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being an introvert in community

 
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I agree with so many, many points of view recently shared. Inge's that it can get easier. Julia's that she perhaps reaches a people saturation point and needs less interaction. Leila's that adapting to some things in our society might be less than healthy to begin with. Plus Stacy, Jack, and Raven - yes!

We have moved in to having more folks here again after a busy summer, and I've been holing up in my room a lot, in order to keep my energy up. I think I will actually do better next week when I will be the cook for the group. When I have a purpose, a job, a role within a group, I'm better able to cope with being in a group over longer periods of time. It's a bit counter-intuitive, perhaps, but I think it will help me.

It's interesting to me that I've recently listened to one book, and have started a second book, that both relate to how our health can impact our senses, our psychology, our mental health. I'm not at all implying that anyone needs to be "fixed" because I definitely learned the hard way that, IMHO, some personality traits just ARE. They will be a lifelong thing, despite all efforts to change them. Though I am finding these books interesting, and how, perhaps, in some cases, some extreme, debilitating aspects can be minimized or improved by some rather simple things. I know for me, my mood is lighter and more positive if I avoid all wheat/gluten--really, most everything is much smoother in my world without gluten.

The first is Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain for Life by David Perlmutter, MD (Amazon affiliate link - US)

The second is Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health, by Dr. Ben Lynch (Amazon affiliate link - US)

So, having a role, a job, or a purpose helps me. Avoiding gluten helps me. Getting the right food, supplements and sleep helps me. And...perhaps I'm becoming more of an introvert due to working at home, on a rural homestead, and having a half-year habit of lots of alone time. Though even when I worked in a corporate job, lived in the suburbs, had a family and helped in the kids' schools, I was still more of an introvert than most folks I met. I also remember that back then, too, having a role or a job gave me a much welcome anchor and framework for dealing with other people.



 
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I had depression and extreme social anxiety for a few years in my early twenties.  As I moved closer and closer to a vegan diet my mental health got better and better. I think many people would benefit from tweaking their diets like you are, Jocelyn.

What Inge was saying about levels of introversion changing made me think of my experience with that. I don't think I've actually changed but my life has changed in a way that allows me to function differently. When my husband and I were living in a city while he did his degree, we rented a suite in our landlords house. They had odd hours of work and someone was almost always home. Even though I didn't have to see them, hearing little noises from their area and just knowing someone was home was taxing for me. Combine that with living in a city where you can never go anywhere without having someone else around and a job dealing with the public in an often pretty intense way and I was exhausted all the time.

Now we live in the bush, with our closest neighbours three km away. Right now is a slow time at work so I don't see clients much and do a lot of computer work. I think I'm still just as much an introvert as ever but getting rid of the constant drain on my energy means I can actually enjoy the social interactions I want to have. My inlaws all marvel at how much more talkative I am since we've moved. My relationship with my husband is better than ever because we both (he's introverted too) have more energy to devote to another.

I have no idea how I would be able to function living in a community.  For a start, I think I'd need a little hut somewhere that no one even knew existed.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Jan White wrote:They had odd hours of work and someone was almost always home. Even though I didn't have to see them, hearing little noises from their area and just knowing someone was home was taxing for me.



This.

Thanks for sharing Jan.

It's odd how sharing our home some times affects me, some times doesn't. I'm learning more about it each year, each season, each new group of folks.
 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

Jan White wrote:They had odd hours of work and someone was almost always home. Even though I didn't have to see them, hearing little noises from their area and just knowing someone was home was taxing for me.



This.

Thanks for sharing Jan.

It's odd how sharing our home some times affects me, some times doesn't. I'm learning more about it each year, each season, each new group of folks.



Just knowing that someone can see/hear me is taxing. I need to be ALONE. When I lived in the city, I was never alone. If I went outside, someone could see me. Someone could potentially wonder why I was doing what I was doing. I was always thinking about what other people might think, and it was so taxing. There was always a shroud of stress over me. I never wanted to go for walks because there were always people. Even in our house, it was hard, because it was a duplex and someone lived upstairs and so I could never just turn on the music and dance or belt out a hymn without someone potentially thinking about what I was doing. I hadn't realized just how hard it was on me until we moved out to our own 5 acres and I could finally be ALONE.

Now, of course, I have kids. So it's only maybe once every week or two that I actually get to be alone. My brain, I know, is functioning a whole lot less well than it did when I actually had time alone.
 
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Nicole - interesting, I was just thinking that when my children were little, their noise didn't bother me so much. I always had a houseful of children, my own four and often 4+ more. Children have never bothered me. I think it's largely that I have low expectations from them. They are just being children, they don't know better. Unfortunately, adults don't seem to even try to be considerate. I find them so disappointing.

I do agree, it's horrible here in the city. You just can't get away from them. I don't worry about what they think, don't really care. I just don't like them. So I take my walk at sunrise and only run into a couple of people.

Jocelyn - I'm the same way. I like a role. I like knowing what to do and what's expected of me. So I like hosting and I love cooking. The books sound interesting. I'll look into them, though I could never be gluten free or vegan. I've tried gluten free and honestly decided I would rather be dead, but that's just me. I expect vegan would be the same. We all have our deal breakers.
 
Nicole Alderman
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My kids are definetly a lot less taxing on me than dealing with adults, especially strangers all day. But, I still have to always be thinking of what they're doing, if it's going to turn into a fight, how to help them get ready for bed without a meltdown, that I need to feed them, that they want me to play when I really need to dig up the potatoes or prune the blackberries. They always need me (they'll be 2 and 5 in October), and though I love them and they light up my life, I do wish I had more time to do whatever I feel like doing without having to juggle their needs/wants, too.

But, yeah, kids are a WHOLE lot easier for me to socialize with than adults. Kids are much less complicated, and love to learn and I love to learn and share knowledge and play silly games, just like them. I loved teaching preschool and elementary, though it was socially exhausting. But, I NEVER would have survived working in, say, customer service all day!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Here's an apt illustration!



 
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I think that I'm somewhere in between introvert and extrovert. If I live alone I crave community and social interaction. I'm talkative and enjoy meeting people, even strangers, and I really enjoy it. But now that I have a husband and kids, they take up all my "social energy". I simply don't feel like I have any energy left for other people. But I try to think that there will be a time in my life when I have energy for other people too. Hopefully I still have some friends left then Luckily my best friend has children too so I think/ hope she understands at least partly.

It is possible that this is not only about introversion but other personal/ interpersonal stuff too. Maybe I need to work some more on my boundaries too.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Nina, I think it's *really* common or normal for mothers to get maxed out on people. The caregiving, even with easy kids, is nonstop; and most of us do not have nannies, housecleaners, cooks, landscape maintenance workers or other support staff! I think even with support staff, it's a different type of tending or managing people, so it's not always easier and probably/ironically not less people interaction either.

It's interesting what drives us to wanting space, or more self time for renewal. And I think you are so right that it's not just introverts!

Though I still want secret passageways to avoid people!
 
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The reading nook picture reminded me of my old trick.  I would hide in a closet with a book and flashlight.  The trick was to leave the bedroom door ajar so someone would stick their head in, glance around and think I was gone.  It worked beautifully...and gave incentive to keep closet floor neat so I could fit😀
 
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You may think you're an introvert but how would you like to spend 27 years alone? From age 20 to age 47 Chris Knight did just that in central Maine! The author Michael Finkel fascinates us with the true story of The Stranger in the Woods recently published.He lived in a tent deep in the woods but not far from seasonal cabins.He never lit a fire!
 
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Stuart Sparber wrote:You may think you're an introvert but how would you like to spend 27 years alone? From age 20 to age 47 Chris Knight did just that in central Maine! The author Michael Finkel fascinates us with the true story of The Stranger in the Woods recently published.He lived in a tent deep in the woods but not far from seasonal cabins.He never lit a fire!


Someone like that is an 'extreme introvert', I would call him a 'hermit'. My answer to your question is 'No'. I don't like to be all alone all the time, only some time.
 
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Not sure how I feel about this film.  But it got me thinking about things.
 
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I had a mixed reaction to the video "Introverts Anonymous" as well...

I think the above video "Introverts Anonymous" is confusing the personality trait of being Introverted with the mental health condition of Social Anxiety Disorder. Someone can be an introvert but not have Social Anxiety Disorder.  Also a person who suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder doesn't have to be an introvert, extroverts can have Social Anxiety Disorder too. The two are not the same thing. Also being shy is not the same thing as Social Anxiety Disorder.

Despite the video being named "Introverts Anonymous" it actually seemed to be portraying a group of people who have Social Anxiety Disorder. It showed a group of people who "suffered" from "Introvertism" and who wanted to be "normal" and therefore went to a weekly group to "get help". The group counselor encouraged them to " do something an extrovert would do". As if becoming extroverted was better. So I think it really misrepresented Introverts.

That aside I feel it had a good point that was thought provoking; the need to step outside our individual comfort zones in life in order to purse our desires and goals. That stretching ourselves is part of personal growth and while it can be pretty uncomfortable, it can lead to great rewards. Also that taking risks, even very small ones, are a necessary part of life that should be learned to be embraced instead of feared.

That's my 2 cents anyway.

 
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Adrienne Halbrook wrote: I had a mixed reaction to the video "Introverts Anonymous" as well...

I think the above video "Introverts Anonymous" is confusing the personality trait of being Introverted with the mental health condition of Social Anxiety Disorder. Someone can be an introvert but not have Social Anxiety Disorder.  Also a person who suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder doesn't have to be an introvert, extroverts can have Social Anxiety Disorder too. The two are not the same thing. Also being shy is not the same thing as Social Anxiety Disorder.

Despite the video being named "Introverts Anonymous" it actually seemed to be portraying a group of people who have Social Anxiety Disorder. It showed a group of people who "suffered" from "Introvertism" and who wanted to be "normal" and therefore went to a weekly group to "get help". The group counselor encouraged them to " do something an extrovert would do". As if becoming extroverted was better. So I think it really misrepresented Introverts.

That aside I feel it had a good point that was thought provoking; the need to step outside our individual comfort zones in life in order to purse our desires and goals. That stretching ourselves is part of personal growth and while it can be pretty uncomfortable, it can lead to great rewards. Also that taking risks, even very small ones, are a necessary part of life that should be learned to be embraced instead of feared.

That's my 2 cents anyway.



That's a very good summary of how I felt watching that.

 
Adrienne Halbrook
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I really enjoyed this thread. I'm an INFP-T, scoring 93% introverted. I've definitely noticed the high number of introverted personalities here on permies. I can really relate to so much discussed in this thread.

My husband is an Ambivert, he is a balance of both introverted and extroverted. He can rely on either trait when he needs it.

When he works (he travels for work and works as a contractor in his field and does big jobs several times a year) he works 6 days a week on 12 hour shifts, 1 day off and repeat for 2 months or so at a time. He is with a group of people all the time, sometimes only a few and sometimes a big group. Then after work he often goes out to dinner with a few people from work. Then on his day off he does all his laundry and shopping, often with a friend, then usually spends the rest of the day with a group from work at a BBQ or something. Totally extrovert kind of life! He enjoys it and only needs a little bit of alone time each day, often watches a tv show then goes to bed.
That lifestyle would kill me!

But then when he is not working, he'll be off work for a few months at a time, he will spend most of his time alone in his shop. He will be working on projects, doing vehicle and equipment maintenance, etc. and doing jobs around our property all alone( I help when I can but we have little kids so sometimes its just not something the kids can be around). He will often spend 12 hours a day alone. He just puts on some music and gets to work. He'll come in for lunch and then be back out there until late at night. Then he will spend an hour or so with me and the kids and then go to bed. He's totally happy being alone all day. He just needs a little social time each day.

When his projects get put on hold for some reason we will do a family day together. He's a great dad and loves being with the kids, he just is a very driven personality and gets totally absorbed in his projects.

So he really has the best of both worlds being a balance between introverted and extroverted.

I like being introverted and would not change that. I do need to try to be a bit more social though... I would like to have a social network of like minded people in my local community but I'm never going to find them if I don't get out there and look for them, get involved in stuff, talk to people, etc. It's hard to do though, I really don't want to! But at the same time I do want to...
 
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