The Huffington Post recently published an article entitled ‘10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently with the World‘. While I found it an interesting read, I couldn’t help but analyse myself in terms of these ten ways that supposedly separate me from extroverts and determine what exactly this means for me. The Huff Post article does not explain the introverted behaviours as negative but it certainly, in my opinion, gives off a ‘you’re not normal’ vibe, in spite of the supporting research. So I’m going to analyse the ten steps with me as the subject, rather than introverts as a whole, because, c’mon, are we all really the exact same?
1. I withdraw in crowds
According to the article’s author, Alena Hall, crowds overstimulate me and drain me of my physical energy. I’ll admit that crowds do make me nervous. The best example is when I’m at a concert, whether in a small or big venue, I aim to make it deep into the crowd so I can have a good view of the performers I have paid to see. And it’s OK at first, I’ve got plenty of personal space and the air isn’t too stuffy, my cardigan is wrapped around my waist so the heat from the crowd is bearable. Then it quickly changes. The closer it gets to the main act, the crowd closes in and I kiss goodbye to my personal space. The air becomes thin and the heat increases. Suddenly I’m pulling my unfortunate concert acquaintance to the back of the arena where we’ll be forced to look at the screens because the performers are just dots from where we are now standing. Is this introversion, or claustrophobia?
2. Small talk stresses me out, while deeper conversations make me feel alive
I work in retail and this is a job where small talk is unavoidable. Sure, some customers just want to get what they need and go, but there are others who just love to chat and will draw you into conversation whether you like it or not. And I can’t resist because then I feel rude. Small talk, for me, is only difficult when (a) I don’t know the person, and (b) they’re talking about stuff I’m not interested in. On the other hand, if they start talking about subjects I have good knowledge of, such as pet care, then you can’t shut me up! But wait… Is that considered a deeper conversation? Well I certainly don’t find pet care to be a philosophical topic, so in your face Huff Post!
3. I succeed on stage – just not in the chit-chat afterwards
I can talk in front of an audience when it’s required of me, which is thankfully not often, but I don’t think there’s ever been too much of a problem with backstage chit-chat, but… Well there was that college presentation I had in front of big Irish media moguls back in April which was followed by a cheese and wine reception. I did talk to a few people, but I found myself more comfortable when others were in the conversation too and I became the silent listener. I even recall begging my peers to keep the conversation going so I wouldn’t have to speak (in my head, of course).
4. I get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored
I agree, this is me in a nutshell. I set tasks for myself but it’s not uncommon for me to get caught up with something else. Most recently this has been my iPad, which contains Candy Crush, Pet Rescue, Farm Heroes – basically all the King sagas that I’m addicted to. Once I’ve run out of lives with one, it’s on to the next. It’s also because of this that I am in fact rarely bored. I always find stuff to do, even stuff I don’t want to do but feel I have to. I’m also a multi-tasker; I can play Candy Crush and watch a DVD at the same time, because I can’t watch a DVD without getting distracted!
5. I am naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented and solitary careers
Yes! I am. My dream jobs, because I can’t have just one, are published author and media researcher. Both involve attention to detail, which I’m very stern about, privacy, discovering ideas, creating new ones, solving problems, etc. That’s what I want, and I can do it alone, maybe not always, but I would be with people who think like me, hence why they’re in this profession, right? Basically I just don’t want to deal with the public!
6. When surrounded by people, I locate myself to the nearest exit
Going back to the presentation I had to make in April of this year, I’ll admit I did situate myself near the exits and when everything became too much, I excused myself downstairs to an empty computer lab to decompress. I move near the exits at the end of a gig, if I haven’t already, so I can get out first and not be slowed by the crowds, it’s nothing to do with discomfort. I just want to get home early! However, I can contradict Alena Hall when she says that I would most likely sit on an aisle seat on an airplane – nope! I love my window seat, but having said that, I don’t like the middle seat one bit. For some reason that seat makes me feel more trapped than I would at the window. Weird.
7. I think before I speak
A lot of my time is spent planning out conversations I have with people, be it friends, family, co-workers, customers, etc. I know not all conversations can be planned, and especially after an argument, I later find myself thinking of all the stuff I could’ve said, but who doesn’t?
Say what? I’m not sure I fully understand what this means. Feel free to enlighten me!
9. I physically can’t stand talking on the phone
This is true of me with everyone except my boyfriend, whom I call every night and who has no problems with me saying nothing for short to long intervals. My mam might be surprised to hear this because I do call her a lot too, especially when either of us are away. But sometimes I just feel pressured into coming up with things to say, and I’ll admit I’ve switched my phone to silent in the past when people ring that I can’t force myself to talk to. In person I could, but not on the phone. I’m a fantastic procrastinator.
10. I literally shut down when it’s time to be alone
Everybody loves a little me time, am I right? When I get my roster for the week, I like to figure out which days I’ll have an evening to myself. I get uneasy or down when I go without a free evening for a few days, but I’ll wait it out because…well, I don’t really have a choice!