Being introverted doesn't mean being isolated

By Hadassah Umbarger, Staff Writer

Dear Dictionary,

“Introvert” doesn’t fit anymore. I don’t know if it always hasn’t fit, but now as I’m growing and stretching, it definitely doesn’t fit.

Scared of people? Yes.

Prefer to be alone most of the time? Yes.

Still desire to have/make friends who I can trust and love? Yes.

Dear Not-Exactly-Introverts,

Please don’t do what I did on my first day of orientation. I decided to keep my head down and not try to make friends. I decided that I was going to college to go to college, not to get to know people. I had a few close friends who weren’t going to Newman. I told myself that they were enough for me, and if I didn’t have friends on campus I would be okay.

Dear Dictionary,

I’m tired of hiding behind the word “introvert.” I am shy, to the point of it being painful, but when I’m relatively comfortable around people, then I enjoy having company. (Of course afterwards I always relive every awkward moment and every thing I said and almost wish I hadn’t chosen to be around people. That’s why most days I will choose my bedroom and cat over anywhere else and friends.)

Dear Not-Exactly-Introverts,

Despite my intentions of being alone, I made friends on accident. This is going to happen to you too, and when it does, embrace it. By “embrace it,” I mean don’t hide like I do. Don’t eat your lunch in the study rooms in the library. Go eat at a picnic table or upstairs in Bishop Gerber where there are people. Some days everybody will be busy and won’t have time to talk to you, but usually, someone will at least say hi. And just having someone say hi to you can be important.

Dear Friends who have forced me to be happy,

Darn it. I thought I would just fly solo and focus on studying. But you guys, for some reason, decided to be nice to me even though I am shy and awkward. And it’s taken me much too long to realize this, but I needed you all along. It wasn’t healthy for me to always hide. You guys have no idea how much it means to me when you just say hi. I would not have made it thus far in my college life without you. Thank you.

Dear Extroverts,

We introverts and not-exactly-introverts need you. We appreciate it when you do most of the talking and we can just listen. And just because someone is shy and quiet, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be noticed and appreciated. I’m not saying you should go hunt down introverts now. (Please don’t. We don’t like being chased.) But you can let them know that they’re seen and loved.

Dear Not-Exactly-Introverts,

We are blessed with a small school filled with some of the nicest people I have ever met. Don’t be scared of just stopping to say hi to someone you know, or of asking a friend to go with you to an event. We can’t always hide. Well, technically we can, but it’s not good for us. And the sooner we realize that, the better and happier we’ll be.


A Not-Exactly-Introvert

PHOTO: Hadassah Umbarger, Staff Writer