Last year I shared this image on my Facebook timeline without giving it any second thought. The remarks seemed so funny and, being an introvert myself, I just chuckled and pressed Share button.
So much has changed for me since last year! My awareness of this whole idea of being an introvert had changed into something that is a lot more complicated.
When I saw this image this morning, I thought, “This would be a perfect funny for Saturday morning post!”
Yet, I didn’t re-post it. I read each section and realized I am not finding it so funny anymore.
You see, as an introvert and an empath, I care about other people’s feelings. A lot.
I decided I wanted to dissect this graphic and see why it upset me.
Statement #1 I find you very interesting, so I’d rather listen.
This would be true about an introverted heart if you just scratch it on the surface. Looking a bit deeper is, though, asking myself if this is a real reason I prefer to listen.
I am a strong woman and I am used to being reached out to when others need help, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Even though my life is in hot mess express mode for the most time, I still seem to make an impression on others that I’ve got this crapshoot called life figured out.
It flatters me tremendously that others think this way about me. It also makes me not want to share my own troubles. I’d rather listen to others so I can avoid having to be vulnerable. Because vulnerability was taught to me as a weakness, not strength.
Having coffee with my very good friend the other day (you know who you are if you are reading this!), I allowed myself to be vulnerable. It was liberating and uplifting. Having a friend that can listen and support is as important as having people in your life that you can serve as well.
I won’t say I’d rather listen because I find you very interesting and that’s it.
I’d rather listen because I want to know your soul and your heart. I am listening because I want to see what is REALLY going on for you and if there is a way I can help you, I will.
I am also listening because of my own insecurities. I need to know I can trust you before I bare my soul.
Statement #2 I’m daydreaming and didn’t hear a single word you said.
This is SO NOT an introvert way! It states that I’d rather stay submerged in my own reality than talk to you. For an introvert, deep and meaningful relationships are the fuel for the thought process. If I don’t want to listen to what you have to say, you won’t find yourself in the same room with me. I know it might sound harsh.
If I am looking at you and you are talking, please, know, I am LISTENING.
Disclaimer: sometimes we find ourselves in situations when we are stuck in a place listening to someone annoying. The neighbor on an airplane. The co-worker. Even the most outgoing introvert would put the headphones on to appear too busy to support an annoying conversation.
Statement #3 My response would probably be over your head, so what’s the point?
When I read this one, I thought to myself, how bizarre! I am surrounded by introverts, I am one myself. The best teachers, speakers, and leaders are introverts. Which means we don’t just “not mind”, but we enjoy getting into more complicated concepts with others and seeing how we can break them down and bring them to the common denominator.
Unless you are Sheldon from the Big Bang, I don’t think this goes for you. By the way, Sheldon has far more complicated issues and they have nothing to do with him being an introvert!
Statement #4 I didn’t want to be here in the first place.
Now that sounds a bit passive aggressive to me. I consider myself a high-functioning introvert, some people use the term ambivert. It means that even though I can place myself in the center of attention and be quite outgoing, I still need time to recharge.
If I don’t want to be somewhere, there is no way I am going.
If you feel like an introvert that’s been pushed around into the things you don’t want to be doing, please, take my advice.
Learn how to say NO!
Statement #5 The words, I can’t do right when out loud they are spoken.
This is a beautiful statement, but it has nothing to do with you being an introvert. I find myself looking for words sometimes, but not because I can’t talk right, but because I take time trying to find the best way to express what I have to say.
If you have been bullied into thinking that you are too slow to use your words because you are an introvert, this is something you might want to start working on. Start to express yourself. Try to say it even though they are not listening.
We as introverts have a huge advantage over the rest of the world. We speak so little that when we do talk, everybody listens. Try it, you might like it! I am sure you have something HUGE to say.
Statement #6 I finally came up with a perfect reply, but now you are talking about something else.
I know sometimes I may seem a bit slow in a conversation, especially if I find myself trying to keep up with two or three extraverts! They would be chatting their way through the agenda, bouncing through topics left and right while I sitting back and look like I have nothing. What is going behind the scenes though is an intense mind work, creating links between events that seem to have nothing in common, considering how the decision would influence not only the immediate circle but everyone involved, and coming up with a solution that would make sense and work for everybody.
What I don’t like about this statement though, is that it talks about a PERFECT reply. The issue here is the perfectionism, not the introverted nature of someone. There are great ways to bring the conversation back where you want it to be.
“Can we get back to that topic we were on? I don’t feel like it was closed/covered enough and here is what I’d like to say.”
This is not a word for word that I would say, but close enough. Most extraverts follow this lead. It allows them to shine a bit more at the topic they were so brilliantly expressive at. You may be surprised how open they would be to your introspective (pun intended).
Here is my take on what the introvert is: