How to Handle Introversion in the World of Extroverts
Living in the world of extroverts
After a noisy party an extrovert would normally say: "What else shall we do?" An introvert would think: "Finally it's over and I can have some rest."
I used to create a lot of problems trying to adapt to people whom I considered "better" than myself. Sometimes those people seemed to me superficial, but I also noticed that they were more successful. They had more love affairs, more friends, more money, more of everything in this life. Gradually I developped a complex about myself being slower, less effective at work, less energetic, less sociable. I played for a school volleyball team, but I discovered that I had hard time being a team-player. It was not that I played badly, but this role really exhausted me.
It is hard to accept yourself when you are different, even if it's only about being different psychologically. I wasn't happy to be with other people.
To many people I have met it was surprising why a physically adapt person cannot "fit" successfully in this life. The truth is, they didn't know that my energy was not the same as theirs.
This world is that of extroverts and whether we want it or not, we, introverts, have to accept it. It is twice as difficult when you are an introvert because you are really centered about yourself.
Being an introvert is perceived thus like a handicap, a bit like being mentally retarded or even have some physical limitations. You are looked upon with a strange eye, and lucky you if people accept you the way you are. Bad luck is when your difference makes them feel nervous.
Lying to yourself about how you can change and be like others is hardly a solution. If you try it, you will only lose time, energy and sleep. In this case you can only accept yourself the way you are because introversion cannot be changed.
I remember the day when during my stay in the summer camp my mother came with a huge watermelon to celebrate my birthday. It was a surprise. There was anoher lady and some more people, and suddenly they began to sing "Happy birthday..." That was too much of what I could handle, so I ran away and hid myself to my mom's biggest shame.
I hate my birthdays. I hate being given too much attention. It's all because I'm an introvert.
How to tell you are an introvert
Has it ever happened to you that at the peak of a party you suddenly feel an urge to go home, put on your favorite pijamas and watch your favorite movie?
Do you feel after an intense social contact some kind of a hangover and the only thing you want to do is to sit quitely in your den so that nobody sees you?
When you are calm and thoughtful, they ask you: "Are you ok?" And then you start feeling bad and want to punch that person?
When somebody tells you something, the only thing you feel is boredom and awkwardness and you only nod to be polite, asking yourself: "Why do I need all this info?"
Do you feel hurt and awkward because you are so different from others?
If your answer is yes to the major part of these questions, then you are among the smaller part of the humankind called introverts.
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Who is an introvert?
It is considered that an introvert is a person who communicates little while an extrovert is somebody who is very social. In reality, the main difference is not this. An introvert is self-oriented, the most important events take place in the inner world of a person, in the world of feelings, thoughts and personal experiences. It is where the energy comes from, too. Any intense social contact brings them more strain than joy, and, as a result, the feeling of being drained.
After some intensive communication introverts need to take time and recharge their batteries. And this is not depression or shyness. It is just their personality that cannot be changed, even if the person wants to change. Solitude for an introvert is as important as food and sleep.
An iceberg in the ocean
Introverts can give an impression of shy, alienated, mysterious or even arrogant personalities. In fact they need communication just like any other people, just they are more inclined to deeper, more serious and closer contacts. Unlike extroverts, these snail-like people don't get pleasure in a big company of people. They value one or two, rarely three or four friends whom they consider best friends. They like friends with whom they don't need to talk all the time and can be silent together. And if they talk, it's only to the point.
But to compensate, it is because of their inner orientation introverts can be excellent strategers, thinkers, scientists and power brokers.
In the world of extroverts
Introverts who know who they are like to say that they are the minority of the population but they are the majority among the talented. Indeed, three out of four people on this planet are extroverts. This means, our world is made for them. Noisy concerts, open-space offices, huge companies, full-scale tours, competition, energy, sociability - these are all extrovert values.
Even a trip in public transport is a real trial for an introvert, after which one gets so tired that it's time to go home. Because of an alien scheme of life introverts lose a lot of energy and get exhausted. It is difficult for them to keep up with the speedy way of life. Before they do something they think. When in social contact, they like to take their time to feel comfortable.
Finally, simple staying among people takes their energy.
When they asked Audrey Hepburn what was the most difficult thing to do when she played in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", she said that the most difficult was to play the role of an extroverted girl while she was an introvert. Think of this. Usual introverts have to play by rules strange to them every day. The good news is these rules can be tricked over.
No pause rule. Why do you think silence during a conversation should be awkward? It can only be true when during this pause you really have nothing to do. While others start feeling nervous when silence installs, an introvert only feels better. Now it's time to concentrate on your feelings. More than that, people of this kind find it difficult to talk all the time. They really need to make pauses to think things over.
To avoid conversational pauses learn to talk slowly. When you stop to think, the pause doesn't seem so long and awkward any more.
Eye-to-eye rule. Our culture gives certain importance to the eye contact. It is our way to show that we are interested in the other person and his words. But it is very tiring for an introvert because it only makes feel things in a stronger way, makes one react. This really requires a lot of energy.
To avoid such situations you can sit not directly opposite the other person, but a little aside. Then you will be able to look aside without losing the contact. When in a working situation, you can hide behind a notebook and pretend you are taking notes. With time you will invent your own ways to seem polite without feeling tired.
Small talk rule. This is really the invention of extroverts. They talk and talk, and they don't understand. They get pleasure just out of talking. Introverts are not fit for that, because they are made for deep soulful conversations.
When you are at a party, conference, presentation, try to join a smaller group of people. Thus you won't feel lonely or detached. You can then also choose whether to join the conversation or just listen. In one-to-one situations this doesn't work. It is better to sit down when you need to talk. Talking while sitting is less energy-consuming.
Possible ways to live your life as an introvert
Take breaks. This is scientifically proven. Because of specific nerve cells work, introverts need more time to recover. The golden rule is: take breaks during the work before you drop tired. This especially relates to the introverts who work in public or deal with people a lot. For example, Julia Roberts, who is an introvert, takes breaks during the shooting of a film and gets some sleep.
Listen to the music. Observe how melodies impact your mood. Music can give an energy charge for you to go outside and make a decision. At the end of a hard-working day it helps to relax, to forget about anxiety and disturbing thoughts.
Change the temperature. Introverts need to make some efforts in order to organize their life, because simply going with the extrovert flow is complicated and tiresome. Every day an introvert should measure their temperature, that is evaluate their state and possibilities. For example, any big plans should not be realized the next day after a croudy party, conference or meeting. It is the right situation to postpone important issues till next week because otherwise you will have no result. On the contrary, when you feel energetic, it is time to get down to those important issues.
Dating for introverts
Dating can be challenging for an introvert. The necessity to talk, to be the center of attention, to face the unexpected are tasks too frightening for introverted people. For the dates and all other kinds of meetings to run smoothly, do the following:
-Talk about time limitations in advance. A pot of tea and a dessert is quite enough for the first time.
- At the beginning meet on a neutral territory. It will then be easier for you to leave at any moment.
- If you feel uncomfortable, anxious or strained, don't be shy and make pauses: powder your nose, take an important call, or ask him to get a drink at the bar.
- If you are shy and losing your thoughts, don't hesitate and word it with a smile. Just smile and say: "I don't know what to say".
- Keep your own tempo. Don't be in a hurry for a physical contact if you are not ready.
Introversion - simply
- A Guide to Understanding Introverts.
What is introversion? How to behave with the introverted? Read this simple funny how-to guide about introverts.
© 2013 Anna Sidorova
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