Being an introvert is not a failure, as depicted by Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
In a world that can’t stop talking, she taught me choosing solitude over socialising and books over booze is okay
For as long as I can trace back, I’ve always been an introvert.
When I was young, I would spend hours climbing trees – head in the clouds and imagination bursting. I remember creating make-believe stories in my mind, talking to imaginary friends (mine was named after Celine Dion), losing myself in books and dancing around the garden in fancy dress.
Though I grew up with two older siblings, more cousins than I can count and plenty of friends living on my street to play hide and seek with, it’s safe to say solitude was my go-to companion. Finding joy in my own company, I was one of those little girls who the “go to your room” telling off tactic never really served as a discipline for. I loved to live in my own world.
Flash forward to life as a 25-year-old, while I can’t always spend my days climbing trees (though Dion and I have the odd catch up over coffee), my alone time still stands as one of the richest sources of my contentment.
When socialising seems like a stretch, spending time alone can certainly, at times, feel like a failure
While I’ve learnt to be confident in my need for peace, growing up, there were moments when I felt my introvert personality was “different”, “offbeat” or “quirky at best”. In a world that can’t stop talking and when socialising seems like a stretch, spending time alone can certainly, at times, feel like a failure.
According to mental health publisher, Very Well Mind, introverts make up an estimated 25-40% of the population. Accounting for a smaller portion of the world, the Atlantic’s Jonathan Ruach explains introverts are among the most wildly misunderstood groups of people. While many often feel there is something “wrong” with them, he explains, “nothing could be further from the truth”.
While personality types can label us or limit us, there’s an element of freedom to be found in the knowledge that we’re not alone in the way we walk the earth or find our value.
During my teenage years, an unlikely TV show that helped me overcome my feeling of “failure” as an introvert was Gilmore Girls. If you’ve never seen the series, it follows the life and close bond between single mother, Lorelai and daughter, Rory. Set in the small storybook town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut, Gilmore Girls is infused with colourful characters, coffee and humour.
There’s a memorable scene in season one when Rory is invited to a high school house party. She brings along her best friend, Lane, who ends up meeting a guy and spends the night dancing with him. Rory, pleased for her friend, grabs a book from her backpack and finds a comfortable spot in the corner of the room to “catch up on her reading”.
Unapologetic, unfazed and at ease, Rory is known throughout the series as “happiest when reading a book” and is often found to be quietly forging her own path, even in conforming environments.
For me, Rory’s disposition, in all her book-obsessed and awkward glory, is a gentle reminder that sticking to who you are will always yield the best results. Watching an introverted TV protagonist who preferred a “laundry night in” than a big night out, was both self-affirming and utterly relatable.
In a world where introversion is seen as an oddity, among many other life lessons, she taught me that being a wallflower rather than a bustling social butterfly is perfectly okay. She showed me that being an introvert doesn’t have to be my personal “failure” or deficit, but rather, something to be loved and proudly embraced.