I find the topic of introversion and extroversion fascinating. Before I knew such words existed I wondered why I liked spending a lot of time alone, and why I've always disliked being in large groups of people. As I've grown up I'm often overwhelmed by extroverted behaviour, self-conscious about my introverted tendencies and paranoid about my behaviour affecting others.
Unfortunately there have been a few people who have taken a dislike to me. A couple of years ago I moved into a student house with six other girls. Living in a student house means you only get the sweet release of solitude when you're asleep, shutting your door is the ultimate antisocial statement and brushing your teeth is often a group activity.
But I often found myself quietly shutting my bedroom door and feigning sleep when people knocked on it just for some precious alone time. I think that, over the period of a year, this frequent need for alone time came across as antisocial.
A few months ago I gained a very chatty housemate and started an internship within the space of three days. I'm not complaining - but it required a lot of social activity and I'm surprised I'm not still napping from the exhaustion it caused.
Introverts get a hard time. Not all of us are socially anxious or shy, we just need a lot of alone time and can find social situations draining. Alone time recharges our batteries so we can make sense of the world again - helping us regain balance after the dizziness of socialising.
Either our intentions are misunderstood, or we're left exhausted living up to the standards of extroverts around us. So here's a little guide for those extroverts who take it personally when someone turns them down for some 'me time'. Unless they just don't like you, in which case I can't help.
Being around big groups of people can drain us. Get us one-on-one if you want us at our best
When we say we live vicariously through a television programme or book, don't laugh. We mean it, and that's sometimes the way we prefer it
If we're just becoming friends, you may have to work a bit harder at it, but it'll be worth it
If you know we've just had to endure an extended period of time with a large group of people, send over some chamomile tea and give us a few days to nap it off
If we're starting a new job, give us a desk at the end of a row, not in the middle
Don't tell us you hate it when you're home alone. It's likely we won't understand
We're likely to be quiet in group discussions or meetings, but that doesn't mean we don't have a lot to say
We're probably funnier on social media than in real life. Let it be