Saturday, April 23, 2011

Being an Introvert

I'm going to kick off the new design of my blog by talking about something completely different than food or photography. My whole life I have been called "shy" or "quiet." But when it comes down to it, I'm an introvert. And I'm OK with that. There are introverts and extroverts in this world and I just happen to be an introvert. People can fall anywhere on the spectrum and I just happen to be on the one far end.

My whole life I've felt that there is something wrong with me. Which is an understandable response when people are always commenting on how quiet I am and wanting me talk more. "How come you are so quiet?" was a question I got asked a lot as a kid. "How come you talk so much?" is what I always wanted to answer, but alas, being an introvert, I was unable to get those words out.

We live in an extroverted world. People who talk a lot are celebrated. I find them annoying. Why all this mindless talking? Is is really necessary? I don't like small-talk, but what I do like is meaningful one-on-one conversations with people that I know well. Those really feed my soul, unlike small talk about the weather.

I've been reading a blog called The Introvert's Corner. I was thrilled to hear that there are others out there like me and that there is nothing "wrong" with me. Reading about introversion has really helped me to finally accept who I am. I don't have to "make" myself be an extrovert just because that's what the world seems to find acceptable. Because really, pretending to be extroverted is exhausting. A lot of times I come home with what I call a "social headache" after a social gathering. Smiling, talking, and engaging makes me tense and tires me out. It's not a natural state for me, thus the headache.

What I've learned is that being an introvert has many other great qualities. I'm a great listener. I'm also a great observer. I'm very creative. I think and analyze a lot. And just because I don't talk a lot, doesn't mean I'm not a good communicator. I'm a very effective communicator. Maybe it's my engineering training that makes me so precise and accurate. I know when to ask questions and what information to convey to other people in the work place.

I really don't like to talk on the telephone. I even had to have some cognitive-behavioral therapy because of the anxiety I felt over it. A lot of introverts don't like the phone, but I had an unreasonable fear of it, it was preventing me from being comfortable at my job. I'm really glad I had the therapy because now I have no problem picking up the phone. Even at my new job, I have to answer the phone a lot more and it's not a big deal at all. But still, I prefer to talk to people in person rather than over the phone. Instead of calling a good friend of mine (who is a lot like me in regards to phone use), we will exchange emails and set up a lunch date, then have an hours-long conversation in person! It may sound silly, but it's just the way we are.

I think this quote pretty much sums up my ruminations on being an introvert:

"Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it." Robert Frost

1 comment:

  1. That really is a great quote. However, I think you do a good job of communicating! I've been reading through your blog this morning and you have a nice little place here. I have always been a firm believer that you shouldn't talk just to hear your own voice, If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all. Listening to others can be a much better characteristic. :)