telly in the evening and staying in at weekends. It wasn't obvious at the time exactly what the reason for my behaviour was. It certainly wasn't the sort of thing you discussed at school, either in or out of the classroom, for fear of getting beaten up. Back then there was no internet where I could have found out more about my condition and maybe been able to chat online to others of a similar mentality. I didn't know that we were outnumbered and that most 'normal' people in society weren't like me. It took me a while to work out who I was and what I was, but I got there in the end and I'm perfectly happy with how I turned out.
It's time to stand up and admit the truth - I am an introvert. And if you're the sort of person who writes a blog or reads other people's regularly, you may well be an introvert too. Amazing how many of us there are online. I reckon that's because the internet is a very safe environment where you can make contact with other people without having to go to the effort of actually risking meeting anyone. You can take time to think over exactly what you want to say, and edit and redraft your words before you finally make your voice heard. And it beats going down the library.
I've uncovered an excellent set of definitions for introverts here (thanks to Vaughan). I wonder if this list will strike a chord with you as much as it did with me. Especially these three...
• Alone: For an extrovert this translates as 'lonely'. For us introverts it merely means 'enjoying some peace and quiet'. And not feeling lonely, which is good.
• Friend: An extrovert has many friends, because a friend is 'someone who makes sure that you're never alone'. Us introverts tend to keep few friends, because friends have to be 'someone who understands that you're not rejecting them when you need to be alone.' I'm glad my friends have worked that one out.
• Good manners: An extrovert thinks it's good manners to 'make sure people aren't left all by themselves.' An introvert, on the other hand, considers good manners to be 'not bothering people, unless it's necessary, or they approach you.' And yes, 'sometimes you can bother people you know well, but you make sure they aren't busy first.' Very me, that.
Apparently there are three times as many extroverts in the world as introverts, which is just as well or else pubs would go out of business and the internet might grind to a halt through overuse. Maybe it's time for all of us introverts to join together and become a force to be reckoned with... but only if that's alright by you and you haven't got anything better to do.