On Being an Introvert.

Why hello there!

I have just had one of those fabulously productive, yet restful days. It has been truly wonderful.

My lovely daffodils are just about hanging in there, it’s so nice to have the bright pop of colour spring out at me every morning when I open my curtains 🙂

Recently, Tessa over at Amazing Asset posted a blog on intentional isolation and it really spoke to me.

University is usually one of those times, especially the first year, when you actually spend very little time alone (apart from when sleeping…and even then not always!).

You have lectures, seminars, labs, etc, you eat with your friends, you spend time in each others’ rooms, in the communal areas, you go to societies and clubs, you drink with friends, you go to the bar with friends, you go out with friends…

For most, nearly all of your daily activities are with other people or at least in the presence of other people. It’s a very social atmosphere.

But for me it’s a little different.

I am naturally introverted. I wasn’t always though, as a child I was pretty extroverted, I talked to anyone and everyone and I took part in lots of social activities. Then, various experiences I had whilst growing through my teenage years made me lose a lot of my confidence and become shy around people I didn’t know or people I didn’t trust. I gradually became an introvert.

At uni, I’m not a massively social person. I tried, I really did try. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog since around October, I joined several societies, I tried to throw myself into going out, I’ve made a huge effort to chat with each person I encounter but because of my rapidly worsening condition I had to give a lot of that stuff up (obviously not the talking to people bit) and as a consequence, I’ve ended up spending a lot of time on my own.

The thing is, I genuinely enjoy being alone. As strange as that might sound to some.

In fact, I actually love my alone time! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love spending time with those I love, all of the brilliant friends I’ve made here and my lovely friends back home. I relish the time I get to spend with Tom after weeks apart and feel like I don’t want to be separated from him again.

But I would feel really oppressed if I didn’t ever get any time alone.

I love being on my own, curled up in my blanket with a good book. I love working out on my own in my room, powering through an intense workout DVD, throwing my weight about (not literally don’t worry) during some serious strength training, or relaxing into a nice stretch session. I love reading all of your blogs and writing my own posts without having someone there to see what I’m doing. I need to be alone to work and to write.

I have come to a conclusion on all of this. I think it is perfectly fine, and even healthy, to enjoy spending time by myself. Even for long periods, it gives you time to focus and time to reflect. And then it is also absolutely normal to want to spend time with all of the people I care about and to enjoy the hours spent with Tom, with my family and my friends.

And today was one of those marvelous alone days!

I had breakfast in bed and I read the end of Shame (strange, strange book). Eventually I got up and got ready then read some more. I have A LOT of reading to do this weekend. Then I ate a pretty tasty, snacky lunch:

Three chili thins, a handful of spicy roasted chickpeas, a little pot of sweet chili hummus (chili theme going on here, non?), a stick of celery, a cherry tomato and three giant strawberries. The strawberries weren’t at their best but who am I to be fussy. My favourite sort of lunches are ones like this. Perfect and light.

I had plans to go to the gym today but as it was so mild and spring-like today I thought I’d much rather be outside than in the sweaty-aired gym. Fresh air is good for the soul dontcha know. So I hopped on my bike and went off for a 30 minute cycle. It was fantastic, I felt so fresh and invigorated when I got back in.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working and reading and then decided that I wanted to make something. And that something is this:

Delicious. Ridiculously simple to make. Thank you Nigel Slater. Seriously I recommend his books, the way he writes about food is just beautiful. This is from his book, Real Fast Puddings, in which he gives you details and recipes of the seasonal ingredients that form puddings through the year. It’s a lovely little book and I can’t wait to try more of the recipes. I might put this one up for you with the little alterations I made. (That’s not plagiarism is it? Surely not if I’ve referenced properly right?)

After baking I decided to go do  Jillian Michaels: 6 Weeks to Six-Pack DVD which left my core feeling sufficiently sore and me feeling pretty satisfied with myself.

Dinner followed, some more reading, a documentary with some adorable grizzly bear cubs and now it’s time for bed!

Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
Do you enjoy spending more of your time surrounded by people or alone?

Have you baked lately? Any fantastic baking recipes?

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16 comments

    1. Haha glad I’m not alone! I do love people too, in fact I miss my boyfriend, my family and my friends back home lots when I’m here, and I regularly meet with my friends here but I’m definitely an introvert too 🙂

  1. I think I’m a little bit of both. I LOVE my alone time, I need it!! To do what I what, when I want and not have to worry about anyone else. But I also love being with others, going out etc. I do spend a lot of time alone, but that’s because I don’t like to go out partying every single night whereas a lot of other people in my college do. Nothing wrong with that! Great post girl, that baked good looks awesome 😀

  2. That’s perfectly okay to like being alone. I do! I love thinking and pretty much analyzing my life and the meaning of it. Looking back at my day and looking at the important aspects. I’m one of those philosophical people who thinks everything in life is brought to you for a reason. Even the littlest things. But I definitely love being around my group of friends, family, classmates, and especially my boyfriend. I love making memories with the ones I love! 🙂 I think both is important, ya know?

  3. I think its perfectly wonderful to enjoy being alone. I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert by a long shot but I love spending time on my own. Also, when it comes to friendships I’d rather have fewer, more meaningful relationships in which I can invest my time in, than lots of friends I hardly ever spend quality time with. I think there’s a reason I often have ‘me’ days and day’s when I prefer working from home as I really do just like to be on my own sometimes. Like I said, just because you enjoy time alone doesn’t mean that you have to label yourself as introverted or extroverted, I think I enjoy a nice middle ground between the two!

    1. I’m with you 100%, I’d definitely have fewer, more meaningful relationships than lots of friends, I think you get more from the relationships! ‘Me’ days are the best sort sometimes, enjoying being able to do exactly what we want 🙂 I think you’re right, a middle ground is definitely good!

  4. Thank you for sharing this Sophie. As you know I am quite confused on where I stand with all of this, and it is helpful for me to read other people’s thoughts on intro vs. extrovert. Especially you m’dear as I respect your opinion greatly! it really is a wonderful thing to be alone- and that you are able to do so without the constant “need” to be around people. I know individuals who cannot stand to be alone and that is just not a good thing either! (if you ask me). I would much rather have fewer friends with deeper meanings and love between us then several fake ones.
    Again, I appreciate your words here!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my post Tessa, it was inspired by you :-). Aw thank you, I’m glad you respect my opinion, I value yours tremendously!

      I definitely don’t need (or want) to be around people constantly and I agree that that sort of need isn’t particularly healthy, but neither do I need to be alone 24/7 thankfully! I’d defintiely rather have fewer friends with deeper relationships than lots of fake ones so I’m completely with you there!

  5. I’m most definitely an introvert – I knew that already, but I’ve done several psychometric tests that have confirmed it. I have some classic introvert tendencies like thinking everything through before opening my mouth, I can become very focused and shut out the world around me and I daydream *A LOT*.
    However, I also enjoy being sociable, probably more so than Peter, who is more extroverted, but can be quite anti-social. It has to be on my terms though and after spending time with other people I have to balance it out with time on my own to “recharge”. I also love just “being” with people without having to chat necessarily, so I like running club, exercise classes and going to the cinema.
    Your personality, as in who you essentially are, is fairly fixed, but how you behave definitely changes and is shaped my experience. Therefore I don’t think it’s necessary to get hung-up on labels – most people wouldn’t know that I was an introvert because I act quite extroverted a lot of the time.
    I agree with you that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your own company, as long as you’re not lonely or unhappy, which from what you say you’re not.

    1. Firstly Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful reply!

      I took the Guardian online quiz for this and got 15/20 towards introvert so it’s fair to say that I certainly fulfill a large portion of the ‘criteria’ for the traditional idea of an introvert however, as you say, I don’t think that personalities can be ‘labeled’.

      I’m like you, I do need to socialize otherwise I start to feel isolated but it definitely needs to be on my own terms and on a fairly small scale. I completely understand your need to ‘recharge’.

      I agree with you that a) it’s how you behave that shapes your experience and b) that as long as you’re happy that’s most of what counts 🙂

  6. Introverts, Nigel Slater and daffodils are all excellent. Going to university was what taught me that I am an introvert, although I get glum if I’m alone for too long…

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