We all love our families, whether they’re strange, awkward, or extroverted. And it’s true that we don’t pick our families, especially in my case and the cases of many other. You see, I’m an introvert living amongst extroverts. And I’m not the only one who ended up in the exact same situation. Although statistically speaking, there are more introverts in this world than extroverts, the world is much louder than an introvert’s liking. While some introverts seek the quiet refuge of their houses from the loudness of outside, others try to seek the quietude anywhere else. The latter few do as such due to the fact that they live amongst their extroverted household and it’s not easy being the only introvert in your own not-so-empty home. So if you’d like to know how it feels like for an introvert to live with other extroverts or if you are searching for other people who share your struggle of living in such condition, then here are a couple of struggles for being the only introvert in an extroverted family.
1. Everyone is always talking and talking…and still talking
Imagine sitting in a loud office, making calls and dealing with clients. On your way home, you pass by the grocery shop and deal with long lines on the cashier, and then finally reaching the quietude of your home. To your horror, you are met with dozens of “Hello!”s and “How was your day?”s and even if you’ve moved out already, you’ll come home to messages and calls from your extroverted family. One message is your mom inviting you to a family group chat and another message from your sibling who’s asking you to meet up at your local diner for a small chat. In an extroverted family, everyone is always conversing. Escaping the loudness of the outside world and coming home to an equally loud home is not the ideal world for any introvert.
2. There is always someone at the door
If you are an independent introvert living by yourself, then you’d know how much your door is knocked at. Opening the door is similar to playing Russian roulette; you’re always guessing if it’s the pizza you ordered or if it’s your aunt who was just around the neighborhood and decided to drop by. If it’s not your aunt, it’s your mom, if it’s not your mom, it’s your sister, and it it’s not your sister, it’s your whatever but you’re related. And if you still live with your family, the door is always knocking. Your family likes to visit each other and invite their friends over for some afternoon tea. When you’re an introvert growing up in an extroverted household, then you know that your bedroom door doesn’t block out much noise.
3. Weekends are always for going out in large groups
Everyone loves weekends. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you love to spend some time doing the things you love. In the case of an introvert who is placed among his extroverted family, it isn’t much enjoyable. Not that introverts don’t appreciate being invited by their own family to go out, but sometimes the invitation isn’t always welcomed with a ‘yes, I’d love to go out with you and spend all my time socializing with you guys.’ Sadly, declining an invitation from your family isn’t always effective. Sometimes they’ll force you to go out with them, claiming that you need some fresh air to breathe.
4. “Why are you sad?”
O! The dreaded question. If you’re an introvert then you must have been asked that at least once in your lifetime. And it is such a nice question, it shows that people care, but caring and understanding are two different things. Sometimes our extroverted family is not convinced by us saying, “No, I’m just chilling alone.” They’d insist on keeping you company and talk your sadness away. Again, it is such a nice gesture, but believe us when we say that we’re fine. Alone time is such a foreign concept to your extroverted family.
5. Doing a quiet activity, like reading, is not an option
There are a handful of activities an introvert actually enjoys doing, and most of those activities demand silence to be done. Things like reading, writing, painting, exercising, listening to music…etc. are almost impossible to do when you’re living in an extroverted family. I can confirm that I rarely enjoy these things when every room I enter, someone is conversing, skyping with other distant relatives, talking over the tv, or the neighbors are visiting. You try to find the perfect place to read your book, but you fail to do so. You end up googling quiet cafes near you.
6. Different sleeping schedule
A lot of introverts have expressed that there might actually be a relation between night owls and introverts. And it does make sense since the night is the quietest time in an extroverted household. Out of habit, some introverts become night owls. To our horror, us the introverted owls, our families wake up early already talking and eating breakfast. (“INFJ Introvert: On Introverted Problems and Insomnia”, 2013.)
7. Being rushed
Most introverts need alone time to reflect on their day and to recharge. Sometimes alone time is used to make decisions. It is no secret that introverts are deep thinkers and don’t rush things. So when faced with a problem or an idea of change, an extroverted family will quickly welcome the change without a second thought. Being the only introvert in the household, you’d always feel overruled. When someone suggests an idea of where the family should go next, while you’re trying to pick between a park and a museum, the other family members have already decided on a loud restaurant or a friend’s cocktail party.
8. Wearing headphones isn’t an option
Headphones are one of the pillars of being an introvert, alongside the pretending to text at a party pillar, the “My mom said no,” pillar, and the “I can’t, I’m busy this weekend,” pillar. You get to wear your headphones outside to avoid unwanted conversations, and strangers won’t bother you when you have them on. However, your family is not a mere stranger that won’t snatch your headphones and talk to you. If you’re an introvert living with an extroverted family, then you must have massive biceps from taking off and putting on your headphones twenty thousand times a day.
9. You have nicely toned legs
When the house gets too loud or too overwhelming, you usually leave everything behind and go out for a long walk by yourself. Sometimes when you’re living with an extroverted family, you have to recharge somewhere else other than home.
10. Your excuses mean nothing to your family
You grew up with your family, so naturally, your excuses to why you don’t want to go out with them or why you stay in your room have gotten too creative to the point where they almost sound too abstract. Saying your cat had caught on fire, or you’re rearranging your bookshelves or else a curse will befall you will not stop your dad from counting to ten before forcing you out of your room to have some family fun time. While your friends are easily fooled, or rather satisfied, by, “I’m really busy this weekend,” your family can see right through your excuses.
11. A casual walk with your family soon turns into a reunion in the middle of the street
We’ve all been there. You take a walk with your mom or brother just around the block, or you go shopping with them and they spot someone they think they recognize. While you’re trying to quicken your pace and avoiding eye contact with the said stranger, your brother or mother have already waved at that person and are walking towards them. To your horror, it’s their friend from highschool or their old roommate who they have not seen in so long and need to catch up in the middle of the street (or in my case you get dragged along to the nearest café to sit down and catch up some more.) So you just stand there awkwardly, cursing yourself for leaving the phone at home. This happens almost too often.
In a nutshell
Despite being loud and outgoing and party-oriented, you still love your family. Sure they might not understand your introversion, but you rarely ever understand their extroversion. And it’s not all bad. At times they understand that you need to be left alone in quietude, while other times they believe you need to go out because you’re slowly becoming a hermit. Your family means well. I promise you that.
INFJ Introvert: On Introverted Problems and Insomnia. (2013). Retrieved October 5, 2017, from http://infjramblings.com/2013/08/introverts-night-owls-and-insomnia.html