I’m Awkward and I Know It: An Introvert’s Dilemma

quietI like going to the dentist. I dread going to the hairdresser. Yes, I’m weird that way.

The dentist’s office offers sweet respite for those of us with few words. Not only do you not have to talk to the hygienist, they discourage you from doing so.

My husband thinks I might need therapy for this problem. He cannot understand why going to get my hair done presents an ordeal for me. I even know the sweet girl who does my hair. I love her. But I feel like a caged animal forced to sit in that chair and make small talk until my hair is styled. Knowing her gaze rests on the top of my head and she can see my gray roots peeking through makes me want to hyperventilate.

A few months ago I read the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. For the first time in my life I felt “normal.” Continual fireworks burst forth in my head as I made new discoveries about myself and my personality. Other humans like me exist!

I present you with a few fun facts about me that give you an intimate peek inside this introvert’s head.

1) Please don’t make me call and order pizza. I hate the phone. Maybe because I can’t see visual cues that normally help me in conversation. My cell phone bill amounts to a mere $8 a month and most of my minutes don’t get used. I would probably text more if my fingers could manage to press the right keys. Just call me “texting challenged.”

2) I make a fantastic friend because I listen well and can give good advice after I think about your problem for several hours. I make a terrible friend because I prefer alone time over being with people. Related to #1, I will likely not call you to check in on you. Becoming a mother only exacerbated the problem of wanting to spend time alone. People joke about mothers not getting alone time in the bathroom, but this fact is even more burdensome on those of us who are introverts.

3) Reunions? Group dinners? Meet and greets? You just might see me curled up in a corner in the fetal position. No, my little brain just creates that visual for me while I try my absolute best to make small talk. Thankfully, I seem to have improved in this area over the years, but I still avoid these situations if at all possible.

4) You will win an on the spot argument with me nearly every time. My brain doesn’t think of words fast enough in the heat of the moment. In fact, sometimes words fly out of my head completely and I sit simply dumbstruck. You can bet that after I walk away I’ll think of an amazing response…about an hour later.

5) I love people. Truly. After spending time with people, though, I experience physical and mental exhaustion. The more chaos, the more tired I feel. How in the world did I manage to teach a room full of 4th graders daily?

6) Apparently I appear intimidating to people. I don’t intend for this to happen. Maybe it’s the serious look on my face when I’m deep in thought. Maybe it’s the simple lack of words. My husband constantly asked me if something bothered me because my quietness would worry him when we first started dating. He quickly learned the value of a wife that doesn’t talk too much.

7) Let’s talk group work. I love collaborating with people when the job is something that can’t be done by just one person. If I could do it better alone, then I feel like the experience simply wastes time. My education classes in college were the bane of my existence.

8) The fact that I can stand up and speak in front of thousands, yet I fear a one-on-one conversation baffles my extroverted mother. The key lies in the ability to prepare. When I possess an outline or notes at my fingertips, then all fear dissipates.

I love the fact that God created all of us so differently. Sometimes this fact makes relationships difficult to navigate, but our differences add so much sparkle to the world. Can you imagine a world full of only extroverts or only introverts?

Are you an introvert or extrovert? What makes introverts endearing to you?

 

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