Even Introverts Need Company Sometimes

I’ve known for years that I’m an introvert.

As a kid, I loved to curl up with a good book.

Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. I used to carry a book around pretty much everywhere. At coffee time after church, I’d normally be found reading.

I’ve lost the reading habit a bit over the years (though almost any time I’m on a plane, in a doctor’s waiting room or similar, I’ll have a book in my hands). And I’m also, slowly, starting to realise that other people aren’t so bad.

In fact, sometimes, company is kinda nice.

Introverts & Working From Home – A Good Idea?

We’ve had a cold and rainy winter here in the UK, and some days, the only person I’ve spoken to is my husband Paul. I’ve not even managed to leave the house and say “hi” to the cashier at the local grocery store.

You’d think that working from home would be ideal for me. I don’t have to crush up against the commuting hordes, I don’t have to make small talk with colleagues, I don’t even get phone calls, most days.

The thing is, though, I find that I need other people. Sure, I also need plenty of time on my own – to think, to create – but I also need to get out of my own head once in a while.

Introverts & the Internet

My parents got an internet connection at home when I was 13. I spent rather a lot of my teen years online.

At first, I was fairly passive – I read Star Trek comics and Star Trek fan fiction (yes, if anything, I was more of a geek back then). And then I got the hang of email and chatrooms and instant messenger and online gaming.

It was a real lifeline for me. I found it easy to interact through text, and I made some great friendships. And to me, online friends are just as “real” as offline ones. In fact, it’s easier to skip the small talk and get straight into interesting conversations online.

Nowadays, while I might not talk out loud to people, I spend a fair amount of time emailing and Tweeting and writing forum posts. If I want a break from my work, it’s easy to jump on Twitter or Facebook and catch up with friends.

And it’s great. Most of the time, it’s exactly what I need: pleasant, low-pressure company, where I can easily duck out and get back into my own head when I want to.

But sometimes, it’s just not enough.

Which is why I’m hyper already about South by South West. For an introvert, I seem to have a heck of a lot of parties to go to and people to hang out with. I’m really excited about seeing Thursday again (I’ll even say “aluminium” for her). I’m excited about meeting some new people, like our recent guest poster Karl Staib.

The online world is fantastic for me … because it lets me form great connections which mean that when I meet people offline, it’s not awkward at all. It’s like greeting old friends.

If you’re going to be at SXSW, make sure you tweet at us (thursdayb and aliventures) and let us know! We’d love to say hi.

Post image from Flickr by Ed Yourdon


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4 Responses to “ Even Introverts Need Company Sometimes ”

  1. P.S. Jones says:

    I’m a bit of an introvert myself and I found that working from home made things worst. Because left to my own devices, I would never leave the house. When I had an outside job, I had to go out and mingle. But now, there’s no one to make me. I have to make more of an effort.

  2. Mo says:

    Great post – this is actually something I’ve been thinking about lately. I’m an introvert myself, and I can be shy. It took me a while, though, to figure out those are two different things.

    Agreed with the benefits of internet for people more introvert-ish. :)

  3. Marta says:

    Happy to have found this post. My life is very similar to yours. I told my husband yesterday, “I need to get out of my head and hang out with some people!” Which is usual for me since I am an introvert. But, spending all day at home writing leaves me craving company sometimes.

    I have made some new friends via blog posts for my blog and one I work for, even one I commented on! Which is interesting since I used to tease my husband about his online friends.

    I do like establishing relationships on Facebook before face to face meetings as well. It does take the pressure off!

    The Internet continues to amaze me!

  4. Ali Luke says:

    Thanks for the replies, all! Glad I’m not the only introvert out there. ;-)

    Marta, like you, I have days when I feel like I need some company — especially now my husband works outside the house. I think it’s tricky to find the balance, especially as a writer; you need enough time alone in your head, but TOO much is crazy-making!

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