Confessions of an introvert

From the Editors, General

“Outgoing,” “loud” and “exhuberant” are words that have often been used to describe me. “Quiet,” “introverted” and “self contained” also have been used to describe me. The descriptions shouldn’t apply to the same person and be accurate, but they do. That’s who I am, depending on the situation.

I am an introvert, and that’s something that a lot of people don’t really understand. And, because of the myths surrounding introverts, some people don’t believe it when I tell them that. For work, I push through my personal comfort zones and get the job done (and done well, I’ve been told), but for myself I give myself more of a buffer. As an entrepreneur, I’m trying to get past that too.

Let’s talk about the myths …

Myth: Introverts are shy. I am an introvert, but I am not shy. I’m not afraid of meeting new people. I have made a career of being in front of crowds, cameras, and microphones and teaching others to do the same. I can work a room, talk to everyone and connect with the people I need to meet. I can be in a social setting and be engaging. I just can’t do it all the time. For me, being in a crowd and interacting with a lot of people is work, it’s exhausting. I’m going to need alone time to recharge.

Myth: Introverts are quiet. I am a talker in a family of talkers. I have a lot to say, and the more engaged I am the louder I get. I find a lot of things interesting (sometimes the weirdest things) and enjoy talking about them. But I need to warm up to you first. And it helps if we’re in a smaller group. I recently had dinner with a group of friends (old and new) that included a woman I’ve know for several years as part of a women’s professional group. At the end she told me that she hadn’t know that I was so outgoing and the dinner had changed her view of me. She usually interacts with me in a larger group where I’m more self-contained; during the dinner I was more comfortable and, as a result, more engaged … and you could tell.

Myth: Introverts aren’t social. I love meeting new people, finding out what they’re doing and learning about new things through them. The problem (for others) is that I don’t automatically become best friends with new people. I’m not going to tell you my innermost dreams and fears after a handful of coffee meetups. I love going out with friends and family to have fun, but I’m not going out to meet new people, I’m going out to enjoy the people I already know.

Myth: Introverts always want to be alone and stay home. I recharge my energy with alone time. Going to a party doesn’t get me in the party mood, it just depletes my already low energy. It doesn’t matter how great the experience is or how many wonderful people I’m meeting, a party isn’t going to make me feel energized. I need my alone time to be able to function the same way a car needs gas, it’s my fuel. But once I get refueled, I go to movies, dinners, events and have a good time with my friends and family.

I have read many articles in the last year or so about introverts. Some estimate that one third of the population, some estimate that it’s closer to half. Whatever the actual number, introverts are often misunderstood.

Hi, my name is Sandra and I am an introvert. Are you?

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