The Oxford Concise English Dictionary gives two main definitions of an introvert: (i) a person predominantly concerned with his/her own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things; (ii) a shy, inwardly thoughtful person.
The first definition could imply a selfish, self centred person. I am an introvert. I am largely unconcerned with external things, inwardly thoughtful and often quiet, but certainly not shy and hopefully not selfish. I truly describe myself as a solitary being, motivated from within. Given a choice, it will always be to keep my own company. My own company is not always restricted to me alone but can be extended to include those that understand where my boundaries lie (a euphemism for when to leave me alone). They understand that I am highly protective of my “personal space” and that I am deeply offended when it is invaded.
I am highly sensitive to the needs of others and often do “put myself out there” and make myself available; I can socialise as well as the next person. Admittedly, it does take some effort. These periods of extroversion make me treasure and appreciate my solitude even more. All I ask for in return is, that when I retreat “under my rock,” that this is respected. It is the frequent failure to understand and respect this need, especially in today’s electronic world where the expectation seems to be that we must be available 24/7, that offends me so deeply.
I find it puzzling and amusing how “introvert” seems to carry a such a negative connotation; this is a less than desirable personality trait, even a flaw. “You should be more outgoing.” “It’s not normal.” What is abnormal about being entirely comfortable in your own company? If you can’t be with yourself, with whom can you be?
Yes, I am an introvert, and perfectly happy to be so; no apologies.