Score One for the Closet Introvert

I’ve self-identified as an introvert for a few years now, but I can’t remember ever using that knowledge to reshape my behavior.  Until recently.

Just this week I went to a graduation celebration, and I took my knitting.  Instead of trying to fight my way into the talk I just sat in the vicinity of conversations that were interesting to listen to and made progress on the little cardigan I’m working on.

Years ago I knew a woman who described her outrage and surprise at being the only individual to defend a core tenet of her faith in a group of fellow Mormons. She told me she was contemplating a month- to year-long experiment.

“I’m just going to quit speaking up,” she said. “And I’m going to keep a journal of people’s responses.”

“Well,” I said, trying to be gentle, but wondering how this could provoke notice from other non-responders, “I think that might be giving others too much credit for even noticing the difference.”

I was feeling this way.

Wondering how much it mattered to me that people wouldn’t notice I was different.  Not being sure how much explanation I did or didn’t want to offer.

YES I feel very different than I did 5 years ago. Or 11 years ago, when I still lived at home (and family had more opportunity to figure me out).

No, I don’t think I’ve actually changed that much, just quit fighting who it’s easy to be.  Started thinking that maybe this is actually who I’ve been created to be…

Who is still allowed to keep changing, so if I’m too confusing now, just love me and wait. You’ll see something new in another six months if you keep paying attention.

Part way through the evening someone noticed

He accused me of being bored with the company, since I wasn’t participating.  I bit back my hurt response at being unfairly sniped and retorted, “When I have something to say I will.”

My sister heard. And remembered it, too; longer than I did.

Today she told me how much she liked the line, and how she’s trying to remember and apply the idea in her own communication.

So am I.

3 thoughts on “Score One for the Closet Introvert

  1. Well I’m glad someone noticed. I think he could have been more tactful in the way he expressed his observation.

    But really, how is it bad to be bored with the company that you’re in? That happens to me more frequently than I like.

  2. Apparently it’s bad, to the tune of rude. In my talk yesterday I realized (right after I verbalized the observation) that I’m probably not supposed to *say* talking with people in a noisy/busy environment is draining.

    Talking with people I think are trying to catch me wrong is tiring, too. But I’m aware enough that I recognize pointing that out will be perceived as some sort of counter-attack and I certainly don’t have the energy for an argument– particularly with someone who I can tell already wants to “improve” me.

    (Improve here meaning change. The need to change is not in itself offensive. It’s the implication/assumption that change automatically = improvement.)

  3. Pingback: Different Kinds of Waiting | Untangling Tales

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *