Image: You know things are serious when the Introverts show up!
As a child, I was painfully shy. And that’s not a phrase I casually use. I would pinch my wrist, bite my nails, or keep prodding the pimples on my face to ward off anxiety attacks caused by having to meet new people. Hiding in bathrooms when the company become too much to handle was something that I did naturally. Even today, most of my ideas for blogs or articles rightfully stems from the time I spend in bathrooms!
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, and being one myself, it meant I had to force myself, over the years, to become more extroverted whenever the occasion demanded. And to project a confident and aggressive self even if I was not feeling that most of the times. My biggest question to myself even today is whether I could have achieved more in life by being an extrovert.
So I was thrilled when I read this article in The Washington Post titled “Introverts Tend to be Better CEOs”. You cannot imagine the joy of reading an article that confirms that “a little more than half of the CEOs who did better than expected in the minds of investors and directors were actually introverts, not the usual gregarious CEO known for glad-handing customers.” – The CEO Genome Project
Now that being an introvert is the “new black”, I am going to come out of the closet in the bathroom and show you a couple more lovable introvert traits that explains why we do what we do!
Going off to La-La Land in the middle of a social event:
I am usually the recipient of multiple confessions. Introverts excel in relationships that are more intimate and with a smaller group of people, as they value interactions that are less superficial and more connected with their purpose and goals in life. This also means they make great listeners. So when people tell me their worries, issues, fears and problems (this happens most of the time!), am I daydreaming or actually listening?
Here’s what happens in a social situation. Most extroverts get energized in a social situation. Interacting with others, exchanging views, sharing information – these actions increases their energy. However for introverts, they EXPEND energy during a social interaction. Some of this energy is expended for passive or active listening, while the rest goes to processing the information they are hearing. So downtime is critical for introverts to reflect and recharge.
If I don’t get downtime and have an overload of information, I do tend to get distracted. I might physically be standing there, but yes, I have zoned out. But your secrets are safe with me!
Projecting an “Marilyn Monroe-like” aura of intensity:
Introverts come across like Marilyn Monroe – with a smoldering intensity that sets us apart from the herd. I wish!
I tend to be reserved, and would ideally like people to approach me first. My reserved demeanour often gets misunderstood as haughtiness, detachment, reserve and everything in between. But the truth is that I love a social event as much as any other. However, introverts like me tend to prefer smaller or closer groups to hang out and open up with. In a larger, more heterogeneous group, we do tend to hug the wall. Nurse a drink. And give out this smoldering intensity. This smoldering intensity actually means “come-hither and say hi to me because I am just a little bit shy/nervous/apprehensive/introvertish.” So next time you see a person hugging the wall at a party, and you are an extrovert, do go over and say hi. It is immensely appreciated.
So what’s in a name?
I know we should not be dictated by labels. Nor by self-limiting descriptions. However, sometimes we just need to accept the cards we have been dealt with, in terms of our innate nature, habits and characteristics. It took me a long time to accept this. And in the big scheme of things, research reassures us that introverts, ambiverts and extroverts are all winners. There are way too many open doors and opportunities for any person who has a dream, believes in herself, and is willing to work hard for it. So here’s to being any kind of “vert”.
Next blog: Research reveals that millionaires are mostly bibliophiles (Again, I wish!)