There is a party happening upstairs in an apartment whose balcony faces mine. It is called “Dessert Night,” and I am invited to attend. People are laughing, talking. I can hear them. I think someone just started strumming a guitar. I am not there.

Someone on the balcony is saying my and my roommate’s names. It is a friend who was five minutes ago in our apartment watching a movie with us. He ran, literally, out as soon as the movie was over so he could attend Dessert Night. He is talking to a girl, loudly and playfully saying things about my roommate and me in an attempt to draw us out onto the balcony. We went outside. He talked about us to her as we watched, listened, and intermittently interacted from below. She said we have a very clean apartment. She’s right. We went back into it.

No part of me wishes I was upstairs mingling, but part of me does wish I wished I was upstairs mingling. The thing about being an introvert is that the extroverts are loud. By their very presence and way of interacting with the world they remind us we are different than them. Extroverts probably don’t even realize introverts exist. We’re too quiet, and they’re too busy talking to each other. I wish I wished I was there. Being an extrovert seems so much easier.

France was an introvert’s heaven. The whole culture is secluded, stand-offish, and quiet. I loved it. No one ever inadvertently made me feel like I was being anti-social. I went to parties in France and sat down in a chair on the side of the room, and everyone else there did the exact same thing. And then we talked calmly to one another. We very organically moved around the room and thereby talked to everyone, but this was all done so calmly and patiently. It was heavenly. And the people at the party weren’t strangers to one another. Everyone already knew everyone. Even I knew everyone, and I had only been in Paris for six weeks at the time.

Other social functions I attended in France were similar except for one party I went to which was hosted by a group of people who all went to an American church. It was loud and busy, but I found a secluded spot on the balcony and ended up talking to a cute British girl for most of the evening and watching the fireworks explode around the Eiffel Tower.

There was a time in my life when I was bothered that I wasn’t a party person. I’m past that point now. It doesn’t really bother me anymore. I just wish others didn’t get bothered by it and call me out onto my balcony when what I really want to do is sit inside and listen to the cars go by on the street below while I process my day in prose.

I’m an introvert. Leave me alone. That’s the whole deal. No, I don’t need to be drawn out of my shell any more than you need to be forced down into yours. No offense, but the world in here where you’re not is way more interesting than the world out there where you are, and my preference is only strengthened by your badgering. I am introvert. Hear me sit quietly by myself and think.

Actually, honestly, I would love to talk to you, but just you, not you and twenty other slightly inebriated strangers whom you just met and now know as deeply as you will ever know any of them.

I wonder, when the extroverts all go home at night and are all alone, what do they think about? Do they talk to themselves like crazy people? Do they all have imaginary friends?

If an extrovert falls in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear, they probably don’t make a sound.

If an introvert falls in the woods, they don’t make a sound especially if there’s someone there to hear.

I am an introvert, and that means for me to be healthy and whole I have to spend time away from people. I have to be alone if I’m going to be any good for anything. For me, lying fallow means lying solo, and I neglect my need for seclusion at my own peril and at the peril of my other relationships. After a previous weekend full of people and a week full of social functions, this was a weekend of introverted rest broken only by a friend on a balcony who just wanted the pleasure of my company as he ate dessert. I bear him no ill will. But tonight I could not join him either.

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