Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to Tell If You’re an Introverted Parent


Introverts are often given a bad rap. They are labeled as unfriendly, anti-social, boring, etc. People are often surprised to find out that some public speakers are introverted. In fact, when my church pastor said he was an introvert a few weeks ago, I, an introvert myself, was surprised. If you’re wondering what an introvert really is, I like this definition from vocabulary.com:

“Introvert comes from Latin intro-, "inward," and vertere, "turning." It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone.”


Here are few ways to tell you might be an introverted parent (although a lot of these things apply to people who aren’t parents):


You Thrive in Small Groups (or Large Playdates Scare You)


You might be an introverted parent if you enjoy hanging out with one or two parents and their children. When my daughter was young, I belonged to a playgroup with a few moms and their children. On many occasions, the playgroup consisted of just a few moms and less than five children. I found it very relaxing and enjoyable. Then, more and more people started to join and before I knew it, there were about 20 people in the playgroup. For me, this was no longer enjoyable, but chaotic. If you’re an introvert, you might enjoy small gatherings with a few close friends rather than a large party. Likewise, you probably have a few close friends rather than a lot of acquaintances.


You Enjoy Going Out but You Need Your Alone Time More


You might be introverted if you enjoy going out with your friends but sometimes need your alone time more. I love getting dressed up and going out! However, if it’s been awhile since I’ve had any ‘me time’, I will choose to do something by myself rather than go to coffee with a girlfriend. Introverts thrive on alone time. So, after a crazy week of school functions, chit-chat, and soccer games, you might decline an invitation to go out with friends for a mom's night out. After all, if you don’t get any time to be alone with your thoughts, you might start feeling overstimulated and drained. You also may stay up too late to soak in some more quiet time.  

You Dread Going to Kids’ Birthday Parties where You Have to Make Small Talk


If you dread making small talk with strangers, you might be an introverted parent. Once my daughter entered elementary school, she was invited to a lot of birthday parties.  Sometimes I felt like there was a party every weekend forever.  Since my husband often stayed behind with my younger son, this meant I went to the parties with my daughter alone.  Sometimes this was hard because I had to make small talk with a bunch of parents I didn’t know. Luckily, over the years I have gotten to know a lot of the parents at my daughter’s school, so things are much easier. If you’re introverted, you might feel the same way at your child’s soccer parties or PTA meetings. This doesn’t mean you don’t like talking to people.  It just means you’re more likely to want to have a passionate conversation rather than one about the weather.  


I also liked this quote about the difference between introverts and extroverts from Susan Cain, the author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking’:

"Extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they're in quieter, more low-key environments. Not all the time -- these things aren't absolute -- but a lot of the time.” 

It’s also important to remember that extroverts are not better than introverts, or vice versa.   

So are you more introverted or extroverted? Are there are any social situations you dread as a parent? 


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