An introvert’s thoughts on talking to strangers and others
September 27, 2013 6 Comments
I was in my mid 40’s when I discovered I have a preference for introversion. Until then I thought I was an extravert, mainly because I can talk with ease to complete strangers. My ability to converse with strangers–which to me is no big deal– has won me the admiration of my wife.
My talking to random people has the opposite effect on my daughter, though; it embarrasses her. Before I even get a word out, she’ll hiss, “Dad, don’t talk to that guy.” Too late. “Oh my god, that’s so creepy.”
When I talk to strangers I prefer to talk to them on my terms. A good example would be at one of my kids’ soccer games when some parent from the opposing team would sit down next to me, and I would joke, “I hope your team takes it easy on us.” This would generally result in a pleasant conversation that could last the whole game.
Having a propensity to talk to strangers is a good thing, as it helps me in my work as a workshop facilitator. It gives me a comfort level that allows me to stand before large group of people unknown to me and spout words of job search advice. Because conversing with my workshop attendees comes so easy to me, they think I’m lying when I tell them I’m an introvert.
And talking to those I know.
There are definitely times when I don’t feel like talking to anyone, such as after my third workshop of the day. That’s when I’ll quick walk back to my cube so no one can accost me. Even my colleagues will get the cold shoulder as I turn my attention to the computer screen and barely respond to their words.
I must appear to be antisocial to my colleagues. I tend to eat very fast and don’t like to dawdle in the lunch room. I feel like I should tell them that I hate to eat and run, but that would be a lie. What I really hate doing is listening to the drone of conversation when instead I could be writing or preparing for another workshop.
Lest you think I’m a complete recluse, I love getting together with friends to watch some great European soccer. I’m friends with a couple who love soccer more than their kids. It’s great going over to their house when I’m fully rested. It’s not too late and there’s good beer around. We can watch the beauty of soccer unfold and barely have to say a word.
Other times I like to utilize my verbal communication skills are when I’m with my neighbor Joe and we’re talking about nothing in particular and repeating the same jokes we said the week before. I know that when I tire of talking with Joe that I can give some excuse about having to tend to the kids. I think he understands that my attention span wanes.
My penchant for tuning people out is part of being an introvert. I’m not overly proud of it, but I figure my tendency toward solitude gives me more time to think and filter outside noise. I’m not saying I’m a big thinker, because that tends to be as tiring as listening to others drone on and on; I’m just saying that I like to be able to think.
One time long ago while with friends they asked me why I was so quiet. I told them, “He who listen, learns.” In fact, I was simply resting my mind and enjoying listening to them play their stupid video game.
- 15 ways introverts like to be alone (thingscareerrelated.com)
- 6 reasons why introverts prefer to write (thingscareerrelated.com)
- Are you an introvert and feel pressured by an extraverted world (thingscareerrelated.com)