Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Saying it loud...I'm an introvert

This is week 5 of this series.  I will let you know a little more about me in a series of succinct easy to read and access posts.  There are some things about me that I have heard regularly or wanted to say, but didn't have the guts to say.  Now, I'm going to say all of that stuff.  Hang on for the ride!

Week 2 - I am a writer
Week 3- I read for the words
Week 4- I believe in spirits
Week 5 - I love blogs
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Alone with Blue Angels  Photo Credit:  Keoni Cabral

I recently came across a series of posts about introverts.  I had considered writing this post long before I read those posts, but they confirmed my thoughts.  Before reading these posts, I didn't realize how many assumptions come with the terms extroversion and introversion.  According to the dictionary, extroversion is:

ex·tro·ver·sion

  [ek-struh-vur-zhuhn, -shuhn, ek-struh-vur-, -stroh-]  Show IPA
noun
1.
Also, extraversion. Psychology .
a.
the act of directing one's interest outward or to thingsoutside the self.
b.
the state of being concerned primarily with thingsoutside the self, with the external environment ratherthan with one's own thoughts and feelings. Compareintroversion def. 3 .

And introversion is:


in·tro·ver·sion

  [in-truh-vur-zhuhn, -shuhn, in-truh-vur-]  Show IPA
noun
1.
the act of introverting or the state of being introverted.
2.
the quality, tendency, or disposition of being introverted.
3.
Psychology .
a.
the act of directing one's interest inward or to thingswithin the self.
b.
the state of being concerned primarily with one's ownthoughts and feelings rather than with the externalenvironmentCompare extroversion.

As Kevin Haggerty said, "Even the DICTIONARY makes us sound like freaks."  Looking at those two definitions, introverts sound like self-absorbed, self-important jerks.  I think that impression is completely WRONG!  Introverts are more hesitant to speak, but when they do speak they have something to say.  A smaller group with people well known to them would garner more conversation than a large group or a small group with unknown people.  There are people that I know that are more introverted than I, so I don't want to claim to know it all.  However, I am an introvert by nature.

That statement may seem odd considering how much I talk on here.  It may seem odd because I am a teacher.  It may seem odd because I am a youth leader.  If you have ever been in a Bible study with me, you know I don't have an issue stating what I think.  So how can I be an introvert?  Social situations, like going to the mall or to a concert or a party, are draining.  There are no set rules of how I should behave or what I should talk about.  Teaching and Bible studies come with a set of rules and concern topics about which I am very familiar.  I can talk about those things and I like to talk about those things.  I have been a Spanish teacher for 10 years and only recently did I get comfortable with translating.  (Getting my Master's helped significantly.)  In part, my discomfort with translating is the idea of being with people I didn't really know and talking to them. (I also constantly worry about saying something wrong.)  My favorite part of my teaching day are the times of silence between classes.  That is when I relax.  That energizes me to go forward for the rest of the day.  

Meeting new people is really hard.  I am SOOO bad at small talk.  I just don't understand how to do it or why you do it.  I prefer to meet new people with Drew because he can talk to them, so I can be interested and nod my head.  When I have to meet new people on my own, I don't know what to say or what to talk about.  I ask a few questions and if that doesn't get a response with which I am comfortable, I don't know what else to say.  You can ask anyone who worked with me my first year at my current school.  I rarely came out of my room.  The principal moved me to a more central location specifically to make me come out of my room more often.  At any school, I have ever worked at I am much more likely to stay in my room, than to go find people to talk.  The school I am at now is becoming an exception.  I do seek out people to talk sometimes.  However, I often feel awkward doing it. Then I worry that people see my awkwardness, so I end up not talking so much and listening to others talk more.  I worry about saying something wrong or stupid, so I don't say anything.  I want to think about what I have to say before I say it, especially when I know I have something important to say, like a confrontation or a parent meeting or an apology.  When I say important things, I want it to be the right things.  I go over those conversations in my head time and time again.  I often end up saying words very similar to what was in my head.  


I'm not sure if this falls under the category of introvert or not, but I think it does.  I also think better when I write.  When I was coming up with concepts about which I was going to write my research papers for graduate school, the best thing I could do was to sit down and write ideas.  Not even fully formed ideas, just pieces here and there.  Then the pieces would fall into place and I would write out the whole idea.  Then I was prepared to go forward with research to support or detract from that idea.  I blog here so regularly because it does help me think and figure out things about life.  


I am HORRIBLE around high pressure sales tactics.  I have bought things we didn't need because I was faced with a high pressure salesmen and didn't have time to think.  I know people say that and maybe they mean the same thing I do.  For me, I mean my brain quite literally stopped thinking critically and could not produce any facts or arguments against what was being said.  I hate talking on the phone to telemarketers for the same reason.  (Well I hate the phone all together, but that is another story.  And is probably in part related to my being an introvert.)  I am better at recognizing these times and calling Drew into the scenario.  People joke that "He could sell ice to an Eskimo."  Well I'm the Eskimo.  (Technically, they should be Inuit.  However, as this joke is mildly insulting we'll go with Eskimo, so it doesn't refer directly to those indigenous people.)


At the end of this very long post, I am now comfortable saying that I am an introvert.  I am comfortable being an introvert.  Whether it is socially acceptable or not, that is who I am and I don't need to apologize!  


What is your opinion?  Are introverts socially acceptable?  Why?

2 comments:

  1. I can't say I blame you for not coming out of your room the first year! The science teacher across the hall was extremely loud and overbearing. I heard she has been trying to work on that!

    I personally don't see you as an introvert, but rather a person that things before they speak! <3. Again, I have been blessed by working with you!!

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  2. Thinking before speaking is a built in habit of an introvert. I'm not a good introvert though because I do have a few outgoing tendencies. And blessings all around because I'm blessed to work with you too.

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