Let’s talk some more about introverts. Earlier I told you about Introvert month. It was a big success. It’s about time that extroverts quit getting all the attention simply because they spend so much time socializing and getting in other’s faces. We introverts are here too, and doing just fine thank you.
There are a couple of things everyone needs to be clear about. We introverts are neither bashful nor shy. The Google Guy says that bashful people are reluctant to draw attention to themselves – they are shy. The dictionary on my computer says that shy people lack self–confidence, are easily startled or frightened, are wary and distrustful, and disposed to avoid people. Let me assure you that we introverts are neither bashful nor shy, any more so than others who would be naturally extroverted, were it not for being bashful or shy.
Maybe bashful and shy are not quite the same even though the Google Guy seems to think they are. Even so, don’t be so unaware as to automatically put anyone who is naturally introverted into either box – bashful or shy.
Extroverts are a bit like people drinking. Have you ever noticed that when people are drinking, they seem to be uncomfortable with having people around who are not drinking and don’t want to drink. They ask the non–drinker if he or she wants a drink. If the answer is “No,” they are more likely than not to press the point. They ask why the non–drinker doesn’t want a drink, suggest just one drink to be social, and otherwise pressure the non–drinker to have a drink. They appear not to be happy unless everyone around them is drinking. If you are not familiar with this drinker behavior, watch closely the next time you are somewhere where people in a group are drinking but one or two people aren’t. Watch for the pressure – subtle or not – encouraging the non–drinkers to join in. If you want to test the phenomenon, see what happens if you decline a drink when you are with someone who is drinking.
Well, a version of the same phenomenon pops up when a natural introvert is around people who are extroverted. Does the introvert pressure the extroverts to be less outgoing and socially interactive? They do not, any more so than non–drinkers pressure responsible social drinkers to stop drinking whenever they are with them. The introvert is fine with other people being socially active and involved. They simply prefer being more reserved and self–contained.
Alternatively, the extroverts typically do pressure the introvert to be more extroverted. The pressure is to join in, be more socially involved, come out of his or her shell, and so on. Just as the message is, “Don’t be a non–drinker when you’re with us,” the message is, “Don’t be an introvert when you are with us.”
The point here is that we introverts are not staying in our shells, whatever that might mean. There is no shell any more so than there is unusual bashfulness or shyness. If you introverts want to chat one–on–one, stop by and we can chat. Just don’t expect we introverts to initiate the conversation. It’s not our style, unless we have something we want or need to discuss. When we do, you can be sure that we have no problem initiating the conversation.
Let me share one additional point about introverts. We can and will meet whatever the role expectation happens to be, in most situations and under most conditions. If we believe that certain behavior or action would be wrong or inappropriate, we will always decline, as will extroverts. With that stipulation, we are just as skilled as extroverts when we have agreed to a role where we are expected to speak publicly, interact with others actively and positively or participate with others when our role at the time calls for us to be more socially active. Even then, such situations move us somewhat out of our comfort zone for a while. We do what the role requires but are usually happy when we can relax and return to where our equilibrium is most in balance. Just as extroverts can be more reserved and circumspect when the situation calls for it, we introverts can be more involved and outgoing when necessary. We simply prefer being more turned in, whenever we can. For us, our internal world is usually more interesting than the external world of social interaction and activity.
Now you know, so there you go.