Monday, September 24, 2012

Being an Introvert


Introvert (n): 1. a shy person.

2. Psychology . a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings ( opposed to extrovert). 
I've been wondering lately whether there's a common trait among writers and I'm curious to hear your thoughts below.
I'm sharing in this post more about myself than I usually do through social media, but the fact has me very curious if there are others like me. AND, I wouldn't post this if I wasn't completely comfortable with being an introvert. I think it's part of what makes me a writer.
I consider myself outgoing but shy, which I know makes me "socially awkward" at my own will. Yes, I know what others around me think when they meet me because that's the persona I force onto myself. I consciously make myself "socially awkward" around people I don't know.

Why? Because I put up a shield between myself and anyone I don't know. I am wary of new people and the barrier protects me from being judged too quickly. In my opinion, the same way you can't judge a book by it's cover, you can't judge a person from an initial meeting/introduction - at least not me.
I don't do chit chat with new people - why? because I really don't know much about them (at least in the beginning). Unless they "strike my fancy" in the first minute, I will not make the conversation too interesting. I know that's rude and I hide it by not talking and replying in short answers. Some people think I'm a good listener, and I'll go with that - but only as entertainment to myself (which makes me feel guilty on the inside and even more shy). I use the conversation to observe mannerisms, traits, speech patterns, and make notes for my writing.

I believe being an introvert makes me a better friend in the long run because I really care about the people I do speak with, make friendships with and continue the relationship in whatever form it may come. That's when I slowly let the barrier down, begin making jokes and join the conversation. Once I know you, and vice-verse I may not be able to shut-up. Yes, it happens.

It's like the relationship is filtered before it begins. If I find we have nothing in common, there won't be too many conversations, but I will listen.

Having said that, it's even more difficult for me to use social media to "socialize". How do you do that when you don't really know me? How do you let the screen down, or should you?

Take Twitter for example. The only time I'll make conversation with other people is when they have something interesting to say or when I know them on a deeper level. That's why I prefer to promote others on Twitter - yes even authors I don't know which not many are in favor. Hey, it's better than pretending to be making a conversation - I don't pretend. If I say something, I mean it.

I do say things in the heat of a moment that I regret. Doesn't everyone? But it's rare. I'm already reconsidering the post I'm writing. Is it too much information? Is this me slowly letting down the barrier I have with my own blog? Perhaps. I guess only time will tell... I'll be looking forward to re-reading this post a year from now to see how far this relationship has grown (or not).

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you find using social media difficult? Do you force yourself to us it, or embrace it perhaps with some limits.


Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm a bit of both. I'm shy in social situations, I hang back, let other people talk and get a feel for the people and the conversation. A bit like you, I'm guessing?

But as a gym instructor it's my job to welcome new people, approaching those who are standing uncertainly at the door. It's my job to get excited with people when they meet their goals and shout - yes, sometimes I shout - at them to get them to work harder!

I've not yet found the key to being more extrovert in social situations.

Shelly said...

As for socializing on media, I had a recent email from a fellow writer. She was upset with another writer who has a tendency to be very brash in her comments. These 2 were considered best buds...but...yeah there you go. Be careful what you say if you say anything at all out there in cyber-space. Drama happens there, too.

Hugs and chocolate,

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm an introvert. I've found social media easier than dealing with people in person as well. But I've learned in real life that if you ask questions, the other person will eagerly answer and talk - which means I don't have to say much of anything!

Gina Gao said...

I can totally relate to this post because I consider myself introverted. Nice post!

Rose Munevar said...

I think I do the exact opposite. I'll make small talk easily with strangers, but I push people away when they get too close. It's amazing I let my guard down enough to get married! Interesting post. I found your blog through Alex Cavanaugh's book blogfest. Nice to meet you.

Ciara said...

I struggle with this because I can't think of quick witty comments for each blog. Some people are great at it, I'm not. I'm an introvert, but do okay with one on one conversations. Just don't give me a microphone!