I was listening to a conversation the other day about Myers Briggs and differing perspectives of life between extroverts and introverts. One of the people who identified with being an extrovert kept talking about how introverts “bottle up” their feelings and reactions to things.
The more he said it, the more irritated I got, because I’ve heard it so many times growing up. There was another guy on a Youtube channel who talked about how introverts are cool but they just choose to keep that “cool-ness” to themselves. It’s like saying introverts are just hoarding all that “cool-ness in the basement of their soul somewhere”, unwilling to share it.
I hated hearing the expression “bottling things up” to refer to introverts as well, because it sounds pre-meditated, intentional, like building up something for the sole purpose of holding it long enough to see it burst. Like, any day now, all the things inside will just explode from the pressure from bottling it all up.
Yes, sometimes, it does happen. I’ve been the witness of many an “introvert-blow up”. I’ve been the perpretator of “introvert-blow ups”. But, those are rare and are usually the result of external pressures or not being given enough to…PROCESS.
That’s what I’d prefer people to see it as. Instead of “bottling it all”, I see it more like storing data for processing. When faced with external stimuli, whether in the form of new experiences, new stress or uncommon situations, introverts are taking in what’s happening, reacting to it and in many cases, reflecting on it all at the same time. Sometimes, it’s too much. Sometimes, it’s hard to even know how to feel about it all. So, all the data is taken in, processed and then shared, at the right time…and most often, bit by bit (or byte by byte 😉 ) at a time.
It took me a while to realize that not everyone deals with situations that way. People who are close to me have come to expect me to bring up something that happened 2 months ago. It takes a while to process all the data, sometimes.
For introverts: Sometimes, it’s okay to give a heads up to the other person, that you might bring up what just happened a little while later. It’s okay to say, “right now, I don’t know how I feel about this. I still need to process it.”