I came across a poem today that I had written several years ago. It is about the things that would go through my mind when I would meet someone for the first time. As an introverted person, the struggle is very real, sometimes, to bridge the gap between my over-active brain and the world outside it. I never was shy growing up, I don’t think, but I would get incredibly exhausted when I would be away from home and around a lot of people for extended periods of time. At first I thought I was just strange. Eventually I learned that being an introvert was common and even was part of neurological processes in my brain. The more I learn about my personality, and how others have learned to relate to a highly extroverted society, has helped me figure out just how I was made to function.
Still, sometimes I think there are a great deal of misconceptions about introverts, so I thought I’d share some thoughts about the subject that have been floating around in my brain.
Firstly, not all introverts are shy. I’m not shy. I’m not afraid of people and I love talking and being around people. Introverts are just people who gain energy from being alone and lose energy by being around lots of people. Secondly, a lot of us are highly emotional, even if we don’t show it on our face a lot. It still surprises me sometimes when people tell me that I don’t fit the “oldest child profile” because I’m so laid back. I may be laid back in large groups a lot of the time, but on the inside – and one on one – I can be pretty forceful and loud. I think the thing about introverts is that we process emotion on the inside and only let it out when we are completely comfortable with the people around us. Since we tend to over-analyze what everyone else thinks about us, we have to be fully aware of everyone near us in order to be outwardly expressive.
Not all introverts hide in their homes all day only speaking to their thirty cats. A lot of us would like to be sociable and contribute to the world around us. I think it’s just important to take each person on their own terms. Some love to laugh in a big, fun party while others would rather meet over coffee and talk.
Here’s that poem I was rereading today. It’s a little glimpse into my introvert mind.
Remember the name,Shake hands,Make eye contact andSay “Hello.”Note clothes, face, expression,Lilt, tone,Depth of voice and eyes –Focus onBeing pleasant, sweet,Easy to talk withYet not too easyCareful withEye contact – don’t stareYetDon’t let your eyes roamToo far, or, probablyYou’ll look bored –And that is just as bad asStaring.Now find an excuseTo leave thisAwkward conversation,Not that excuse –So lameWell, walk awayAnyway, now it’s overBreathe easyCalm your heartbeatSlow downNow analyze theWords, gestures,Emotions, feelings,Problems, questions,In your head.