5 Jul 2017

The Introvert Condemnation

I recently had a colleague compliment me on a splendid job onstage as an emcee. In the same vein, she continued to compliment me with adjectives such as bubbly and effervescent. I felt like a can of Pepsi in that moment, but I let it pass, having heard precisely these two words associated with me on more occasions than I could count.

It is an occupational hazard, if I'd ventured to guess. Being in the communications field naturally tends to be people-facing and people assume you are too. I'm easily mistaken for a people person and though I can hold my own in a conversation, I'm deeply introverted and talking to too many people exhausts me. The telltale signs are there, if someone bothers to look. The shiftiness, fidgeting, a ready excuse to run away from the conversation; but I've seen people rarely look past the obvious.

Over the years, exes have also mistaken my basic nature. Quick to assume aforementioned bubbliness, often disbelieving when I stress that I am, in fact, furthest from that description, giving them the time to reconsider. Acquaintances-turned-friends also find it surprising when I don't participate in conversation with a loud group. This introversion, which used to be cause for minor twinges of feeling-left-out in my 20's, now, is a badge I wear with pride and no longer feel terrible when I have to decline a social gathering. This has meant that only people who understand and accept my inherent introverted nature are even friends anymore. I have very little fucks to give about needing to please anyone else.

Recently, I had complimented a colleague on her ability to talk to quite literally, anyone. I disparagingly mentioned that I abhor networking events, because I end up sitting in a corner, talking only to people that I already know. She commented that I shouldn't be telling this openly, that I do quite okay in one-on-one conversations and to not be so self-deprecating! Now, being introverted is a flaw! I smiled at her and said this is how I am and I'm not prone to changing my nature just to get few visiting cards from people whose names I would forget at the end of the event. While I don't think she really understood or accepted it, I find it rather tricky to explain to people who are exuberantly extroverted that it is a state that some people don't prefer and that is not necessarily a setback, especially in a workplace or in personal life. Being self-aware is rather difficult, but being self-accepting is even more so.

While on the topic of acceptance, I'd be remiss if I didn't share that The Man saw through the walls I put up. It takes a fellow introvert to recognise one, after all. We burrow ourselves in the comfort of meaningful conversations or silence, actively avoiding big groups of people and generally being socially reclusive. It's fulfilling to have an anchor in your partner, rooted in common outlook towards life. In my opinion, opposites may attract, but its the similarities that keep people together. In speaking of the heart and the soul, they may as well be the same entity.

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