On being an introvert

There is an odd stigma in our society against people who are introverts. The workplace and education system today place an emphasis on group projects. Let me describe how a group project typically goes...I sit quietly waiting for someone to take the lead. Crickets chirp and then I take the lead and tell people what to do and oh yes, I'm the bossy one. I would love to be the one who doesn't have to herd sheep. Sorry, I digress.

When I was younger I was painfully shy and did not know how to interact with people. Yet, over the years I watched others and I learned how to smile, how to listen, how to offer an opinion, how to chit chat, and how to connect with other people or engage them in conversation. Give me a topic that I love to talk about, oh like Meandering Design, and I can talk your ear off and I will gladly hear your suggestions and input into how to grow the business. I sometimes tell people that I'm an introvert masquerading as an extrovert.

Except, while I can go to parties, networking events, work events, and walk into a room of strangers and strike up a conversation, it is something I can only do in limited doses. There are some people that need to have constant contact with people. They thrive off of that and it gives them energy. It does the exact opposite to me. I feel my energy draining and I get worn down.

Last week was rough. I started out the week feeling tired and like I had not recharged my batteries and then I spent almost every evening with groups of people. By the time Friday hit I was done and while I really wanted to go to a party I knew the best thing for me (and the people around me) was to go home and recharge my batteries.

I think the key difference between introverts and extroverts is we can be social (sometimes we just don't want to), we can be engaging, gregarious and charming, we can make connections and network and chit chat, but we need time to regroup. Last week I did not give myself enough time to regroup.

Sheska posted this to my facebook page and I think it very accurately sums up what being an introvert is about. 

I'm okay.


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