Have you ever felt really ‘square’? I certainly have. As an introvert, I have always been slightly embarrassed about my unwillingness to socialise indiscriminately and my growing preference for the quiet life. To be fair, no one has actually ever said this to me, but they don’t need to – it’s implicit within the extrovert-dominated culture we live in.
With the hindsight of maturity, I’ve come to realise that this is just as much my prejudice as other people’s. We have all bought in to the extrovert idea that it’s boring to stay in on a Saturday night, or sad to be on your own, or just downright weird to enjoy silence. But when you look at it objectively, it’s ridiculous to think that introverts are any more or less interesting than extroverts – we simply have very different needs.
As introverts, we have to work hard to keep our energy levels high and our external stimulation low. Unfortunately this means that to be a healthy, happy introvert, we do need to look after ourselves very carefully, often at the risk of appearing dull. But in fact, the very things we think may make us look square to the outside world will actually enable us to function at our best and so be our most creative and powerful selves – often with fascinating results!
I don’t know if Huey Lewis is an introvert but I do think his song provides us with a useful affirmation to help counteract our fears – it really is Hip to Be Square.
So next time you’re worried you might come across as boring, here’s a list of some things it is absolutely, perfectly OK to do:
- want to be on your own
- go to bed early, even at weekends
- avoid an acquaintance in the street so you don’t have to engage in small-talk
- not drink alcohol (it’s a major energy robber)
- look after what you eat
- not have a party on a big birthday
- avoid social occasions which you know will be draining
- sit in silence or stare into space
- need time to make decisions
- email or text instead of phoning someone
- let the phone go onto voicemail
- not stop to talk to people after an event
- not invite people round to your house
- take things slowly
- disappear when you need to