Introvert diaries

We, human beings, are designed to function socially. However, that does not mean that every one of us is able to handle the intricacies of complex and meticulous social interactions. Those who are not comfortable with it are introverts, who are not very comfortable to open up themselves in front of a crowd. Zaara Zareen shares her experience of being an introvert, its social challenges and tricks to play it right.

 

aarontcaycedokimuraHUMAN beings are social animals. In connection to this, most of the members of our race enjoy company of a fellow member. So, being an introvert living in a world constructed for extroverts can be very daunting. In my younger days, I always preferred to stay by myself. I would feel hesitant about interacting with people, especially the ones I had not met before. I figured that it was most likely due to my age and would become more tolerable with time. At the same time, there was my cousin, who was of the same age as me, making friends left and right and being the centre of attention almost everywhere he went. He was (and still is) definitely an extrovert and my eight-year old self found that very hard to believe. Even now that I am older and more capable, my introversion has not deserted me. The only thing that has changed in me on the concept of introversion is that, which I understand quite well now, it is still a very negative phenomenon in any given society. To some, it is even considered signs of being poor-mannered and in some cases, offensive.

The biggest issue regarding introversion is that it is a dangerous cycle. A person who is an introvert to begin with is more likely to get even more introverted over time and one of the primary reasons behind this is people. More often than not, introverts are criticized, rather than helped to break out of their shell. Among my countless personal experiences, I remember this one time I visited a relative of mine and was supposed to go to the room where all my second cousins were socialising. Since I was not all that comfortable in my new surroundings, I opted to sit by myself, reading a comic book that I found. Immediately, an aunt found me there and scolded me for being unsocial and strange. I felt horrible about myself that day. I started questioning me why I can’t just be like most people and get along with the crowd. The thing is, while being an introvert does not help matters much, having negative people around can make it even worse. I could imagine that things would go so much better if my aunt approached me in a friendlier manner instead of putting me in the middle of the same people I was already uncomfortable around.

Getting into adulthood with this trait is even harder. During my school and college days, I did not notice that much of a difference since I had went about with a tight circle of friends with whom I was very comfortable with. However, it is only after joining university and taking up all sorts of responsibilities that involved dealing with all these new people and the negative consequences of introversion came into play again.

In my first few days of university, I hoped that I would somehow fall into place with the crowd. I’d want to be friends with people but could barely approach them into initiating a conversation. As a result, I ended up being a loner by the end of the term whereas everyone had found their own circle of friends. I was more than fine being left to myself and enjoying my own company, but it becomes a problem when it comes to university. There are multiple group activities where people would look for partners in their friends. So unsurprisingly, I struggled to find people to work with.  Even though I have gotten better at it now, as a part of my ‘adapt or perish’ mantra, finding people to work with for a group project still is a source of anxiety for me.

textAfter going through a good number of semesters, I can gladly say that I have definitely come a long way with my introvert ways. I have accepted the fact that I will just have to go out of my comfort zone and put myself out there, no matter how many harrowing thoughts come into mind while having to socialise with people! Sometimes I do relapse and end up not getting it right with my social interactions, leading most people to interpret that I am ‘moody’ as a person. Even though it is slightly exhausting, I try to come off as a more pleasant person now and thankfully, I have been getting surprisingly better results.

As much I would like for the world to give us introverts a chance too, nobody said life would be fair. If you are on the same train as me, draining yourself out, trying to get by with your social responsibilities, it’s okay. You will grow into someone who will be able to handle social responsibilities too. All you need to do is keeping an open mind and putting yourself out there, step by step, taking your time to recharge yourself when things get too overwhelming. Eventually you will grow out of your shell and your previous efforts and struggles will seem like a distant memory. I can safely verify that I am definitely not the most social butterfly (yet), but I can assure you that things will only get easier and better once you start opening yourself up to overcome the challenges that come your way. Go at your own pace, but always keep on trying to step out of your comfort zone. Soon enough, everyone and everything will become a part of that comfort zone.

Zaara Zareen is a student of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.

 

 

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