MattAndJojang's Blog

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Fun, Introvert Style

with 6 comments

Introverts are not failed extroverts. We simply have our own way of interacting (or, sometimes, not) with the world.

–Sophia Dembling

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

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Written by MattAndJojang

June 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Thank you for posting this Matt – a lovely reassuring read. It is rather significant that the meaning of the name ‘Sophia’ is wisdom….
    I had an interesting thought while reading this – every time the text says “we like”, try reading it as “we ARE like”. It produces some interesting thoughts.

    God bless you loads Matt

    Senan

    Senan of Somerset

    June 21, 2015 at 5:39 pm

  2. Maybe I fit into the “introvert” category more than I realized. I kept saying, “Yes… yes…” I had to smile at the reference to woodworking, especially. That’s exactly right. Even if I hadn’t had tendencies toward introversion when I started, twenty-five years of working by myself on the docks has turned me a bit solitary. Add writing to the mix, and the effect only increases.

    That’s an interesting thought. Maybe we choose activities because of our introversion or extroversion, but is it also possible that our work and chosen leisure activities could reshape us in important ways? It seems the answer would not only be “yes,” it also would help to explain why practices like meditation can reshape us.

    shoreacres

    June 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm

  3. Indeed, Senan, I find this excerpt quite reassuring, too, especially in our extroverted-centric society. I have always been drawn to quiet, contemplative and solitary pursuits. For instance, I’d rather stay at home and read a good book than attend a party. For quite sometime, I thought that there was something wrong with me. Reading books, like Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and Sophia Dembley’s The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, has helped me realize that there’s nothing wrong with me. In fact, it is estimated that 30%-50% of the population are introverts! And as introverts, we have to take these words of Anais Nin to heart:

    Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.

    Also, introverts have to be true to who they we are and always remember these words of Susan Cain:

    Stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth.

    –Matt

    MattAndJojang

    June 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

  4. A lot of people have that realization, Linda. I had a conversation lately with Jojang and she said the same thing to me. She said that since she got married to me she became more introverted. When she told one of her friends about it, her friend couldn’t believe it! I guess being married to an introvert and also spending long stretches of silence and solitude that she needs for her work as travel writer has made her more of an introvert.

    The question of whether our temperaments and personalities are the result of nature or nurture is still being debated. But my own take, after reading your comment, as well as Jojang’s experience, is it’s a combination of both.

    As for me, I’ve always known that I was an introvert. Although, for quite sometime, I wasn’t comfortable with it. It’s probably because our society is extrovert-centric. But with books like Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and Sophia Dembley’s The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, introverts like me are beginning to come out and embrace their true temperaments and personalities.

    –Matt

    MattAndJojang

    June 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm

  5. I can totally relate to that and I think it is really important to acknowledge that we introverts have a different approach to what we see as fun and enjoyable. I think we should not conform to the “extroverted standard” but do what gives us pleasure and helps us refuel again. Surely we need our alone time. I remember on holidays walking down the streets all by myself drinking a coffee at a nice and cosy cafe just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere and watching the people around me. To me these are the most precious moments. Moments I feel whole and peaceful again.

    Ana Salsbury

    June 28, 2015 at 5:03 pm

  6. Hi, Ana! I’m happy that introverts are now coming out and beginning to embrace who they are. For a long time now introverts have been struggling in a world whose standards have been defined by extroverts.

    So true, introverts are fundamentally different from extroverts. Extroverts get energized when they have a lot of people to relate to; introverts replenish their energy by solitude. That’s why the introvert’s definition of “fun” is diametrically opposed to that of the extrovert. Introverts like me enjoy quiet, solitary and contemplative pursuits.

    And just like you, it is during these times that I find myself whole and peaceful again…

    –Matt

    MattAndJojang

    June 29, 2015 at 8:41 am


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