I am an introvert. I have known this for a couple years. I had no problem with it, until what happened at school the other day. My class had to take a personality test. Of course I got introvert. When we were standing in line to show our school counselor, a girl standing behind me saw that I was an introvert. She immediately said “Aw, you’re an introvert”. I just kind of nodded. When I got to my seat, I saw that I was the only person in my class who was an introvert. It is really hard to be an introvert in high school. My friends don’t realize why it is so important for me to have time by myself. I also hate it when we have to give a presentation for class. I have to give one next week and I am DREADING it. I love the topic, but I get so nervous when I have to speak in front of the class. Why does it seem that nobody gets why I would rather write a report or read than stand up in front of my class?
A: I’m sorry that you had that experience in class and I’m also a little surprised because I have seen some studies suggesting that almost half the population is introverted. Maybe not everyone taking the test was 100 % honest. The need to “fit in” in high school probably wins out in situations like this.
There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Some introverts can even be quite social; the difference usually comes down to how we recharge our batteries as a person. Do we seek out others and external stimulation, or do we recharge through our own inner world and alone time? Nothing wrong with either approach, they are just different.
Once you are out of high school, chances are that you will find more acceptance of your personality type. In the meantime, just be who you are and don’t be ashamed.
There are several books on this personality type if you want to do some more research to better understand yourself. It might also help explain yourself to others if/when you feel like you need to.
As for the discomfort with class presentations, that too is very normal. Most people have fears of speaking in public and get nervous. There are some tricks you can try, such as doing deep breathing before the presentation and finding a few focal points around the room to look at or a few friends to make eye contact with while you are speaking. Some people even suggest picturing everyone in their underwear so you won’t be so nervous.
Good luck with the presentation and have fun just being you.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts