Being an introvert in an extrovert world

For those who know me, they would have no hesitation in agreeing that I am an introvert through and through - I also have a no nonsense and no unnecessary personality which can seemingly add to the introvert persona.

There are all different combinations of introverts and extroverts out there, but I'm here for all my true and straight introvert natured friends out there - those of us who were the shy kids, who are not that great at small talk even as adults because we just don't really know how because we've never seen the point in the unnecessary talking, the ones who happily sit back and listen in group conversations and who come across as super quiet on first meeting.

We like to sit back and observe people we don't know and come to understand how they interact, understand their sense of humour and personality so we know how to interact with these people in their way and also decide whether or not these people are our types of people. We never wanted to have to call and place orders, we're no good at sales-type roles, stepping into unknown situations is terrifying and we don't mind keeping ourselves company on a regular basis.

Despite this inherent personality trait, I feel like I constantly find myself in situations at work where I'm forced to step outside this known comfort zone and put my introverted nature aside for a moment. As a journalist and blogger I've had to reach out to and talk with people I've never meet before and keep conversations going with them, I've had to give my opinion and put forward my skills in writing and photography to all these people on the internet that I don't know, I've had to take the lead to get things done and I've had to take on things that are new and therefore terrifying because I don't completely understand and therefore don't feel completely in control.

Being a writer does have many avenues that can nature and favour my introverted side, such as freelancing and working from home where I just correspond with people over email on a daily basis and never have to talk face-to-face with those I work with. As much as I enjoyed the freedom of that style of work, oddly enough I found the writing I engaged with and enjoyed the most was the times I was out meeting people and talking about them - odd for someone who hates meeting new people and having to strike up conversation with them,

Being an introvert in this landscape doesn't seem to make a lot of sense but it's also helped push me more than if I sought out other career paths that let me completely indulge my introverted tendencies. Things that gave me anxiety, like calling these people I didn't really know, writing and working on something that was new and I didn't really understand yet, talking to strangers and finding out their stories while making them feel comfortable as I take photos of them, are things that I wouldn't even think twice about doing anymore.

While sometimes nothing excites me more than knowing I have a night or day ahead of me with no planned contact with other humans and I can be in my house and just be with myself doing whatever I want to do, the anxiety I felt around many social situations has been lifted thanks to work continually forcing me into situations where I had to do these things that my entire body wanted to run from.

So to my fellow introverts out there, be sure to challenge your internet nature sometimes, no matter how terrifying or unappealing it might seem - the more times you force yourself to do it, the easier it becomes before soon all anxiety disappears.

For anyone dealing with introverts, remember not to mistake quietness for being super shy or as a sign they may dislike you - we're just getting to understand you - and make sure you help push us out of our introvert comfort zone and into more social and extroverted situations. At the same time don't expect to ever completely transform us, we're introverts for life and will always have times when we decide that today/tonight we just won't be leaving the house and we will be avoiding human contact at all costs. Instead appreciate us as the person you can come to hang out with when you're looking for some quiet company without the need to force anything.

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