I’m capable and strong

The following is a helpful discussion of how to identify and deal with
an introvert.

article by J. Rauch in the Atlantic Monthly

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, at least since Jake tried multiple times to get a hold me me the weekend I disappeared to the coast, and why I reacted so strongly. I told Jake that he’d “freaked out” (he’d called me several times over the course of the weekend, left at least five messages, and drove over to my apartment to see if I was around but not answering my phone). His response was that he was just being a friend and checking on me.

It came up again last night in a conversation with my friends. Caleb was talking about how to cheer up his girlfriend, who was going through a bad time. Both Jake and Caleb seemed mildly shocked when I asserted that, if someone I knew was depressed, I do not think it possible to “try to cheer them up”. In fact, I think it’s nearly impossible to do, and I wouldn’t even make the attempt.

I really think that, for myself, if I’m feeling low or sad or depressed, that the best thing for my friends to do is to ignore it, allow me some space, assume that if I appear grumpy or irritable that it’s not directed at them personally, maybe make ONE gentle offer to be available IF I ASK FOR HELP, and then to stop asking me if I’m OK.

I’m now putting in a smiley face to soften what I just said; it reads grumpier than I meant it –>


The problem with the assumption that you (the generic “you” of whoever is reading this) can cheer me up is that, from my point of view, it’s also the assumption that I am not able to deal with it myself… which translates to me thinking that you think I’m not capable or strong, that I am, in fact, weak. Which is why I bristle at the suggestion.

I understand that others don’t think that way. In fact, it appears that the majority of people don’t feel that way (depending on what research you dig up).

It’s just been something on my mind lately.