How It Feels to Be an Introvert on the Autism Spectrum

Jaymi Craik
Woman in a hammock reading a book.
Woman in a hammock reading a book.

I don’t know if it is a Asperger’s thing, but I’ve always been an introvert. There are things introverts do and things people on the autism spectrum do that go hand in hand. No matter how hard I try, being introverted will always be my thing.

Being around people for long periods of time makes me mentally exhausted. Especially if they’re unfamiliar people. I don’t like making small talk and when someone I don’t know comes up to me and tries to make conversation, I panic and try to get out of it. It’s not easy. I sit in the corner and observe, trying to come up with a reason to leave. I’m quiet and reserved when it comes to unfamiliar settings and people. It comes off like I don’t want to be there and sometimes it’s true, but if you throw me in expecting me to talk to people, you chose the wrong person. I have a hard time meeting people as it is and I don’t need the pressure of a group setting to make it even harder. I could start off slow. There’s no need to rush. Some people have the skills to make friends and others don’t. I prefer to write than to actually verbalize my thoughts and feelings.

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A banner promoting The Mighty's new Self-Care Lounge group on The Mighty mobile app. Click to join.

I enjoy being alone. It feels like I can do so many more things with my time when I’m alone then if I’m with someone. I can go at my own pace and not have to worry about why the other person is taking so long. Some days it’s nice to have someone there to hang out with as long as they’re in the other room doing their own thing and I’m doing mine. This is a weird one because I want to get married one day, but I wouldn’t know how I would react to being with someone 24/7 for the rest of my life. He would have to be really special to understand how I work, know what my limits are with people and know the signs of overwhelming exhaustion when it comes to being around people for more then a couple of hours.

Related:Why I Chose Self-Employment as a Person With Autism

Hanging out at coffee shops and libraries is more appealing to me then going to places that are really loud. I’d rather have a heart to heart conversation with someone than have to yell over the music when I’m asking about how their weekend went. Grabbing a coffee and just sitting at a table reading a book is all I need. If you want to sit with me and spend the afternoon not talking then by all means, join me. I could use a friend to sit in silence with.

There are other things that make me an introvert. I know there are others like me, but we’re just too introverted to say something. We’re all in this together. We’re never alone. We are who we are for a reason and we don’t need to change to impress people.

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