I have never, nor will I ever be the type of person who likes to be the center of attention. I shy away from direct eye contact and as a child I didn’t communicate with others outside of my immediate family until I was 5, and therefore forced to because I started kindergarten.
As I grew older, while I developed the ability to speak to others, I didn’t enjoy it. I hated any type of project that required we do a presentation in front of a class and struggled with verbalizing my thoughts or feelings; as an adult I still struggle.
In an attempt to try to get me to break out of my shell, my father often forced me into situations that I found uncomfortable, which only exacerbated my already guarded psyche, and as a result, I learned to “fake” being an exhibitionist. At the time it was the only way to get him off my back so while I felt uncomfortable conversing with strangers, I learned to fake it enough to convince him that I wasn’t some antisocial, possibly psychopathic child.
In retrospect, I think faking and pretending made things more difficult for me as I got older. Now, in order to deal with awkward social situations without feigning some excuse for why I suddenly have to leave, I usually have a few drinks to help me relax. In that aspect I’m very much like Raj from The Big Bang Theory but my social awkwardness extends to both genders, rather than just the opposite sex.
“Many people believe that introversion is about being antisocial, and that’s really a misperception. Because actually it’s just that introverts are differently social. So they would prefer to have a glass of wine with a close friend as opposed to going to a loud party full of strangers.”
– Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Just because I’m introverted doesn’t mean…
…I don’t like getting out of the house. Humans are social by nature; it’s biology. While I may prefer staying in over going out, it doesn’t mean I don’t like to get out of the house. On the contrary, sometimes it’s necessary!
…that I don’t have a unique voice or opinion on certain subjects. Ask any of my close friends, colleagues, or relatives. When it comes to something I’m passionate about, I will give my opinion without hesitation.
…that I won’t speak up if I am wronged or hurt. It might take me a bit of time to tell you because I generally don’t enjoy confrontations but believe me, I will tell you. There’s only so much wrong you can do before I tell you off.
…that I don’t want to meet new people. I do enjoy meeting likeminded people. It may take me awhile to open up to you but if we click, then you have a friend for life.
…that I lack the charisma, intelligence, and capabilities of someone who enjoys the spotlight. I’d say that I’m just as charismatic and intelligent (if not more) than someone who’s comfortable being in the spotlight. I’m a hard worker and my capabilities show that.
…I won’t try something new. As long as it’s not too fair outside of my comfort zone, I’m willing to try it but I won’t be pressured (at least not anymore) into doing or trying something that doesn’t feel right to me.
…that I don’t know how or what it means to have a good time. Contrary to what many believe about introverts, I’m often the one encouraging friends or family to try something different.