This post has been brewing in my brain for a few months now and I am finally sitting down, next to the fireplace and, of course, a dog, to put my thoughts down for you…dear reader.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that I’m not the only Xennial (someone born between 1975-1985) introvert who is struggling to find true connections in this day of age.
I’m probably not the only one who can go days (ok, let’s be honest…weeks) without talking to another human.
And it’s not that I don’t like other humans, I mean I did grow and birth a few…it’s just that I’m content. But am I?
It’s NEVER been an introverts world. NEVER. From the get-go, children are placed in classrooms and are rewarded for their contribution to the day. They are rewarded for raising their hand, speaking up, and for asking questions.
It never has been an introverts world.
As an introverted pastor’s kid in the 90’s, I remember sneaking into my parents room one night and finding a letter that a member of the congregation wrote to them. It read…
“Dear Pastor Jim and Barb,
Today during Sunday service, your daughter, Jackie, didn’t even smile back at me or offer to shake my hand. I just thought you should know.”
This still happens to this day. I give off the vibe of being a hardass, unemotional, or distant.
It’s always been easy to point out the societal negatives of introvert-ism, but let’s point out the beautiful positives of being an introvert .
- Make amazing entrepreneurs
- Are incredible authors and writers
- Get straight to the point and avoid small talk (thank you!)
- Love to build close relationships and make the bestest of friends
- Can carry on deep, meaningful conversations
As a Xennial and an introvert, I find this digital age even tougher to navigate. I lived an analog childhood, and my first experience with technology was my clear purple beeper in high school. I had 3-5 incredible close friends and we texted “80081355” to each other. I’m a memory bank for what life was like before the digital age, but am 100% self taught and have kept up with the fastest of millennials.
Xennial introverts are patient…who remembers waiting for your favorite song to come on the radio and hitting record on your cassette tape?
Xennial have a childhood free of social media or cellphones. I’m a little bias, but I believe I had the best childhood filled with climbing trees, ramping various things, rollerblading, swimming in random ponds, and drinking out of the hose.
There’s so many other great aspects of being a Xennial introvert…
- Have a love/hate relationship with social media. We can go a long time without posting, but we stalk our close friends who can’t.
- Can go to the bathroom without their cellphone.
- Are very aware if someone else is paying more attention to their cellphone than to you.
- Get offended if they are called a millennial.
- Don’t understand why you need to document your entire life on social media.
Challenges for Xennial introverts in this digital age.
- Xennial introverts hate the telephone (I mean why do people have to call you anyways? hehe). They remember when it was the only way to get in touch with someone, but are grateful for advanced technology like texting and Facebook messaging.
- Xennial introverts can go online when they need social interaction.
- Xennial introverts feel a false sense of community if they are a part of online groups.
- Xennial introverts are grateful, yet annoyed, that so many people play on their phone.
So how does a Xennial introvert survive in this digital age?
- Xennial introverts need to be brave. You probably have a large comfort zone thanks to social media. You can hang out in your social media comfort zone all day and you love it. It’s warm and fuzzy…and lonely. It’s unbelievably lonely…but not at first. But after awhile, your introverted self starts to crave true, authentic human interaction. You must be brave and get out there and connect. Call an old friend up. Go out to coffee or tacos. But get your butt out of that comfort zone before you fall into a deep, dark, lonely hole.
- Xennial introverts hate shallow socializing. You don’t hate people (yes you probably thought you did)! You just hate all the shallow small talk. You just want to dive right into talking about life goals, creative aspirations, dreams and beliefs in God. You scare people sometimes. Small talk is necessary to get into the meat of the conversation. I’ll be the first to admit that the reason I feel I don’t have many close friends is because I hate the “getting to know you phase”.
- Xennial introverts need to challenge themselves by taking social media breaks. Put down the computer and phone and force yourself to go out. Think about where you met some of your closest friends. It probably wasn’t in your house. Whether you do a 6-week digital detox like I did, or you just take a weekend off of social media, you will find this to be a good challenge.
And, lastly, Xennial introverts can ramble on and on about being a Xennial introvert, so for now, I’m going to go ahead and sign off.
Much love from this introvert!