Friday, June 1, 2018

On Being Introverted

"You're not a snob after all, are you?" David put his hand on my shoulder.

I glanced up and almost dropped the book I was holding. "Um, no . . . "

"See, it's just that you never talk. We all thought that you thought you are better than us."

"Really? No. I mean . . . I've just never had much to say."

As he walked away he tossed over his shoulder, "Everyone has stuff to say."

This is a true conversation I had with a fellow senior the next to the last week of my high school career. Talk about being thrown for a loop! Not only was I suddenly aware that an undisclosed number of acquaintances thought I was a snob for four years plus, but the idea I had since junior high that there was something wrong with me had been confirmed.

I wasn't popular. I wasn't an athlete (my tennis coach would whole heartedly confirm that) or a cheerleader (let it be known that I believe cheerleaders are athletes also). I wasn't a burn-out (better known as doo-rags and weed eaters). I was just me. Quiet, a bit awkward with the small talk, but just me.

I had a small group of friends and I was content. Sure I kinda wished I'd been invited to the parties that were talked about Monday morning in hushed whispers as other kids slid into their seats just before the bell rang (Little did I know what actually went on during some of them). But on the whole, I was content. Even though I long ago convinced myself that there was something wrong with my personality. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized there isn't anything wrong with me, I'm just an introvert.

Introvert Dear explains it this way:
" . . . someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing and regain their energy by spending time alone. This is largely because introverts’ brains respond to dopamine differently than extroverts’ brains. In other words, if you’re an introvert, you were likely born that way."
Being an introvert is different than being shy, though often the two are used interchangeably. Shy is more about being nervous or self-conscious in social situations. Believe it or not, extroverts can have this trait also.

The good news for me is that I finally realized that I don't need to be "fixed." My Creator intended for me to have this temperament for a specific purpose. Does that mean He won't push me out of my comfort zone? Oh, no, He definitely will. And He has, at times. He's too good of a Father to leave me completely as I am. And He's too righteous to not remind me that I cannot do most things on my own. I must lean on Him and trust Him in order to become more like Him.

I think it's going to take awhile to stop thinking of myself as "less than" just because I'm not extroverted, not able to successfully make small talk, and be some kind of hospitality wizard. I've always admired those who could do those things. Wanted to be like that for most of my life. It's time to let myself off the hook.

I am also learning to be thankful for who God created me to be instead of being discontent because I'm not who I thought I should be. Because I'm not who others thought I should be. Because I'm not who I thought others thought I should be. Did you follow that? Ha!

Are you an introvert or an extrovert or both?



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