Introvert Mondays: Fun for Introverts

Okay, it’s not actually Monday; I was having problems finding the motivation to write yesterday.  Also, the picture isn’t mine, it’s from xkcd.com.  I was drawing on our iPad yesterday when my drawing app crashed, making me lose a half hour of work.  I didn’t feel like drawing after that.  

from http://xkcd.com/238/

During my senior year of college, I started socializing less on the weekends.  It wasn’t that I never did anything, it was just that I stopped feeling like I had to do something with people every Friday and Saturday night in order to ward off being deemed a social pariah.  Granted, sharing an apartment with 3 other women meant that there was usually someone around to watch a movie with, but I just stopped caring weather I did something exciting in the evenings.  This is quite counter-cultural for a college student and I couldn’t decide which was worse:  The fact I didn’t have anything social to do on a Saturday night or the fact I was starting to enjoy staying in on the weekend.

Of course, now I know that I was finally settling into my introversion and my quiet evenings in were actually better for me than trying to stay out late hanging out with friends.  Also, getting married cuts down on the pressure to live the wild weekend life of a stereotypical 20-something.  Still, there are things that I like to do for fun that sounds terribly boring when describing.  Things like reading, doing puzzles, or watching television show with my husband.  Likewise, there are things that I’m told are fun that sound absolutely horrible to me.  Things like big parties, karaoke, and shopping at a mall.  

Apparently this confusion of what constitutes as “fun” can widely differ between introverts and extroverts.  Sophia Dembling explains in The Introvert’s Way that, “Introvert fun is quiet, contemplative, and often experience in solitude.  It frequently relates to our environment.  A peaceful place is conducive to our kind of fun.  So is slowed pace.  And time” (pg. 123).  Here are some examples of activities she mentions that are considered fun by many introverts:

-Quiet sports like hiking, biking, or swimming*
-Going on walks
-Reading and writing
-Yoga
-Going to coffee shops, either by yourself or with a couple of friends
-Deep conversations in intimate settings (like going out to lunch with a friend or a small dinner party).
-Seeing movies by yourself
-Gazing out the window
-Long, quiet drives
-Museums

Of course, there are many activities that are often thought as “fun” that many introverts abhor.  Here are some examples of activities that introverts don’t enjoy:

-Roller coasters**
-Karaoke
-Audience participation
-Costume parties
-Practical jokes

I would also add large parties, bars, extreme sports like sky diving, and fairs.

Really, when discussing what is fun, it’s important to remember that the definition of fun is subjective.  That means that extroverts should remember that their introverted friends/family may be very sincere when they say they want to spend a quiet evening at home.  It’s not necessarily a cry for help from depression or loneliness.  Likewise, it’s important for introverts to not become uppity when talking about fun.  Just because introverts are more likely to enjoy spending the day reading or exploring a museum doesn’t make them better or more sophisticated than extroverts.  Not mention the fact that I hate to try anything new, so without a few extroverts gently telling me I should try a new activity, I may very well miss out on something I would enjoy.

What do you do for fun?  Introverts and extroverts alike, have you ever felt extreme pressure to enjoy something you hated doing?        

*This isn’t necessarily true for me.  While I enjoy things like hiking and running, I also like playing team sports.  Ultimate Frisbee is one of my favorites.
**I’m wondering if the roller coaster thing has to do with many introverts being highly sensitive persons (HSP).  I’ve mentioned HSP before and I promise I’ll go into more depth about this later!

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