Posted in Introvert Lounge

Social Distancing

 

Fortunately, I am able to work from home.  These next few weeks will be interesting. Many have joked how us introverts have been prepared for times such as this.  I am wishing all of you well and for those who have fallen ill, I wish a speedy and complete recovery.  God bless!

Posted in Introvert Lounge, Uncategorized

Introverts and Socializing at Work

As an introvert, I don’t feel I am at a disadvantage most times. I have grown to love my introversion and do not view it as a hindrance, but when you are in a situation where you are you must work with mostly extroverts those advantages don’t seem to put you in a favorable position.

Working with extroverts, especially those who try to for you out of your introversion can be difficult. Most of the work activities are stirred toward forced social interaction, team-building, and all things that they may enjoy, but we find uncomfortable and tiring. It can be challenging to be an introvert in those situations. I have found some ways to cope with them. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. When they do, it is a win-win for all involved. Below are some of the tips I have used in the past.

 

Offer to do the planning and the setup.

I love to plan.  Planning an event is never a problem for me.  It’s attending the event that sparks my anxiety.  That anxiety is exacerbated by the idea that everyone will thing I am antisocial or unwilling to participate because my energy will drain and I will begin to power down in the middle of the event. If I become heavily involved in the planning, I can still participate in my own way and often alone.  I can also busy myself with the setup and thus avoid any sustained interaction.  

 

Find another introvert

I call this the magnet method.  The introvert is easy to spot.  Search all corners of the room and that is where you will find us.  Generally introverts who understand each other are content with congregating together and not socializing.  

 

Excuse yourself ahead of time

If you are not on company time, it is perfectly fine to have other plans they will cut into the event.  When you feel your energy start to drain, leave.  It works well to have something planned ahead of time so everyone can be prepared for your departure.

 

As I mentioned, these tips don’t always work for every situation, but they can ease some of the introvert’s anxiety.  The main thing is not to feel guilty for using these or any other coping strategies. We are who we are and we cannot help that.

 

Posted in Think About it Thursday

Renewal

 

Soon it will be spring and with it comes thoughts of things starting anew.  Along with the blooms and pastels there will be new beginnings.  Some mark this change of season with cleaning house from top to bottom.  I usually don’t follow such customs, but this spring I am committed to a renewal.

Are there things that you need to renew?  Are there any slates that should be wiped clean and a new story written in its stead?  Let’s use this upcoming spring to start something afresh.

 

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Think About it Thursday, Uncategorized

Just Leave it Behind

There are some things we have to leave in the past if we want to have a different future.

That is a lesson that has taken me years to learn.  We can get so comfortable with past experiences that we make them our present and our future.

Many of us have lived through a tragedy, had our hearts broken, or been mistreated.  There is no reason to keep reliving those horrible moments.  Certainly those experiences have shaped the people we are today, but they don’t have to shape us in a negative way.  We should view those experiences as learning moments.

We often use past traumatic experiences to excuse our present behavior, but the only reason these past experience continue to affect us is because we continue to reach into the past and bring them to the surface.  If you have ever uttered the words “I am like this because_________happened to me a long time ago”, you are guilty of allowing past experience to shape your present life.  Stop creating issues and focus on healing and moving forward.  Learn from those experiences and make better choices for yourself.

If you were ever in a relationship with a dishonest person, don’t create trust issues.  Make better decisions on who you share your life with.  If you grew up in a household where accountability and responsibility were nonexistent and you can recognize that, don’t allow that to be your excuse to continue that pattern.  I admit that not everyone who exhibits a  certain negative behavior is aware of the reason, but for those of us who like to blame current behavior on past experiences, we know exactly what we are doing.  We know there was a problem in the past.  Let’s leave it behind and move forward.

Posted in Introvert Lounge

Introvert Cloak

It seems that everywhere I turn there is mention of introversion.  As an introvert I don’t throw the term around loosely and I don’t like when other do.  In particular, I don’t like it when being antisocial, boring, or nastily sarcastic is associated with introversion.  I love people and am a generally pleasant person.  I love being around people too, but I get my fill of socializing quicker than others.  I will admit I won’t seek out heavily populated social events.  I much rather attend a symphony, recital, or a play.  I tend to choose events I don’t have to play an active roll in.  That’s it.  If i spend too much time socializing, I’m worn out.  My social butterfly wings will quit mid-flight leaving me searching for a quiet, solitary place to land.  Before that energy wears out, you would never guess that I am an introvert, but I am and that’s okay.

What is not okay is behaving poorly and then throwing on the introvert cloak. Below is a list of qualities often associated with introverts that drive me crazy.

 

 

Introverts don’t like people

Yes we do. I hate this association the most because I love people.  I think this has been associated with introvert because we tend to “give out” and retreat a social functions.  I understand it can be confusing to see a person jolly and having a wonderful time then turn into someone who can’t get out of the room fast enough.  That is because we have used up our energy.  We all can turn on the charm and enthusiasm, but it has a limited shelf life. That does not mean we don’t enjoy spending time with people.  It just means that time does indeed get spent.

 

Introverts are snarky

Okay…I can be snarky, but it is not a part of my personality.  One thing I can say about most introverts I know is that we are quite witty.  If the situation calls for snark, it is best served by us.  I think our ability to think through things before opening our mouths give is that extra biting edge when  the need for a snarky remark presents itself.

Introverts like to hide in the shadows

This is only partially true.  We will go hide in the shadows when our energy reserves wear out, but we do not live there.  We enjoy the light as much as anyone else.

 

Introverts are not great public speakers

I have to speak in public all the time and it does not bother me at all.  I actually prefer speaking in front of a large group as opposed to mingling within a large group.  Introversion is not a lack of ability to function.  We just do things differently.

 

Introverts do not want friends

We do want friends, just not too many.  We usually have a small circle of close friends.  I am always looking to make new connections, but constant hanging out and doing lots of things together very often does not appeal to me.  My close circle of friends understand that or they are introverts as well.  It takes someone who really understands an introvert to be friends with one.  I often want to be in the company of my friends without necessarily interacting with them.  This is one of the things some of my extroverted friends do not understand.  I often hear “Why did you suggest I come over if we weren’t going to do anything?”  My response to that is “I just wanted to spend some time with you” , and I do. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to do something.  Introverts are fine with just being.

 

What are some other misconceptions about introverts that drive you mad?

 

Posted in Write On Wednesday

Write on Wednesday #61

 

Today’s Writing Prompt: What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

I recognize that many of you who will be reading this post are probably already grownups.  I work in higher education and I often ask the young adults I counsel, “What to you want to be when you grow up?”  We often have ideas of how certain jobs lack financial stability or may not live up to the expectations of others.  Many of us have had careers for many years, but there was that one thing or job that you always wanted to have.  A dream job.

For this writing prompt, write about your dream job.  What would you daily activities be?  How would your life be different? Who knows, you may be inspired to take a leap of faith and follow your dreams.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Think About it Thursday

Put it On to Pull it Off

I have never in my life been very traditional, but a few years ago you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me.  I have always loved all things bold and danced to the beat of my own drum, but I was afraid to express it.  I was, for all outward appearances, average.  I believe what the popular term nowadays is basic.  I was that basic chic who kind of looked like all the other women my age, or what society said women of my age, ethnic background, stature, sexual orientation, etc. should look.  I spent countless hours and several hundred dollars a year getting my hair professionally straightened, I never wore anything overly masculine or feminine, I always chose either contacts or a light brown pair of wire-framed glasses that said “I’m near-sighted, but professional”.  I was never to bold in my speech or my demeanor.  I was not too plan, but not too flashy.   Generally, I was nothing out of the ordinary.  I hated it.

 

 

I envied the beautiful women with big voluminous curls, and huge halos of cottony hair framing there faces.  I envied these women even though I had the same voluminous, cottony hair, but mine was chemically stripped of all its glory in order to fall in line with what I thought I was supposed to represent.  I envied the women with beautiful cat-eye glasses or horned-rimmed frames in bold colors. I envied their courage to step out of the ordinary and to be bold.  I wanted to be the kind of person who could pull that off.

As the years went on and I got older, I began to want to truly live my best life to the fullest.  That meant I had to be authentic and true to myself.  It started 11 years ago with my decision to stop straightening my hair.  As my hair was chemically straightened, I decided to cut the chemically processed hair off.  It was a big step as I my hair was rather long, but I was ready.  I really did not miss my hair.  I thought I would panic because I could never remember a time in my life when my hair was ever short.  I loved it!  I kept running my hands over my half inch curls and feeling their pebbly texture.  What I loved most about my new do was the ability to walk out in any kind of weather without a worrying about my hair being wrecked.

 

I got so many comments about my lopped-off locks.  People started rumors that I has some type of psychotic breakdown.  Some asked if I had been ill.  I also got comments from people who loved it, but my biggest critic was my mom.  She had jokes every time she saw me.  She bought me large earring and told me to always wear lipstick so I wouldn’t “look like a man”.  My favorite comment was ” You are the kind of person who can pull that look off.”  What??  Me?? I was one of those women??  Mission accomplished!!!

 

I was on from that point.  I got every pair of unconventional glasses I could find.  I have round Iris Apfel ones, cat-eye Shirley Chisholm ones, and big square Victoria Beckham ones too!  I also started to dress the way I always wanted to dress with no regard to what was expected.  Only what I loved and made me happy.

 

Just last week a coworker told me that there was a certain style that she wished she could pull off.  My advise to her was to just put it on.  Once you put it on, you are pulling it off.

I would like to challenge all of us to step out of our comfort zones and put it on!

Posted in Think About it Thursday

Stop, Look, and Listen!

One interesting and odd fact about me is that I am a huge Patsy Cline fan.  She sang a song titled “Stop, Look, and Listen”.  I was reminded of this song when I was on my lunch break today.  I went into a cafeteria style restaurant at the height of rush hour.  The servers were moving fast and making quick and rapid movements.  They were spilling things, bumping into each other, and hearing the customers’ orders incorrectly.  Often, they had to stop what they had started to either clean up something or start completely over.  Sometimes it is not worth the rush.

Another instance of something very similar happened a few years ago.  I was on my way to class and could see a car behind me weaving in and out of each lane, passing every car in front of it.  Soon the car was behind mine riding closely and recklessly darting back and forth in an attempt to pass me.  When the car was in the lane right next to me, I could see that the driver was a woman in my class.  She sped down the road in front of me as I continued on.  When I got to the school parking lot, she pulled into the parking space beside me.  AT THE SAME TIME.  She did all of that and we got there at the same time.  Actually, I was there a few moments before.  Then when I got to class, she came in late!

My point is we use so much energy rushing when we could just take our time.  When we rush, we are anxious, we make mistakes, we could cause accidents, and still not have the result we are in such a hurry to get.  This is not only when we are in a hurry to get somewhere or do something.  This is the same with life in general.  We can miss so much. make mistakes and even get further behind when we are rushing.

I would like to challenge all of us to just stop, look, and listen.

 

 

Posted in Think About it Thursday

People Pleasing

 

As a recovering people pleaser, I have done tons of self-reflection on why I do what I do.  The jury is still out on that, but I’m no longer as concerned about why.  I just want to stop.  I do okay for a while and then I relapse.  I have noticed that it is easier to stop with certain people and not so easy with others.  I am constantly saying that you teach people how to treat you.  I realized that my people pleasing tendencies have taught people how to treat me.  More importantly I have taught them that they are able to use my urge to please to their advantage.

I have made a list of the things that go through my mind in the middle of my people pleasing thoughts.  I have found that my thoughts are really based on nothing.  As mentioned previously, this people pleasing behavior only comes into play with only one or two people.  Actually most who know me would be shocked that I struggle with this.  I generally give little thought about what others think, but my desire to please or not make a certain few uncomfortable has honestly stunted my personal growth.

I think all people pleasers need to examine their reasons.  Here the list of questions I asked myself:

 

Question:  What is my true motivation?

Answer:  Duh, to please another person.  This led me to ask myself another question.  Why?  I realized that I didn’t want any conflict with that person.  The person I didn’t want any conflict with is a huge part of my life.  I interact with this person on an almost daily basis and I love this person.  There is a certain degree of “I want to please this person because I fear not doing so would cause that person to think less of me.”  After thinking about this for a while I realized that although I may disappoint that person, that person will not stop loving me.  That person has been disappointed or upset with me before.  So what if it happens again.  Is it really as big of a deal as I have worked it up to be in my head?  I began to realize the root of my people pleasing is fear.  That fear is often based on what I think may happen.  I need to learn to deal with others disappointment rather than avoiding it.  So my motivation to please is based on what I fear may happen.

 

Question:  Why am I worried about what they are going to say?

Answer:  First of all, who is “they” (also known as “people)?  “People” and “they” are our own reservations and insecurities.  We are just putting a name of group of nameless people to an issue we are not willing to address ourselves. Are they even important enough to really be concerned about?  So what if they do talk.  They will talk anyway.  This is something I have gotten over, but I feel people pleasers generally stress over the ubiquitous “they.”  What I have learned is that if I am concerned about the “they/people”, that is a personal concern of mine. This thing may be something I am not quite comfortable with.  It may be something that requires a bit of a risk, so I want to be let off the hook.  What lets me off the hook is blaming my dependence on the “they”.  This finding led me to my next question.

 

Question:  Am I making excuses?

Answer:  Sometimes.  I will admit it has been easy to say that I don’t want to do something because I don’t want to rock a boat, but in actuality I’m just scared.  I have noticed this when I verbalize my decision to do or not to do something to another person who I am certain to share my view.  Once I get that confirmation, I feel that have been let off the hook.  I use people pleasing as an excuse because, unfortunately many people can relate to it and often find it acceptable.

 

What I have learned is my people pleasing has been rooted in fear.  As I have started to break a lot of my people pleasing habits I have realized that when I fight against the urge to please, the results and reactions are not as drastic as a I thought they would be.  Of course certain people did not like certain decisions, but that’s life.  No disavowals, or broken relationships.  Life simply goes on as usual.  Once I began to hold fast to my own decisions, I got little to no interference, not two cents were thrown into the mix.  It was just accepted.

I would like to continue to challenge all of us to examine hour people pleasing tendencies.  Let’s get to the root of it and grow beyond it.

Posted in Good Stuff

Your Crown

 

by Achille DevÈria, printed by FranÁois Le Villain, published by Edward Bull, published by Edward Churton, after Unknown artist, hand-coloured lithograph, 1830s

 

No matter how one feels about monarchy, one must admit there continues to be a fascination with royalty.  We use it in our everyday speech as a compliment.  I often hear “Good morning, Queen!” from a nice young man when I am dressed fashionably or a “I hear you, Queen!” when I say something intelligent or witty.  Last week, my cousin used “Queen” to describe me.  I then told him my crown was bought and paid for.  I just had to start wearing it.  In my reply, I realized that although I was in possession of a crown, I had not been wearing it.  This caused me to examine why.

It has been always been my belief that we all have crowns. I think deep down most people feel this is the case, but do we walk around on a daily basis like royalty?  I didn’t.  People were seeing it in me, I feel it is there, but I was not wearing my crown.  When I was younger, I was known as the smart kid, teachers pet, and all those things that go along with being a bright student.  Although it was a good thing, this caused me to be teased by other students.  Being the smart kid wasn’t the popular thing to be.  So I took off my crown.  It started with self-deprecating humor and dumbing myself down to be what I thought to be more acceptable.  As I got older, being smart was cool again.  I reached for my crown and starting wearing it proudly.  Then there were other times I felt undeserving of the crown upon my head.  I would respond to a compliment not by simply saying “Thank you”, but by pointing out a flaw in myself.  I wanted to let people know that although my royal blood is evident to others, I doubted it.   I am ready to start wearing my crown at all times, at all functions, and in front of all people.  Are you?

Some of us are afraid to touch it, some of us are intimidated power and responsibility that comes along with it, and some of us don’t feel worthy of wearing it.  We all own one.  Start wearing it!