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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
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You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
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Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
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Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
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We Are Quiet and We’re OK: Don’t Worry or Try to Change Us, Listening and Thinking Are Our Pleasure

smoky-mountains-sunrise--great-smoky-mountains-national-park-dave-allen

I’ve been on vacation this week. Six days surrounded by six other people, every day. It has been wonderful and relaxing overall but I have made some introvert observations.

If you are quiet people do not hesitate to point it out. They ask why you are so quiet and if you are OK. If you talk all of the time it wards off such calling out but… then you have to talk all the time, which is exhausting. Listening is so satisfying.

wonkaquiet

I saw my children’s’ behavior through others’ eyes this trip. I know my kids have busy, humming minds that are not outwardly expressed most of the time. They are taking in the scene, processing information gleaned from those talking and formulating ideas and questions to possibly contribute if the aforementioned ideas or questions are solidly worthy of sharing (and not deemed stupid, bothersome or redundant). I know this is what is going on inside their heads because it is what goes on inside my head.

Introverts prefer to be drawn out versus being called out 

I explained that pointing out someone is silent makes the silent person uneasy. It is better to praise that person in public and ask them their opinions in a smaller one-on-one setting. Praising raises their confidence and encourages offering their thoughts. On the side, one-on-one confabs are just more comfortable for the introvert than being put on the spot in front of many eyes. An exception may be if the subject matter is something near and dear to the introvert’s heart, then lookout. They may turn into a fountain of words, ideas and thoughts.

What boosts an introvert’s socializing stamina?

I did not get drained until about the 5th day of the trip. That is pretty good for a sensitive introvert away from home with no alone time. I’ll attribute the socializing stamina to the easy-going-ness of my parents, the accommodating nature of my man, the peaceful setting of the Tennessee hills and the meaningful conversations interspersed with low stress activities (watching fireworks, fishing, playing corn hole).

For the last few years, when I took the kids on vacation by myself I always made sure I had my own room wherever we stayed. No matter how stimulating and busy the days were I could always retreat to my own space at night. I could read, talk on the phone, play online and get restorative sleep. This trip I shared a room with my man and wound down at the end of the day by lying in his arms and talking. As incredible and lovely as this was, this lady still needs alone time to escape and engage my mind without any outside influence or interruptions.

women-dress-reading-books-turkish-nail-polish-900x1600I found it when I read for twenty minutes while waiting for a flight. I was amazed at how that little bit of personal time with my head in a thoughtful book, revived me. I swear my eyes got more sparkly. I wanted to talk about what I learned from the pages.

I also conserved energy during one leg of the trip, a short one hour flight, by closing my eyes and resting. I reduced stimulation. Our eyes take in 80% of our sensory information, so simply closing them gave my brain a beautiful break. I was ready to converse with my travel mates on the next flight.

Just because I’m happy alone does not mean I don’t like you

Back at home, my children went to their dad’s house, my man went to his house (he understands the need for time apart) and I was left blissfully alone in my own space. I caught up with a show I record, ate trail mix for dinner, talked on the phone, read in bed and slept alone. Aaaahhh.

I have a million things to do today, after being gone, but I chose to write this post first. I needed the shot of satisfaction. Writing puts me in my element. While composing, I am in flow and energized. I am quiet but very alive.

Do you worry about someone if they are quiet? Do you feel embarrassed if someone labels you the quiet one? How do you re-charge with limited alone time? 

If this piece resonated or affected you in a meaningful way, I would truly appreciate it if you would share it with others who may benefit.

Thank you,

Brenda

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13 Comments

  1. Denise July 12, 2015 at 5:08 am - Reply

    Hi Brenda,

    Once again…another beautiful read that I resonate with…I have been called quiet, ever since I was little. I can’t stand noise. I grew up in a volatile household where my father pretty much yelled and argued every single day for the first 10 years of my life. I can’t stand noise. I get tired of getting into arguments with people because I’m quiet and then when I talk about something near to my heart, I get the back-handed comments on, people excusing themselves away from the topics, that they very much so wanted me to talk about… It’s like I don’t talk enough then when I do, it can be a 20 minutes or less conversation, but I guess the fact that I deterred the conversation away from them It’s like okay… they are all of a sudden busy…..A lot of people don’t expect me to know much because I am quiet…When did being quiet equate to not being knowledgeable on a certain subject matter??!!!…

    Anyway when I get to write down my thoughts, it’s energizing for me because I have so much running through my mind….I’m still trying to find a balance with interacting with people. The state I now live in.. even though its not NJ… I feel I needed this break to get away from everyone and everything….I don’t even have my cell phone on… People that I know, I have to limit my communication because if not, they will literally talk my ear off for hours…and they are not talking about anything, those types of people I speak to quarterly. Eventually I will put my phone back on, but for now, I have wifi and social media and there is always FaceTime, if I need to contact someone… but I need this time for me. I know longer have time to give to people, the way I did in my 20’s…I only have one life and I have to be mindful of how I use my time and I need to make sure I have energy for myself so that I can give to others when needed…

  2. Kim July 11, 2015 at 6:23 am - Reply

    You explain “our needs” in a very meaningful, calm, reasoned manner. I often let out a pleased sigh of recognition after reading a post of yours. The positive responses and behaviors that you present in dealing with “life situations and moments” help me when similar events happen with me — I can respond to others’ misunderstandings of “me” with less annoyance than in the past 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles July 11, 2015 at 8:10 am - Reply

      Well, yay! I am so happy my words help you in some way. I will say that I do not always handle my own responses completely calmly. It’s a trial and error system. I present what I’ve learned to my readers. Thanks for commenting and for your kind words.

  3. David Kanigan July 11, 2015 at 4:18 am - Reply

    You don’t get drained until the 5th day. I say wow to that. I’m twitching in 48 hours. Love the post Brenda.

    • Brenda Knowles July 11, 2015 at 8:06 am - Reply

      Ha ha! Oh Dave, it all depends on where and with whom the vacation transpires.

  4. Ace July 11, 2015 at 2:49 am - Reply

    Brenda,

    First, let me say that your page has been a godsend for me. It’s opened my eyes and my mind to what I now consider the most important distinction about a person. Introversion and extroversion.

    I am a 27 year old extroverted man (albeit only slightly extroverted; ENFP, if you subscribe to the MBTI standards) in a relationship with a wonderful introverted woman. Though we’ve known each other for several years, today actually marks our 6-month anniversary.

    I’ve been struggling off and on from the beginning with her introversion and her need for space. Thanks to you, I now understand where this comes from and how much of a real need it is for her, but at the same time, I have difficulty coping with it. I do my best to give her enough autonomy and try my hardest NOT to text her when I’m free and feel the urge to chat. The thing is, in working to meet her needs, I always end up feeling neglected, unwanted and lonely.

    It’s funny how this post began, because she, too, was just on a 6-day vacation in the constant company of about 4 other women. I only heard from her once while she was gone, and that didn’t surprise me. She has a habit of giving her undivided attention to whoever she happens to be with, so I didn’t contact her, so as not to be a burden to her attention while she was focused on having fun with her friends.

    I should mention at this point that we currently see each other once a week for about 6 hours, so her being gone was nothing new, though the complete lack of contact was a bit hard to handle.

    She got home from the airport the day before the 4th and I’d hoped to be able to see her at least long enough to watch some fireworks, but I made sure she knew that if she was too tired (she was), it was ok if we didn’t meet up until the following weekend (this weekend).

    On top of all that, she came home to find out she’d lost her job, so even though it’s a bit of a blessing in disguise, she’s still dealing with that headache. So at this point I’m dying to be actively supportive, but I feel the only way I can do that is to leave her alone, and even though I know that solitude is good for her, I still end up feeling useless in her time of need.

    So with that, I only had one, rather brief conversation with her over the course of two weeks. I finally saw her today as we met with a small group of people we play games with once a week. She’d mentioned that she was still tired, so I made an excuse so we could bow out for the night. I’d hoped we could just make it a quiet night together, but she decided to go home immediately after we left the group.

    I didn’t know what to think. Here we’d barely spoken in two weeks, we see each other for 20 minutes, and she’s already gone. It’s a stark reminder that no matter how much I’d like to be otherwise, I’m still a constant draw on her energy.

    I want to talk to her about it, but every time I mention that I might want a little more from her, she retreats. It feels as though I push her further away because she interprets it as me not truly understanding and appreciating her needs. She’s even said on one occasion that she “worries that she’ll never be able to give me enough”

    It feels as though compromise is a one-way street. Not because she’s unwilling to try, but because it’s such a burden for her to give me any more, that I can’t even bring myself to ask that much of her.

    I desperately want her to know that I understand her and her needs, but I can’t help but realize that if this were to become the rest of my life, I’d end up in love, but unhappy.

    I don’t even have a specific question in all of this, I just need to share with someone who fundamentally understands the other side of the coin.

    If you have the time (and the energy, of course), I’d appreciate any insight you may have on my predicament.

    • Brenda Knowles July 11, 2015 at 8:43 am - Reply

      First of all, I would like to commend you for your genuine interest and thoughtfulness as you navigate your partner’s temperament. I can tell you care deeply and are intelligently working towards an understanding of introversion.
      A relationship should be a two-way street. If you feel confident your girlfriend is committed to the relationship, I assume she is somewhat overwhelmed at this point with her job loss. I would ask her directly what would help her the most, leaving her alone or being around to offer emotional support. I would add that your natural inclination is to be supportive. What you bring to the table matters too. The amount of time you spend together is not a lot. I do not think you were asking too much to see her after she’s been away.
      I am glad you are going into this with your eyes open. She may not be the woman for you if her needs are in stark contrast to yours. I doubt she will have a complete change of heart in the future. She will always need a good amount of space.
      For now, I would give her some time but possibly offer to help her find another job or assuage her fears about being unemployed. The lower her stress levels the easier it is to be more open and caring. Best of luck! Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Shelley July 17, 2015 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Ace,

      You sound exactly like the guy I am seeing. I have the problem with needing alone time and space and he is dealing with it. After almost one year of dating, we are still figuring it out – but it’s getting easier. regardless of my need for space, he still has a need for being together. We have talked about it and he has put it plain and simple what he is willing to deal with and what he expects from me in return. For example, a simple check in during my quiet time to let him know I am still thinking about him and haven’t bailed out of the relationship. That I can do. He is gaining confidence in “us” and it is getting easier for him. If he is able to give me the space I need, I find myself needing less time. We are both also learning to recognize quicker when that need for quiet time comes up. I start to become irritable and distant. We were just discussing this last week. I told him who could be so lucky to be in a relationship where I get my quiet time and he gets “man time” to do whatever sport he wants to do. It’s finally working. My advice: Tell her what you need and be straight forward. She can choose to either compromise with you or not. Don’t lose confidence in your relationship when she is alone. That just leads to insecure, clingy behavior, which can feel smothering to an introvert. Have patience and if it simply doesn’t work for you, then leave the relationship. You are just as deserving of having your needs met. Good luck to you!

      • Brenda Knowles July 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

        Well said Shelley. I like your tips. I’m learning from you.:)

      • Ace August 14, 2015 at 1:38 am - Reply

        Thank you both for your thoughts.

        Shelley, your words were particularly helpful.

        Things have been a bit rough lately. For me, at least.

        On the upside, she got a new job that she absolutely loves, and I’m incredibly happy for her, but it brings with it a new set of challenges. Her new work week is 20 hours longer than before, and her new job requires her to be a bit more social than she was at her last job. On top of all of that, she’s dealing with a cancer diagnosis in her immediate family.

        All of these new stresses have caused her to withdraw.

        It’s the most bizarre thing for me to try to wrap my brain around. Lol.

        We don’t talk much during the week, though we’ve been keeping our 6-hour Saturday slot booked for each other. Unfortunately, last Saturday and this coming Saturday have been commandeered for group activities with friends (her recommendation, our choice) so we’re sorely lacking “together” time right now.

        The lack of communication during the week is a bit hard to stomach. She posts things about how much she enjoys her new job, and going with her new coworkers to get drinks after work. I also see play-by-play’s via Twitter of her online group game sessions with friends 2-3 times a week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she’s enjoying it so much. But when I see that happy and new things are happening for her, I can’t help but wish she would want to tell me about them. Instead, I feel like a silent bystander to the good things in her life. Like everything and everyone else takes priority over me.

        I believe, however, that this is certainly NOT the case. I think that she puts a lot of her energy into socializing with new coworkers and her online friends because she’s trained herself to be a pseudo-extrovert. The problem lies in the fact that she’s grown accustomed to spending all of her energy on those two groups of people over the years. Now, suddenly, I show up and bring an entirely different type of relationship with me.

        When we first started dating, she had reduced her interaction with online friends in what I suspect was a necessary step to conserve enough energy to devote to interacting with me regularly. Now that our relationship has deepened, and I’ve expressed my willingness to understand her needs, she’s wanting to catch up with the things in her life she’d been setting aside.

        I don’t want her to sacrifice the things she loves in life, but I also don’t like the fact that by the end of a long day of fulfilling others, she has no energy left to spend on me.

        All of these little frustrations are contrasted by things that give be great hope for our relationship.

        For instance, this last Saturday, before our social engagement, we decided to go to the shelter and adopt a cat together. Also, she mentioned that she’d planned on moving in last month, but the loss of her job had screwed up her plans. So now she’s waiting until the end of her probationary period at the new job, and will probably move in after that.

        In an attempt to soothe my anxiety and feelings of neglect, she’s told me before that she tends to devote her undivided attention to whoever she happens to be with at any given time, and that she will be able to devote more attention to me when we live together, so that’s one thing that’s keeping me going at this point.

        I’ll have to be patient and see how things play out at that time. I know that she wouldn’t move in if it weren’t something she’d considered very carefully, and decided it was something she was ready to do. She doesn’t talk about her feelings at all, so a commitment like that would do wonders to quell my doubts and frustrations.

        How does the saying go? “It’s easier to pull out your teeth than to get an introvert to talk about their feelings.”

        Anyway… No questions, again, but thanks for letting me type through my thoughts.

  5. Kesha July 11, 2015 at 2:04 am - Reply

    I’ve always been called out for being quiet. So much so, that I’ve gotten quite used to it. However, this past week I found myself in a situation where I was annoyed (just a bit). I was on a first “date” with someone who I’ve been talking to for the last six months. There are about 580 miles and two hectic lives that separate us. We were finally able to meet up and hang out with each other for a couple of days this past weekend. My new companion is an extrovert, and we have had several conversations about the many facets of my introversion. He didn’t seem to be turned off by any of it. While we were together this weekend, he dominated the conversation in typical extrovert fashion. I enjoyed listening to him because he’s very charismatic and animated when he speaks. When he stopped talking, I did not take that as my cue to start. I was instead savoring the moment, taking in the setting and being in his presence. In my silence, he would ask “Is everything ok?” (this occurred several times during the weekend). By the third time, I thought to myself “I thought I made it clear that I don’t talk a lot.” Although I was irked by this, it is by no means a deal breaker. We have a lot of other things in common and the chemistry between us is amazing. I look forward to learning to navigate the extremes of our personalities.

  6. Terry July 10, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    I’m getting ready to go on a nine day family vacation which may well involve being with people 24/7. Thank you for the timely reminder that rejuvenating moments can be winnowed out of the togetherness when we are mindful. I will also remember to bring earplugs. 😉

    • Brenda Knowles July 10, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      Ear plugs are a great idea! It was quiet where we were but hotels and late night talkers can be hard to tune out. Good luck and enjoy your vacation. Don’t hesitate to snag some solitude when possible. 🙂

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