This Is How To Interact With The Introverted…I have always been an introverted person, being around people was never my strong suit. In high school I thought that it was a by-product of my strict African parents. My father had a rule that if I wanted to go out with friends I needed to ask 24 hours in advance, and most times when I followed that rule the answer was still no. As my senior year approached and then quickly came to an end, I kept telling myself that when I got to college I would let loose. Without the constant supervision and dictator-esque rules that I had lived under for years I would finally find “social Leila” “Wild Leila” The Leila who always had a group of friends around her, and chose a Kappa party over staying in bed watching reruns of ‘The West Wing.’ I’m in the second semester of my sophomore year in college and I still have not found that Leila.

24/7 my phone is on DND, meaning that I do not receive notifications about calls/text etc. The only calls that come through are from my mom, my dad, and my grandma. If you’re not one of those people, then don’t expect a speedy response, don’t expect a response at all. I have become so comfortable with being alone that the mere thought of being around people gives me panic attacks. I’m uncomfortable in large crowds, I try my hardest to make myself small and unnoticeable (I’m 5’10 sooo this is really hard), I always have my headphones in, and I walk with my head down so I don’t make eye contact with anyone that might even think about talking to me.

Sometimes I feel bad, as I sit in my bed on a Saturday night eating blueberries and watching Netflix. I think about how college is supposed to be the funnest, most exhilarating time of our lives and this is how I’m spending them. Shouldn’t I be chugging Henny in someones basement or fist pumping to the Chainsmokers at Alpha Delta Mocha Latte?

I think about all of the people my age who are accomplishing big things, building businesses, making connections. How compared to me they are light-years ahead. My schedule consist of me going to class, the gym, and back to my bed. I barely have any friends, and in the 2 years I have been in college I can count the number of times I have gone to a party on ONE hand. But here’s the thing…. I’m not unhappy with any of this. I know that I could go out and make friends; I’m a nice person, and I got jokes for days. But I don’t want to. When I think about going out, I get uncomfortable, anxious even. Something that’s supposed to be fun, feels like a CHORE.

When I tell people that I don’t like going out, they look at me funny. They tell me to take a shot and everything will be alright… I don’t drink. They tell me that I’m overreacting, or they say that it’s annoying how everyone wants to be “low-key” these days. I’ve been told I’m stuck up or think I’m better than everyone because I don’t talk to certain people.

They make me feel bad for not putting myself in situations that I don’t feel comfortable in.

The only time I ever feel bad about being introverted is when I tell other people.

For the majority of my life I have been told to speak up, to be more outgoing, to make more friends. For the majority of my life I have been told to change the way I am in order to fit the expectations that society has of me. I’m not shy, I’m just quiet. I’m not weak, I just don’t think everything deserves a response. I don’t talk much cause I prefer to listen. I don’t hate people, I just like being alone.

There’s nothing wrong with being introverted. Nothing at all. If you want to stay home and watch ‘The West Wing”, do that shit and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re weird for it.


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