Toughen up – you’re a wimp.
Do you feel it too?
The discomfort rising inside when someone perceives you as weak or broken.
Your first reaction is shock. Followed by rejection. How dare they be so rude to come out with such a thought?
You want to shout from the top of your voice, “It’s not me who is broken; it is society’s understanding of me that has become emotionally and dysfunctionally broken.”
Unfortunately, the shouting was just a thought. That rude comment you wanted to scream never left your mouth. You tune it out. You numb it. But the comment still pierces your heart.
It’s like introverts are born missing a protective layer of skin that others seem to have.
You’re overthinking things, you tell yourself. So you decide to ride along and keep your hurt a secret.
But how long can you keep it a secret?
It’s time to step up and stop saying, “I like it, too” just to fit in.
Secrets introverts won’t tell you.
1. Introverts don’t care about birthday parties.
Do you disable the display of your birthday on Facebook so that no one reminds you of it? I know I do.
Introverts do that because they don’t like being the center of attention.
The struggle is real if you work in an office environment, where you’re flooded with birthday wishes from your colleagues who don’t even speak to you except once a year when they wish you happy birthday.
To make the day worse, your family members announce your birthday to everyone.
As introverts, we agonize when friends volunteer our birthdays. We agonize when family and friends expect us to cheer and go out with random people to celebrate.
Honestly, an introvert won’t get offended if you don’t invite them to that birthday drink you plan to host.
We prefer a laid-back celebration at home without public embarrassment.
2. Introverts don’t like listening to weather talk.
Do you avoid eye contact with your chatty neighbor when you see them at the store? Or do you skip the office holiday parties to avoid small talk? I’ve done that more times than I can count.
Why do we introverts dislike small talk?
I’ve heard that if we were better at small talk, we wouldn’t dread it so much. And it’s true just like you can learn cooking and dancing. Small talk can be learned too – and as our level of mastery increases, so does our confidence.
But there is no clear explanation why introverts would rather hide behind frozen broccoli to avoid their neighbors in the first place.
In reality, we are drained by small talk because it feels fake and meaningless. And no, we don’t hate people. When you exchange chit-chat about the weather as a way of avoiding silence, we don’t learn anything new or gain a better understanding of your conversation. It’s better to stay silent.
3. Introverts don’t like crowds.
Do you feel like an outsider in a group?
We feel physically drained in crowded places even with people we know.
We try our best to hang out with you, but insist on being as close to an exit as possible.
It’s a weird feeling to be enclosed by people on all sides. There is no sense of fun, just a whirl of activities that’s overwhelming. Crowds make us tired.
However, when we do join you in crowded places, we listen to your stories because we are naturally empathetic and listening soothes us from the stress of the crowd.
4. Introverts don’t like networking events.
You walk in a room, and thoughtfully stare into the middle distance. You check your phone. You get another drink. And another drink, after which you visit the restroom. You repeat these steps, then retire to a corner and hang out with that friendly-looking pot plant.
Does that sound familiar?
Networking is excruciating for introverts, but with a bit of know-how, it doesn’t have to be hard.
Introverts find networking intimidating because extroverts are louder in the room, trying to sell themselves. According to self-confessed introvert Stefan Thomas, author of Networking for Dummies, “Introverts make the best networkers because they listen and are interested in other people than themselves.”
We network by finding introverted ways to do extroverted things.
We do this by arriving at the event early and being among the first people there. We know it’s intimidating to walk in late when conversations and groups have already formed, and we have to find ourselves having to break through the crowd.
We judge when it’s time to move on once the awkward feeling kicks in. We look at the exit and say we need to use the restroom, or get another drink. We smile and emphasize that “it was a pleasure talking to you” and would like to speak again. Then we breathe hard and leave.
5. Introverts make the best leaders.
Who can doubt this? Introverts think before they talk.
Even in formal events, they consider others’ comments carefully, and they stop and reflect before responding.
Introverts consistently demonstrate the trait of learning by listening, not talking.
A study conducted by Francesca Gino, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, reveals that quiet bosses with proactive teams can be highly successful because introverted leaders carefully listen to what their followers have to say.
No more secrets
Don’t let opinions overwhelm you.
Don’t be nervous about sharing your thoughts.
You may be an introvert, but you are the fabric that shines a light in the world.
Ann Davis will help you discover your life direction using a simple formula. Get Your Free Download: The Main -Life Direction Guide