The Granny Diaries - Part 2

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The Confessions of an Introvert

 

With this second edition of the Granny Diaries series, I'd like to delve deeper into this grandma label given to me. Brace yourself, you might be here for a while! The psychologist in me is out to play today, lol. 

So we covered the style part in the last edition, where I'd be more likely to reach for an oversized jumper than a bodycon dress. But this goes beyond style, it's a lifestyle. For example, there's nothing I love more than coming home after work, having a cup of tea and falling asleep on the sofa at around 9.45pm while my peers are out partying the night away. Don't get me wrong, I love a good leg shake too but I also need time at home. It's not a want, it's a NEED. And more and more, I'm coming to realise that the behaviours some might deem as grandmotherly are actually qualities more associated with introversion than being an "old soul" (as my mother likes to call me).

I've always been a sensitive character, even as a child, becoming easily offended by others words and tones. I could pick up on the slightest sarcasm or annoyance in people's voices, which was hard for me growing as I'd regularly tear up at this kind of reaction from others. But I've noticed as I've got older that I'm also quite sensitive to noise as well. While at university I got extremely anxious at the thought of large gatherings. You might think it was more social anxiety than anything else but it wasn't so much the thought of meeting people that bothered me but rather the quantity of people I'd be exposed to. I'd rush to be ready as quickly a possible to be able to the first at our pre drinking spots, in hopes of feeling at ease with more people slowly drifting in rather than arriving late (as I usually did) and walk into an abyss of noise and crammed space. It was more about preventing the feeling of being overwhelmed than anything else. 

We studied personality differences at university and in the most basic explanation possible, people who are drawn to lots of "activity" are extroverts, while those who shy away from it are introverts. I've had this discussion with my boyfriend recently because we are polar opposites in that respect: I'm an introvert and he is an extrovert. He is someone that cannot sit still for very long; an extremely sociable person that can function on little sleep in order to attain some sort of buzz, whether through loud music, friends, events, whatever. He needs this regular stimulation in order for his brain to function at a comfortable level. I, on the other hand, need to recharge and can quickly reach my stimulation threshold, becoming overwhelmed when too much is happening around me. I feel absolutely drained if I don't have some regular ME time. 

However, what I really wanted to discuss in the post (and I know I've gone on for quite long enough) is that while I am introverted and need my time to re-energise at home, this does not mean I don't know how to have a good time. I used to be so embarrassed growing up about the fact that I wasn't "as good" as socialising, that I was shy, quiet and overly sensitive. Being introverted is for some reason seen as something negative and I have had recurrent jokes made about me like, "oh you just hate everyone" because sometimes I'd rather not socialise and prefer to spend time at home alone. 

I am now overcoming those negative feelings associated with being introverted and am fast becoming an extroverted introvert, to some degree. I saw something that was interesting on Danielle's We Wore What blog, where she explained that anyone who exists online is an extrovert and to some extent I agree. I do feel my blog has helped me be more comfortable "putting myself out there" as it were, though social media can still be very overwhelming at times. But that, along with dating an extroverted boyfriend, living in London and just growing older (and wiser I hope) has all added to my confidence at facing overwhelming stimuli. General gist is I love a night out, a dinner, a drinks event, shopping trips, extensive catch up with friends. Only difference is that afterwards, I'll need a nap to rejuvenate haha. Here are my top 3 points to understand about introversion:

 

CAUTION! RECHARGING IN PROGRESS

From the 2003 Atlantic essay, “Caring for Your Introvert,” by Jonathan Rauch: “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”.

 

LET'S GO DEEP

“Being an introvert does not mean that you’re antisocial, asocial, or socially inept. It does mean that you are oriented to ideas — whether those ideas involve you with people or not. It means that you prefer spacious interactions with fewer people,” said Laurie Helgoe, a psychologist, in Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. “A good conversation leaves an introvert feeling more connected, but also personally richer.”

 

LIKE CONTROLLA

If I feel in control of a situation, I'm more likely to process it better. I need some due warning before an event in order to psyche myself up for it. Also meeting new people isn't a problem. People assume if you're uncomfortable around new people, you're shy and that's seen as bad especially as an adult but it's really more down to the fact that I need to meet people in my own way to be truly comfortable and allow my personality to shine through. So while I might seem cold at first (I've been informed of this many a times - resting bitch face on point!), give it some time and you'll soon see I'm as friendly and fun as they come ;) 

 

And there you have it, my breakdown of the misconception that I am a granny but even more than that, that there is something wrong with being introverted. I think that we are more creative and intellectual because we process everything deeper, seeing things that others might miss. So I hope you've enjoyed my spiel on introversion and it wasn't too long winded aaaand maybe you learned something you didn't know before. With a jump in career away from psychology, it's nice to be able to talk about these things again. Gosh I haven't even mentioned the clothes, but hey ho - there's only so many times I can say I love lace and leather together so you get the gist haha.

Come back Monday for photos from my weekend trip to Ibiza. Bye for now xo 

P.S. Please note that as with everything in life, we are all on a spectrum so my experiences might not be the same as another introverted individual. There's black and white and then there's a lot of grey area, if you get me. 

 

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