Do any of these situations strike a fear in your heart?
At work —
Group projects that require brain storming and sharing.
Pressurised to chat with colleagues at the office cafeteria.
At meetings you dread the phrase ”Lets introduce ourselves.”
Icebreaker games are intended to warm up the group, but make you want to flee the scene.
You need to chair a meeting, make a presentation, any form of public-speaking makes you want to call in sick.
Accepting phone calls from strangers while the rest of the office can overhear the conversation makes you want to miss the call.
At social events —
You can’t wait to enter, greet and exit the party.
You are awkward making conversation with new people.
Just the idea of clubbing, dancing, loud music is unnerving.
At the gym, everyone is cheering on the team ahead of you, while you wait solo for your turn to use the equipment instead of joining the fun.
You can’t even approach the person, who might be the person of your dreams as you feel sweat trickling down your spine.
People are quick to judge your shyness for aloofness, snobbery or rudeness.
Your friends’ circle is closed; you are comfortable and chatty only with them. Period.
Maintaining eye contact with anyone is a task, and if you need to initiate a conversation, and if that happens your words flow fast, garbled and turn into nonsense.
If you have answered YES to most of these scenarios, you are an introvert.
But hey, there is nothing wrong in being shy and an introvert. God intended to make up this world with diverse personalities and everyone is not born to lead or be the life of a party, even though we know that in this world that celebrates and rewards extroverted behavior, it can definitely be hard to remain true to yourself when your inherit nature is that of a quiet and reserved person.
So, for all you extroverts out there, have you ever wondered what it feels like to be on the introverted side of the fence? From the heart of the introvert I speak, so you understand that it is okay to be an introvert.
And for all you introverts out there — hold your own, be comfortable in whom you really are.
- When I watch you being chatty, funny and getting along with everyone and feeling excitement all around, know that the very same scene leaves me pressurised to chat, awkward and the degree of anxiousness I feel can make me wish that the floor below would open and swallow me.
- You find me funny, happy and chatty in my close friend circle, but the minute you let in that stranger, I clamp up and retreat into a shell, sending out a message of rudeness, aloofness and even snobbery. This is not intentional but essential for my nerves. I would rather stick to my near and dear.
- While you hit the dance floor, or take center stage to raise a toast, do not call upon me to assist you in the limelight, I will be heading for the exit. Instead let me be the background, who sets everything up perfectly for the foreground runners.
- My colleagues at work you need to understand that every time I answer a phone call or attend a conference call, I can feel all eyes and ears on me.(even if it is not so) Know that my throat gets parched and my head heats up, for the initial part of the meeting, and it will pass as we advance. Ignore all tell tale signs of my nervousness, do not ask me if I am okay.
- Your choices of places to vacation do differ hugely from mine, have you ever considered a solo vacation that is like a retreat, getting comfortable with your own company, practicing mindfulness, focusing on the calm, the stunning scenery and peaceful locals around you? It isn’t that bad at all, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want and how ever you want, without offending anyone. Away from your racing extrovert world of structured jam-packed vacationing.
- While I do understand that stepping out of my comfort zone, can lead to some very exciting opportunities of meeting the perfect stranger, exchanging travel stories and shared experiences with friends. Airplanes conversations are a good place to make connections to roam about with and to unleash the shy-boy attitude. I will pretend to be busy on my phone with my headphones plugged in, I will pretend to be reading a magazine, I will answer in monosyllables and avoid eve contact, I will don my hoodie and eye mask if necessary, till it pans out organically and I will not sacrifice my comfort.
The bottom line —
The truth is: you don’t owe anyone your time or your interest, especially when you don’t feel like giving it.
… If your voice trembles with fear, and you need to make a run for the nearest exit, … Or if life puts you on the spot,
… Or you need to mentally prepare yourself with ways before each day at work or an event in the fear that when you are at the center of attention things could go horribly wrong.
… And you want to come across as approachable and kind versus unapproachable,
Know that it will be an initial struggle, but you can don the mask, find a pleasant way to arrange your face with a warm smile and know that each of these episodes do pass.