Hi, My Name is….Introvert

introvert-vs-shy

Some of you will read this title and think, ‘Not Martha!’Β  I know. I play a good game of it.

Last week I attended an event with my pal Lynne. I didn’t think I’d know anyone there. I ended up seeing a couple of former co-workers (people who were actually nice), and I was introduced to a few of Lynne’s colleagues. Smiles and handshakes all around. Nodding at conversation.

And yesterday I attended my 40th high school reunion. It was a very successful day, and, as I’d had a hand in the planning of the event, I received plenty of compliments and positive feedback about the day.

After a few hours, I couldn’t wait to leave.

Now hold on – it wasn’t that I didn’t want to see old friends. I did! And they’re really great people. Yes, we’ve all grown up (way up), and after forty years, much of my teenage angst is pushed back. Maybe not forgotten but certainly diluted by life’s joys and accomplishments. I had a chance to speak with just about everyone, and even led a goofy trivia contest.

Well, that doesn’t sound like an introvert, does it?

But here’s the thing, and I thank Lynne for the conversation last week as we were driving back home from the beach event: an extrovert derives energy from being around people – an introvert’s energy is sucked out by being around others. An introvert may work hard at being sociable, but it’s draining.

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Introverts don’t like small talk – not because they dislike people, but because it serves as a kind of barrier. Introverts sometimes feel alone, even in the midst of familiar faces. Introverts can be excellent public speakers (yes!), but find it more difficult and stressful to mingle with others afterwards. Introverts start to shut down after they’ve been active for too long. And I did, at both events. So, my apologies to my high school friends for leaving the party without saying my goodbyes. I was so grateful to be in your company! And for the ones from my high school class who couldn’t attend the reunion, meeting one-on-one or in a small group would be absolutely perfect. But you knew that.

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23 Comments

I’ve always identified with the definition of an extrovert that they recharge by being around others, whereas we introverts need to be alone to recharge. So you said that perfectly, about deriving/sucking energy. And yes: those big social occasions are incredibly hard work!

So me!! Well said, Martha!! Thanks!

Yep, that’s me! I’m not good at small talk. I always like seeing family and friends, but I can only do so for a few hours. My stress level starts to rise after a bit, and then I need some alone time.

Nailed it, Martha. ❀️

Me to a ‘T’, Martha. I know folks wonder why I don’t stay after church for the ‘fellowship hour’ of coffee and snacks, or attend the potlucks and church BBQ’s. I love my church family, but these things exhaust me. Even at family get-togethers (and I have a wonderful family) — I’ll be the first to leave! I’d rather live in my head with my characters….

Wow, that’s exactly how I feel, Martha! You’ve no idea how reassuring it has been for me to read your post. Thank you for sharing.

Cindy Taylor Branca August 21, 2016 at 10:02 am

If you recall, Martha, I am a complete extrovert. I, too, helped execute our 40th reunion last year (wish you had come) and despite the work that went into it, I was in my glory seeing everyone and hoping I had covered every aspect of making the day special for my classmates. To the casual friend (me), you were a master at masking your true emotions in school as I never would have guessed how you were really feeling. The Martha that I saw was a cut-up, humorist and a load of fun to be around. I’ve no doubt you still possess all those qualities; however, it sounds like you have embraced your feelings for social situations and I admire you for respecting yourself in that when you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. So happy you all have a great time last night!

    Oh, Cindy, thank you. Thank you!
    Our 40th was great, really. I did enjoy myself! And by the time I got home, I was wiped out. But it’s all okay! Knowing ourselves is a blessing. πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’• Love you!

This is fascinating. I must admit I did immediately think ‘No way! Not Martha! But, having now read your post I’m beginning to wonder whether I might be one too. And yes, Martha, I know exactly what you are thinking …
I’m not good at small talk, hate being in a large group of people, in fact pretty much everything you mention above.
Maybe hospitality is the wrong tack for me to follow – HELP! πŸ™ˆ

Many people think I am a snob, cold, unfeeling, even intimidating. Does that make me an introvert? The fact is I cannot be bothered with small talk just for the sake of talking. So, when I was working and had to attend social functions, I showed up, smiled, shook a few hands and left. I skipped my 50th reunion because I really had no interest in seeing folks I hadn’t seen since the 30th reunion. Such is life. People elected me to public office for 20 years because I was competent, not because I was fun.

Thank you for sharing this! You have expressed exactly what I feel in social settings; they are fun, but completely draining. And small talk….torture.

No wonder we are such great friends. I am EXACTLY THE SAME WAY! xo Peter

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