The Secret Lives of Introverts

Self Care

Within every introvert there’s a dreamer, creative, artist, scholar, performer, designer or thinker. If we’re not any of these things by occupation it’s likely they are part of our secret life. It’s the part of our lives we don’t necessarily broadcast, talk about on Facebook, or share with our work colleagues. When others are looking forward to having drinks after work, we’re eagerly heading off to indulge our passions. We’re the writer who carefully crafts each sentence because it’s important for the narrative. We’re the ballroom dancing, ballet, and yoga class attendees who are always at the back of class but are still paying close attention to the instructor. We’re the stitchers, thinking about which project in our Benedict Cumberstitch book we’re going to start next.

We’re the artists who attend drawing classes and never giggle when the naked life model reveals all. This is serious stuff. We’re there to learn and get the most out of our experience. If we’re there at all it’s because we’re genuinely interested in the art form at hand. Don’t interfere with our experience, because we wouldn’t dream of interfering with yours.

We spend our lunch breaks sitting alone under a tree with a book, or perhaps going for a solitary stroll listening to music to clear our minds and restore our calm. We might meet with someone we know very well to catch up, and we’ll talk about the things that matter instead of mindless small talk.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t hate idle hands. Sometimes we sit quietly, listening to the void, holding a conversation in our heads, reasoning out an argument, working out a solution to a problem. Or we might just put on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and watch in blissful repose. It doesn’t have to be deep you know.

We’ve been known to fire up SingStar on the Play Station when we’re home alone and channel our inner Britney, or play Halo with the same enthusiasm we have when we’re trying to perfect that bread recipe that isn’t quite there yet.

When we’re not doing what we’re required to do to earn a living, we’re waiting for the times of the day when we can gleefully do our own thing. We’re waiting for when we can spend our 15-minute breaks in the sunshine and jump on Tumblr to check-in anonymously with our chosen fandom. We’re waiting for when we can get to that art exhibition we’ve spent months anticipating, and then wander around and ponder each piece at our leisure. We’re waiting to go on that solitary hike where we’re going to push ourselves a little harder, just for the challenge and the feeling of achievement. We’re waiting for when we get home, when we can shed the days uniform and properly settle into our favourite space to read, pin, watch, write, compose, paint, craft, stitch, or knit.

We introverts are easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. On trains and buses, we’re almost compact, being careful not invade other people’s personal space while fervently hoping ours is similarly respected. Our armour is a book or device, combined with headphones to ensure that no one misunderstands our intentions. We’re there to read, listen to our music or podcasts, and not to chat. If we want to talk, we’ll approach you.

At social functions we’re likely to be found sitting quietly with one other person, or the hosts dog, talking about life and love. Or we’ve made ourselves supremely useful, perhaps we’re the DJ, or we’re helping the host keep tabs on whether more bottles of wine need to be opened. We’re also the ones who will quietly slip away after a couple of hours because, well that’s just what we do.

The most important thing to understand about introverts is that we have secret lives. We are not an open book and never will be to people we don’t trust and respect. Don’t judge the book by the cover because there’s so much going on under the surface you may never see, and it’s beautiful in its complexity.

When an introvert shares their inner world with you, you are one of the lucky ones. We’re notoriously picky when it comes to deciding who makes it to the inner circle. If you make it, don’t mess with it. Respect the introverts need to be alone from time to time. It’s not personal, it’s just necessary.

Over to you! If you’re an introvert, tell us about your ‘secret’ life in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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43 Comments

  • Reply
    Kayla
    May 22, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Everything about this is me.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      May 22, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Hi Kayla, thank you for reading ‘The Secret Lives of Introverts’ and taking the time to comment. I hope you enjoyed it!

    • Reply
      Raphael Holman
      September 30, 2016 at 3:52 am

      Yup, I’m an introvert as well, but something’s I do…dont have much sense

  • Reply
    Ju
    June 9, 2016 at 10:56 am

    It’s like reading my life.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 14, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Hi Ju! Thanks for reading ‘The Secret Lives of Introverts’. It’s amazing how many people have similar experiences to us but each one is personal and important. Thank you for your comment!

  • Reply
    Anne Dove
    June 14, 2016 at 8:08 am

    My artwork isn’t quite a secret…some at work and most friends know about it…but very few friends know what it means to me to make art and how it heals my soul.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 14, 2016 at 8:42 am

      Hi Anne, thank you for reading ‘The Secret Lives of Introverts’. It’s a privilege to be able to keep something for ourselves, and those few friends who know how creating art makes you feel are privileged to know that. Thank you for your comment.

  • Reply
    Amy Rae Hanson
    June 15, 2016 at 3:13 am

    totally describes me, and yes I have a secret life many don’t know and wouldn’t understand, let’s just say I’m a kid at heart and I’m not afraid of Embracing her and letting her out from time to time, my inner child helps keep me sain and I couldn’t imagine my world without her, I am also a poet, a writer, and a singer and musician. for me it isn’t exactly books, but when I do read books I really enjoy my favorite childhood books from my past and when it comes to music I love it,I enjoy all genres of great music, thanks for the wonderful article that spreads light on the inside world of us introverts, Amy 🙂 <3

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 15, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Hi Amy, thank you for taking the time to read ‘The Secret Life of Introverts’ and share your insights. I LOVE the description of your ‘inner child’. I think we could all benefit from embracing our inner child sometimes. Being an adult gives us more choices, but it can also be challenging especially for introverts. Thank you for the timely reminder 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacey
    June 20, 2016 at 1:13 am

    I don’t have a secret life going on right now, but when I did…this article is spot-on.
    I need to get some crochet hooks. Or a coloring book. I’ve been reading a LOT lately, so I’m focusing on that. But it would be nice to get my hands on something.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Hi Stacey, thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • Reply
    Christine
    June 21, 2016 at 9:19 am

    My secret life is online. I have more friends in cyberspace, where my haven can’t be breached, and where I fuel my imagination with mmorpgs. I love chatting with my far-off friends. 🙂

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 21, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Thanks for your comment Christine 🙂 Havens and safe spaces can be very important for introverts – I’m happy that you have one!

  • Reply
    Loraine
    June 21, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    So much truth!! I am either reading by myself at lunch, or taking a moment with my ear buds in and walking around my work building when I feel a need to get “centered” before group work as a therapist… And during parties, definitely at the edgeedge, one or two people I already know, yes, the dog or cat!! You get me, thank you!!

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 21, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Loraine! Thank you for sharing your experiences as an introvert, and I’m thrilled that you’ve found something you identify with so much. Keep rocking those ear buds! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    June 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Love this. I have a job that requires me to present as an extrovert, and I come home every day to read in the bath for an hour. Then I can start knitting. I can’t follow a pattern (or a recipe, for that matter) the way it’s written, even the first time. If it doesn’t make sense, I make it mine. That’s my creativity because of where I am in life. I look forward to a day where I am not boxed in at work and can go where the creativity leads me, even though it’s scary to put the results of my creativity out in the real world.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for taking the time to comment. Oh man, I know what you mean about working a job that requires you to be ‘on’ all of the time. I used to work in call centres and it was exhausting. I love that you knit how you want to, could we call it intuitive knitting? I hope the day you can live your life on your terms comes very soon. Taking that step is scary, but you can do it 🙂

      • Reply
        Jennifer
        June 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        Thank you for the reply! Hubby and I are exploring the day that we can possibly run his own electric business, and I think that working retail pharmacy and learning how to run a business in the process has been preparing me to do that. In the meantime, I am certainly going to take advantage of the learning process.
        My mom’s husband (knowing that I’m an introvert but not really understanding what that really means) told my mom that I’m too smart to be “pushing drugs” anymore.

        • Reply
          Maz Durbin
          June 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

          I love that your husband’s mom sees your potential and it sounds like you and your husband are on the same page regarding your futures and that’s great. What lovely supportive people you have in your life. Sending you guys all my very best! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate
    June 25, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Hey… Get outta my head! This is so me. Thx for sharing

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 25, 2016 at 6:35 am

      Hi Kate, you’re very welcome and thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Jan
    June 27, 2016 at 8:48 am

    So validating

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      June 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Hi Jan, thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment 🙂

  • Reply
    Cindy Pierce
    August 5, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Wonderful article.

    I love gardening. I enjoy creating beautiful plantings in ground and in containers. A full weekend of gardening is bliss for me!

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      August 5, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Hi Cindy, introverts and nature are made for each other don’t you think? I also love that you are a creative gardener. That must be so satisfying. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Reply
    Lori
    August 5, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Me to a T! My drive at work has lead to me being a valued member of the team. They can hand me the tough clients and know I will get it done.

    At home, I watch Dr. Phil and play bingo lol. I listen to audio books and create gorgeous knitted and crocheted projects. I make a fire in my fire pit and let my mind just roam for hours while I stare into the flames.

    I had to learn how to guard myself. To keep toxic people away so I can have stability in my life. I’m always working on a life goal, and setting new ones when I acheive them.

    Thanks for this post. I would give you a digital hug but I don’t want to invade your space. 😆

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      August 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Lori, I got such a lovely visual in my mind reading this, I wish I had a fire pit so I could do the same thing! I agree with you that introverts need to be somewhat careful which people to let into the inner circle. We are attractive to oxygen thieves because we tend to listen more than talk. Thank you for leaving your comment, love the bingo, and I gladly accept your digital hug 🙂

  • Reply
    Meari
    August 5, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you for this. I can so relate and it’s wonderful to read the post and comments from others who feel the same.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      August 5, 2016 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Meari, you’re welcome! I’m so happy the article is resonating with people and that you can also relate. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda Dalke
    August 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I love this! It resonates with who I am. I love to sew quilts & to bake novelty breads every chance I get. I scour through Pintrest eager to find a pattern or recipe I don’t yet have. My latest interest is finding ways to feed 9 people for $10 or less per meal. That has been an exhausting but very satisfying endeavor.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      August 10, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Amanda, I love that your passions involve ensuring the comfort and ease of others. Baking and quilting are such wonderfully creative activities and I am definitely jealous of your baking ability – I wrote an article about my lack of baking skills here But that’s enough about me. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

  • Reply
    JULS
    August 12, 2016 at 3:19 am

    This is so dead on for me. And funny thing is I’m married to an extrovert.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      August 12, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Hi JULS, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I should read more on the introvert/extrovert relationship dynamic, I think it is very interesting!

  • Reply
    Phyllis
    September 1, 2016 at 3:43 am

    I enjoyed your article and thanks for pointing out the many facets of introverts. My husband is an extrovert and becomes alive around people. We try to balance each other out, respect and laughter go a long way!

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      September 1, 2016 at 7:30 am

      You’re welcome and thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I admit I need to read more about the relationship dynamic of introverts and extroverts. I think it’s wonderful that you guys respect each other differences, and have a laugh along the way!

  • Reply
    Maureen
    September 10, 2016 at 10:26 am

    This whole article is me. I never really understood why I was the way I was. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      September 10, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Hi Maureen, thank you so much for your comment! It’s an important moment when we not only understand ourselves but when we find others like us. Introverts really are amazing people. Thanks again and have a great day 🙂

  • Reply
    Cherisse
    September 12, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I find there’s only, maybe, three people in willing to go to the truth about me with. My husband, because he doesn’t mind my weirdness, my best friend, because she is my weird, and my cousin, because she’s also my weird. That pretty much it.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      September 12, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Hi Cherisse, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m the same as you, and I’m certain this rings true for many introverts – we are selective about who makes it into the ‘inner circle’. I’m so happy you have a best friend, cousin and husband who love you and appreciate you. Thanks again for reading!

  • Reply
    Joy
    September 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I never thought about my life this way before, but it holds a lot of truth. My secret life is performing. I actually didn’t know it was that big of a secret until I realized how many people were shocked to discover that about me. I have always been the quiet one who hides in the back for fear that someone might try to make me speak in public, but when you give me a script and put me on stage, I turn into a completely different person. Some people whom I have known for years just can’t believe that about me because they’ve never seen that side of me lol.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      September 13, 2016 at 11:42 am

      Hi Joy, I’m so happy this article resonated with you. This is why I love introverts and introversion because there is so much more to us than meets the eye. And the best part is we get to choose who we share our secret’ lives with. It seems many performers are quiet and introverted when they’re not on stage. Amy Schumer is a self-described introvert for example. Performers are amazing to me, and I wish you every success in your ‘secret’ life!

  • Reply
    Heather
    October 2, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Reading this is like someone explaining myself to me. It’s amazing. Thank you for helping the rest of us know that we are not forgotten and that there’s someone out there who understands us. It helps to bring us all together from our respective corners of our worlds and connect in a meaningful way. Being an introvert with a complex and developed secret life can be hard because you have so many words and ideas and creativity bubbling inside of you that sometimes you just have to find an outlet for it. But then when you finally get the chance to share it with the world you get worried and uncertain because they might not respect and value your inner creativity like you do. It’s a big risk that I sometimes think I’d rather just do without rather than enduring the potential criticism and indifference. But your thoughts have definitely inspired me to keep on giving it my best.

    • Reply
      Maz Durbin
      October 2, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Hi Heather, I am absolutely convinced that the internet is the single most important invention when it comes to introverts. As you eloquently say, it brings introverts together in a meaningful way without the expectations that may come with the connections we make in person. I agree with you, it isn’t easy being a creative introvert, we have a need to express ourselves via our creativity every day. The thought that helped me over the line when deciding whether to begin Mirror Balls & Confetti was, ‘I want to create the website I haven’t found yet, for me. If other people find it and like it, that’s amazing. If people don’t like it, then know I didn’t create it for them.’ Keep on expressing yourself through your ideas and creativity, just for you. Thank you so much for reading ‘Secret Lives’ and for writing such an articulate and important comment 🙂

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