This is the first of a three part series in which I will attempt to explain the wonderful world of introverts. This is the longest post in the series.
When a long time reader pointed me to this Huffington Post article, 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert, and asked me to comment on it, I gladly accepted her request. While it’s no secret that I’m an introvert, I thought it might be interesting to see how many of the 23 signs I have plastered on myself. Note: No two people are alike, not even two introverts. This review was done based on my characteristics. You may be gloriously different, and I hope that you are.
After reading the article, then re-reading the article, then really reading the article, I placed each of the signs in to one of the following groups:
1. Signs that I see in myself that support a diagnosis of introvert
2. Signs that I see in myself that I don’t believe necessarily point to introversion
3. Signs that I do not see in myself
Fifteen signs fell in to the first bucket. (I told you that I’m not a secret introvert). Six signs went to the second group and two signs in to the third. I realize as I’m about to post that some of the items below may make me sound like a complete jerk, or worse. I’m just sharing.
The Fifteen Signs That I See In Myself
1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome. I interviewed with a guy one time that asked, “you weren’t born with the gift of gab, were you?” No sir. “Hey! How are you? How is everybody?” Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I love this quote in the article, “Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.” See, we’re unificators, not dividerers!
2. You often feel alone in a crowd. I could explain it to you, but I can’t help you understand it. Actually, I can’t even explain it to you.
3. Networking makes you feel like a phony. Look, I understand the value of networking and I’ve made a lot of industry friends and contacts via lunches and social events, but see #1 above.
4. You’ve been called “too intense”. Yes, mostly by lazy people who are always running late and can’t ever find their car keys.
5. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you. No it doesn’t. When I have it, it’s magnificent!
6. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterward. It might be an itsy, teeny, little control thing. When I hear someone tell a story about marlin fishing and the fish jumping out of the water, I’m “polite” enough to wait my turn to tell the story that I have about a grizzly bear jumping on the salmon that I was trying to land in Alaska. What happens, though, is that Eddie Extrovert hears the word “jumping” and will hijack story time with his tale of jumping from an airplane over the Mojave. My story topic is gone. Bears and fish don’t go with airplanes.
7. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench – not the middle. Why would anyone sit in the middle by choice? On our trip to Jamaica, it was a 90 minute ride on the shuttle bus from the airport to the resort. Care to guess where I sat? In the front passenger seat. Do you know why? Three reasons:
A. I get carsick,
B. I wanted to see the hillsides and neighborhoods along the way, and
C. Instead of sitting in the back making conversation with 20 other people, I “retreated” to the front of the bus where I only had to make conversation with 1 person.
8. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert. My wife has never met a stranger, and my daughter is just like her. My son is very outgoing, but he also likes quiet TV time.
9. You notice details that others don’t. I’m not sure this is really what the writer means here, and I love them dearly, but the 2.75 extroverts (Jack has his moments) in my house usually can’t find the shoes that they’re wearing.
10. You have a constantly running inner monologue. And it is hilarious! Some of it comes out on Twitter now. OHHH, it just hit me that, with Twitter you get my inner dialogue, with Instagram you get the details that I notice that others don’t! Social media is social medicine for the introvert.
11. You have low blood pressure. It was, like, 112/74 the last time that I had it checked – which is to say the last time that I went to Sam’s Club. Sometimes, when I’m in a “discussion” with you Type-A extroverts, I can hear you talking, but all that I can think is, “I wonder how high your blood pressure is right now.”
12. You’ve been called an “old soul” – since your 20s. I’m just saying that you guys should give “Casablanca” and “Key Largo” a chance. Some of Hollywood’s leading ladies could learn a little something from Lauren Bacall.
13. You look at the big picture. This seems almost contradictory to #9 above, and I struggled with the right group in which to place this sign. How can you possibly see the forest AND the trees at the same time? There’s always a bigger picture to see, though. Or, perhaps more accurately, this too shall pass (he says with his comatose-level blood pressure).
14. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.” I heard it a lot in college, usually by someone who was out of money and needed someone to buy their drinks that night.
15. You’re a writer. Well, I wouldn’t put that label on myself, but I do have a friend in text messages and emails. My total number of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and email accounts combined with the number of open and closed blogs is really out of control and ridiculous. Writing, though, is how I share.
Passed with flying colors! So, you see, snarky as I may be, I am clearly an introvert. To paraphrase the creed of the Bad-Anon therapy group from the Disney movie “Wreck It Ralph”, I’m introverted and that’s good. I’m not extroverted, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me!