Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier editor-in-chief
I’m just going to go ahead and say it: I like to be by myself. Don’t get me wrong; I love social interaction, and if you catch me at the right time, I could talk to you for an hour or more. I live with five incredible girls, and one of my favorite parts about college is getting the chance to live with your friends 24/7. But if you’re anything like me, being social can take a lot of energy and you need to take a second or two and just be an introvert.
I sometimes find myself making what I deem to be “reasonable” excuses as to why I have to cancel social plans. First, let me say that I apologize if I have ever done this to you. It’s nothing personal and the moment I made the plans I really wanted to go, but when Friday afternoon rolls around, the only thing I want to do is get in my bed, or literally just lay on my floor, and do absolutely nothing with absolutely no one.
Maybe that sounds a little harsh or like I absolutely hate interacting with people, and I don’t mean for it to come out that way. My only point is that as a society, we should normalize saying no to social outings or taking a day to be by yourself without having to make up excuses. A simple “I don’t have the energy” should suffice.
For me, I’m always afraid of saying no because I don’t want to make people feel bad. I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t want to hang out with them or to never invite me out again because they think I’ll say no. But I know at the same time that because of stress, or lack of sleep, or anything else that my mind is overanalyzing, I’m also not going to be present, and it wouldn’t be a fun time for either of us.
My favorite part about embracing my introverted side is sitting in my room watching movie after movie after movie and not having to think about anything beyond the walls of my plant-covered dorm room. The alternative, of course, is going for a drive and listening to music in my car, which I can promise is just as therapeutic.
I think that even if we hate to admit it, we all find ourselves craving alone time. And if it’s too hard to explicitly say we like to be by ourselves, we can all at least admit to the sigh of relief after a really busy day when you finally get in your car and it’s silent, or walk into an empty dorm with your bed waiting just for you.
It’s important to realize that there is a difference between feeling alone and being alone. I’m not saying I like to feel alone, and I have the most incredible friends, family and mentors in my life who make sure I never feel this way. I like to be that for other people too, which is why I try to be as extroverted as possible so that people know I’m someone they can talk to. I just think that being introverted, whether it’s once a month, once a week or every single day of your life, should not be stigmatized.
The best way to break this stigma and stop putting pressure on people to be in a bubbly, social mood all of the time is to practice having empathy and understanding. We all have busy days. We all have lives outside of being a student. We all have stuff that bothers us more on some days than it does others. We all get tired. That doesn’t mean we love our friends any less, it just means that we shouldn’t take it personally if they blow off dinner plans to take a nap.