An open letter to those who call us weird and KJ

Art by Mavic Serrano

Please understand us. We are not like you. We don’t see fun in tiring team building activities where we are forced to interact with lots of people. But it doesn’t mean we don’t like you or what. As cliche as it sounds, it’s not you. It’s us.  

Psychology calls us ‘introverts.’ As defined, we are people who tend to be inward turning, or focused more on thoughts, feelings, and moods rather than external stimulation. Introverts are the opposite of extroverts, who are more outgoing, whose focus is not inward, but outward, into the world. While extroverts gain energy by socializing, we, introverts, exert effort and at times get drained by social interaction.

No, we’re not abnormal or special cases. Actually, psychology says that introversion and extroversion exist in a continuum, meaning you have both traits, except you tend to have more of one or the other. For example, an introvert can be 76% introverted and 24% extroverted.

We, introverts, exert effort and at times get drained by social interaction.

That’s the overview of it. Basically, I’m writing this because it seems like extroversion is seen as the standard in the community, like here in De la Salle Lipa. For example, there are lots of compulsory ‘fun’ activities usually prepared by different prof orgs to serve as an escape from academics and stress from school. These activities usually involve people bonding with lots of members, especially with those  from different sections and year levels.

I don’t really have that much against prof orgs, but when it comes to forcing us to attend activities to ‘have fun’ with everyone else, I tend to lose my patience. Especially when they give demerits for sections with incomplete attendance on their ‘fun’ activities, which causes my classmates to pressure me and the rest of the introverts in our class.

I’m not generalizing introverts, because there are those who still want to participate in such activities, but please understand us who don’t. We respect that you like having fun by team building activities and parties and the like, and we don’t really mind not joining you. Really. ‘Escape’ from school and stress for us (at least most of us) means spending time in a cafeteria, sleeping, or reading  a non-academic book. If your goal is for your students to relax and enjoy, please understand that. Fun for you may only stress us out.

Fun for you may only stress us out.

Another sad thing about being an introvert is that people usually think that we don’t like them, because we don’t like to join them in ‘fun’ times. Which is not the case.

Personally, I sometimes avoid going to parties with my good friends. But not because I don’t like spending time with them, no. I may like the people, but knowing that where they will be going will require me so much energy, I just let them pass. I go with them if they invite me to hangout somewhere quiet, tho. Where we can talk about our lives instead of get forced to have small talks with lots of people in parties.

As you can see, it’s not that we do not like people. We like (some) people. It’s just that we prefer to connect to them one or a few  at a time. Let’s just say that we’d rather have a few friends whom we know deeply than have lots of acquaintances. So technically, the ‘no person is an island’ still applies to us.

Yes, we do understand the importance of learning how to  socialize, because chances are we are going to need that skill in our future careers. Don’t worry, we can work on that when we need to. We are not really anti-social. We can adjust in situations, although it can stress us.

Thank you for those who tried to reach out. But we’re okay, really. We don’t act this way because of problems at home or elsewhere. This is just the way we are, and we hope you respect that.

P.S. Actually, I find being called weird as a compliment, because it is nice to be different. And were not actually KJ, because we don’t really do anything to “kill” your joy. You’re the one who’s being KJ in our own “joy” by interrupting our quiet moments. Past is past, though. I just hope things will get better now.

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