Fun, Introvert Style
Introverts are not failed extroverts. We simply have our own way of interacting (or, sometimes, not) with the world.
Introvert fun is quiet, contemplative, and often experienced in solitude. It frequently relates to our environment. A peaceful place is conducive to our kind of fun. So is a slowed pace. And time. We like quiet sports that let us get into our thoughts, sports that can be enjoyed alone or with other like-minded quiet types: hiking, biking, kayaking, mountain climbing. We like being near water. We like swimming. “At my first lesson, my teacher cautioned me that swimming was a solitary sport—as if that were a drawback—and all I thought was ‘Great!’” one introvert said.
We like walking—in the woods, around the neighborhood, with a dog or without, with music or without. We don’t mind walking with a friend now and then, as a way to have a nice visit. We like yoga and meditation.
We like reading. “Sometimes I even send the dog to ‘camp’ for a weekend so I can read all day,” said one introvert.
We like coffee shops, either for a cozy visit with friends or as a place to recharge. “After spending two or three hours in a coffee shop reading, I feel relaxed and completely restored,” said another introvert.
We like a long lunch with a good friend, or small dinner parties involving wine and conversation. We like long, deep, self-absorbed, self-analytical, navel-gazing conversations with a close friend. A similarly disposed friend and I once took a weekend trip together and by the end of it, our jaws actually ached from so much talking. It was twenty-two hours of deep, intimate soul baring. It was great.
We like theaters, where we may sit quietly and nourish our brains. I’m not really a film buff, but I love sitting in the dark and being transported. Going to movies alone is deliciously indulgent. Going alone during the day is so much fun it’s practically wicked.
We like looking out of windows, watching the passing scene, whether we’re standing still or on the move. I adore road trips, alone or with my excellent husband, who is capable of long stretches of silence. The motion and changing view sends my thoughts down all sorts of interesting paths. And, one introvert mused, “drive the same route a few times and you begin to notice details that you previously missed.”
We like getting up early or staying up late to have the house to ourselves. One introvert likes to “sleep in,” but “I don’t usually sleep when I stay in bed late. I like to just stay there and think or daydream.”
We like knitting, sewing, drawing, writing. We enjoy the concentration these require, and the creative outlet. We like making PowerPoint presentations—or at least one of us does. “I find I really get caught up in this and enjoy making it look good,” said one introvert.
“I also like to refinish furniture,” said another. “I find it soothing. Often, my spouse will be twenty feet away, working on some airbrush project. We’ll work for hours without speaking.”
We like art galleries and museums. We like parks, where we can walk or sit and watch. We like days with nothing on our schedule, and evenings alone watching six consecutive episodes of our favorite show. A night at home alone with the TV might not sound like fun to some people. And sure, we don’t mind the right kind of company for a night like that. But we don’t need company, and often we don’t want it.
“My favorite fun things are totally different experiences when I do them alone and when I do them with another person,” said one introvert. “Alone is a more spiritual adventure to me.”
“Spiritual fun” sounds practically like an oxymoron. That’s because we’ve allowed [extroverted] people to take possession of the word “fun.” But it’s time to stake our claim to it, by identifying and owning the activities that give us genuine pleasure and refusing to let anyone tell us we don’t know how to have fun.
–Sophia Dembling, from the book The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World