Don’t get me wrong. Just because I’m introverted doesn’t mean I’m shy. Shyness is a fear of social judgment. Introverts respond differently to stimulation, including social stimulation. Where extraverts crave stimulation, I feel alive, switched on and capable when I’m in a quieter, low-key environment. My EQ test results said I should work in a position that requires a high level of detachment. Unfortunately, I’m just wrapped up in my thoughts with my bitchy-resting-face on which makes me appear cold and aloof, when I’m actually not!
Let me explain.
I don’t take on the mood of an environment like an extrovert does
I’ve noticed that extroverts often get a feel-good rush of dopamine related to their surroundings. The more people and excitement and the busier the room, the more energised they feel. It’s as if crowds are an espresso for them. I don’t get that. But then I’m also a tea drinker.
I’m drawn to a more creative, detail-oriented and solitary career
I prefer spending time alone or in a small team, concentrating on one task at a time, usually a complicated task. I think long-term, 3-5 years ahead so I need time to make decisions and solve problems. I can get very wrapped up in my thoughts. My head does not stop thinking. Ever. It wears me out. I have to work through things in my head before I make a decision. When I’m ready to move forward though, I am 100% on top of it! I always joke that my ideal job would be to sit with a cup of tea while listening to the rain and getting paid to read books!
I like being around people, but I seriously hate crowds
I love music and dancing and partying but concerts are horrible for me. All those people standing on top of each other, crowded, bumping against each other, getting drunk and hostile. I’m also 5″2′ so I spend all my time trying to get a good view and not having people touch me! I like to have control over my surroundings.
I’m a member of BNI and it’s still hard for me to stand up in front of people and speak for 60 seconds, even after 3 years. I go to networking functions to learn something new and meet new people. In that order. Internally I really want to meet as many new people as possible and get to do business with them but it’s hard for me to be switched on all the time and be constantly promoting myself. Like concerts, networking events overstimulate me and drains me of my physical energy. After a week of networking meetings and business meeting I’m usually physically exhausted by a Thursday.
I can turn on an extroverted personality when necessary, but it is draining
I belong to BNI. I have recently joined Toastmasters. I have no problem getting up in front of a group of people that I know and giving a talk. I don’t even get nervous by a question and answer period. However; I do need major recharge time afterwards and I cannot keep up the illusion for long periods. If I have to, I can turn on the dazzle a crowd, but if you take me out for lunch afterwards, I’ll probably just listen to you talk. I am an excellent listener.
I don’t like being boxed in
I always sit in the middle and take an aisle seat. I try to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.
I love the silence.
I can sit beside you in silence and still be having a good time. I don’t mind small talk with strangers as long as they approach me and it does take me a few minutes to warm up. It helps if we’re talking about something in common, the event or a familiar topic. Deeper conversations make me feel more alive.
I need to recharge alone
Socialising wears me out. I need to be alone to recharge. Solitude is the air that I breathe. Delving into a new book for hours rejuvenates me.
Staying vs. going out
I used to be a party animal of note. Music, dancing, drinks and close friends. I was happy to go out, loved seeing you and once out and partying I really didn’t like to go home. I often got home at 03h00. That doesn’t mean I don’t love to stay in my pajamas all weekend and do nothing. You canceled lunch. Yay. I get to read my book all day!
Friends vs. acquaintances
You know when you have had a really bad day and you just want to call up a friend and chat? Yeah, I’m bad at that. I tend to wait for extroverts to reach out and include me, so when the time comes that I need support, I can be a bit lost. That’s why having a best friend has always been good for me; it’s always brought out the best in me. Right now I don’t have a best friend. It’s just where I am in life. My best friend from school, Shelley, lives in Canada. My next best friend in High School, Galit, lives in Israel. I met Richard. He kept himself in the friend zone. He shouldn’t have. He could have been my best friend AND my husband. He chose to move to England and stayed there for 12 years. I decided to move on with my life and have been in a partnership with another introvert for almost 10 years.
If you’re an extrovert and reading this do me a favour. The next time you meet that person who isn’t the centre of attention and looks like they’re ready to escape, go over, introduce yourself, break the ice and you might just meet a new, loyal friend who won’t want to steal the limelight from you.