Finally proof that I’m not just an aloof jerk – I happen to be an introvert. I read an article run by The Huff Post. Typically I don’t put much value into their articles but occasionally, I do come across one written for me. Okay, no not really because then that would make me a narcissistic, aloof jerk. In the article, 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert I related to at least 18 of the points.
For example, here’s some:
“You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.”
While I used to hate it, I have gotten more tolerant over the years. My last job required me to actually talk to people. On the phone, with patients in the office, in the lunchroom – I had to talk to people eight freakin hours a day. While awkward at first, I get better conversing about the weather, people’s children, news events, television shows, and receiving too much personal information from strangers. I was even completely sincere when I offered tips to those visiting from out-of-town and telling people to have a nice day when they left.
“You go to parties — but not to meet people.”
Sadly this is me. I go to parties when I absolutely have to. I’m not talking about family events, I’m talking about those awkward social functions that either my husband or a friend drags me to. Yes I’ve had some perfectly enjoyable conversations with complete strangers, but given a choice I’d typically prefer to hang out with people I know. As with the first point, I’ve gotten better with it. My handicap in the past was I spent 16 consecutive years with toddlers, first my own, then my daycare kids. Unless the conversation revolved around current animated flicks, finicky eaters or getting a baby to sleep, I had little to contribute to a conversation between adults who spent their days out in the world.
“You often feel alone in a crowd.”
It’s not so much that I feel alone, but sometimes I need to escape for a few moments. Even during hectic parties in my own home I’ve slipped into a quieter room, with a cocktail in hand to get a break from the sensory overload.”
“Networking makes you feel like a phony.”
While I understand networking is the way of the business world, I am not comfortable establishing a connection with my mechanic’s distant cousin’s husband who knows someone in the publishing world in order to land a book deal. Now, on the other hand, if anyone out there knows someone who may be helpful in getting my book in print, feel free to intervene on my behalf and hook me up.
“You’ve been called too intense.”
Yes and so what? I do look for deeper meanings to things. I have a friend who I often unintentionally torture with emails filled with thought provoking questions. I can’t help it. My head is flooded with the stuff.
“You’re easily distracted.”
I saw a cute post on a friend’s Facebook wall that read: “AC/DC….I’m on the highway to Hey, there’s a squirrel.” I’m distracted by everything. I can have the best intentions to complete a task. Unfortunately much too often I do something as simple as open a drawer to find a pen, and I notice a picture that reminds me that I was get back to someone, as I go through the laundry room to get to the garage to retrieve my bag that has the phone number I need in it, I stop to throw a load in laundry,….eh, what was my point again?
“Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.”
Downtime is essential to my emotional well-being. In fact when I don’t get enough downtime I get edgy. I will have a free day and fully intend to get caught up and instead I spend the afternoon playing around online, sitting in the yard reading or catching up on shows that I have recorded. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it because for me it’s a free therapy session.
“You try to sit on an end, not the middle.”
Really. Is there anyone who would purposely chose a seat near strangers? Be it a bus, a train, a movie theater I much prefer to be as far from people as possible. (I likely suffer from PTSD from years of riding a CTA bus into the Chicago Loop every day). Even standing in a line I get a little territorial……this is my space, do not impede it.
“You have a constantly running inner monologue.”
This why I so often look like I’m not paying attention and I’m oblivious to what’s going around me. I’m having separate conversations with my brain. It never shuts off. I’ve written blog posts and books chapters in my mind as I’m trying to drift off to sleep.
“You’ve been called an ‘old soul’ since your 20s.”
I believe I was diagnosed with old soul syndrome when I was four years old.
“You’ve been told to come out of your shell.”
As a young child, I was often labeled as shy. I don’t know if it was so much that I was shy or I had no desire to speak to people I didn’t know. By junior high I came out of that shell and for the next several years, teachers tried to urge me back into one.
“You’re a writer.”
I’m still not to a point where I’m comfortable calling myself a writer when people ask what I do, but I do communicate better and more clearly in writing than speaking. My creative process thrives when I can grab some of that downtime and just let my mind wander.
“You alternate between phases of work and solitude and periods of social activity.”
I’ve just recently went through this. After months of busyness and spending a lot of time socializing with the neighbors I felt a need to pull back. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hang out with them or wasn’t enjoying it, but when I began working on my novel again, I needed time by myself to allow the story line to grow. Even when I wasn’t physically at the keyboard, mentally I was adding elements to the story. When I tried to force myself to sit out on the patio with the gang, I felt stressed because I wanted to be inside jotting down notes or editing the next chapter. Once the story was essentially finished I was able to return to the patio without guilt.
Coming across this article helped make me feel less guilty about my anti-social tendencies. It’s not that I’m avoiding people, it’s that I know what I need to nurture the creative process. That being said, I admit there are times I’m just being an aloof jerk.