Accepting who I am involves knowing my own limitations. I know that being with people wears me out and causes stress. I know that after I have been with people, I like to spend time alone or with my husband - a fellow introvert - to recharge. I know that I am happiest on days when the phone never rings and I don't have to leave the house. I know that if called upon to be outgoing, I have the capacity to do so, but not for an extended period of time.
When people get to know you online, they see one side of you - the side that you allow them to see. Your Facebook "friends" and Twitter followers see the happy pictures, family updates, political rants, and relationship changes. Although I do my best to be authentic online, it's just not possible for you to genuinely know me because, as an introvert, I value privacy and there is much that I don't tell you.
Genuine friendship, no matter what others may say, is pretty rare, and there are very few people in my "Inklings" circle. One of the reasons I married my husband is because he saw me - not the me of his own creation, but the me of reality. Our relationship is best summed up by this quote from The Four Loves: "Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself...'" Together, we have broken most of the molds that our families, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and complete strangers have attempted to smash us into.
One of the myriad of reasons I unplug is because I become overwhelmed by the over-sharing that takes place on blogs and social media (says the hypocrite who is blogging about this). There are areas of my life that are just too important and personal to share. A like, a retweet, a +1 - those do not fill the inherent need for genuine philia love - caring enough about the person to invest real time offline.
Over the last year, I have attempted to broaden my circle by opening up to others - sharing concerns and personal battles. It hasn't been easy, but I thought it was important. As it turns out, I share just enough to appear flippant, when in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. I'm an INTJ who is married to an INTJ. We reason and think (possibly over-think) through everything; no decision made lightly or without a lot of discussion, planning, and prayer. Ironically, those who only hear part of the story (and have not been privy to our process of getting there) quite often mistake our "quick" choices as thoughtless ones.
Each time a concerned individual reaches out to make sure we've considered all the angles (no matter what the decision), I am reminded of why, for more than 31 years of my life, I chose to keep my circle small. Even though I appreciate those who express concern because they want the best for us, filling in all the details can be very draining for an introvert, and I shut down again. If you need me, I'll be in my shell. It's nice and quiet in here.
Ever wondered how to deal with an introvert? Read this. My husband says they nailed me.