I got it again yesterday, I get it all the time, "You don't seem like an introvert." It occurs to me that I always get this after I have spent some time having a pleasant, engaging... "normal" conversation with someone. You can almost hear them thinking, "Oh, you seem normal."
I said introvert, not awkward human being.
One, it helps to know that introvert means different things to different introverts. For me, it means I can talk to people, I can, and often do, lead a room, command attention, I am often the center of attention. Heck, I even do crazy things like volunteer to run at the local chapter of the MGMA, go to Chamber events, and do volunteer work. And I get a lot of positive feedback about those things and who I am at those events.
I think it interesting that most people, most extroverts want to try and help "fix" me, bring me out of my shell. Its not a shell, its... me. I am not broke, I am different. Know, no matter how often you tell me how good I am at it, it just does not come naturally to me, it tough for me, and most of the time I really do not like it. What being an introvert also means to me is those things make me far more nervous than they do some people.
But I know there is a time and a place for these things so I do them. Think of it like exercising or eating right. A lot of people know they should, they often do, but they don't often "like" doing it.
The world wants extroverts, they like them, and I am a man of above average intelligence so I dress and talk the part. But for me it is a constant struggle to stay engage with humans I do not know and admire. Days full of strangers leave me tired and drained.
By the way, when I let you know that I am an introvert it is not a game, not me playing coy, not me looking for compliments, its me being honest. It is also me trying to have a real conversation. For me, my form of introversion come from the fact that I can't stand shallow conversation. I actually love talking to people to which I can make a genuine connection. Shallow conversation leaves me tired and bored and looking for a way out.
As I said in my recent blog about leaving my "private" facebook page behind, I would much rather fully engage with a few people than "talk" to hundreds. Real conversation, real connections, energize me and usually I can't shut up. I think mostly because I stay bottled up, the real me anyway, until those moments come along.
None of this is to say I do not like people, places, things. I do, just not like an extrovert probably does. It does not mean I want to be held up in my apartment all the time. Heck I usually can't stand being alone for more than about half a day. It does mean that, for the life of me, I just do not have any clue how to start a random conversation with a stranger.
I can hear you! and I get it! I have to connect on a shallow level to find out more about someone to begin to connect with them. I know, which is why I try. But it is like lifting a really really heavy weight for me and not something I can often bring myself to do.
By the way for some of us introverts it really helps if you start the conversation. 😊