Dealing With An Introverted Nature

I'll be transparent about something: I'm not very comfortable in crowds of people that I don't know. I don't mind being in groups of people that I've known and am comfortable with, but I'm really uncomfortable around people I don't know.

I can't help but wonder why. I really can't name many times when being around a group of strangers resulted in a bad experience. Normally, once somebody breaks the ice, I get along fine with everybody.

I had just such an experience today. This was the first day of our vacation. My wife likes to take the kids to the pools in hotels. I don't like hotel pools. They're usually crowded, and I don't know anybody, so of course I'm uncomfortable and awkward. When we first got to the pool, it was crowded. Two kids were throwing a ball around, which took up a lot of room. I just hid in the corner.

Sooner or later, the ball started going out of bounds, so I hit it back in. Suddenly, I was having fun. The woman who was the mother of the boys throwing the ball started talking to us, and suddenly I was comfortable.

I need to remember, if I want to live a successful life with all of my roles in balance, that I'm going to have to trust strangers more. I'm going to have to be more outgoing in these situations.

What about you? Are you the classic extrovert, who will talk to anybody? Or are you like me, an introvert who wants to be more extroverted, but has to remain true to his (or her) nature?

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6 Responses

  1. Our society values extroversion, more so than other societies. It’s my understanding that some of the Eastern societies value introversion a lot more. I am an extreme introvert. Being in America, in this culture that loves extroverts, I, of course, long desired to be an extrovert. It has only been in the past couple of years, realizing my temperament/personality type, that I have come to value my introversion. While it can at times be a burden, it also allows me to be closer to a few people than extroversion does. Extroverts often have a lot of friends, but are maybe not so close to those friends (I’m generalizing, of course). Introverts, on the other hand, might only have a few friends, but tend to really value them and become involved with their lives. My introversion also means that I am a better listener than a talker. People I’ve never met will sit next to me on a park bench or wherever, and tell me their life story and all their problems. Somehow they sense that I’m a listener. I don’t see this happening with my dad, the classic extrovert. He’ll get in conversations with anyone, but they don’t share their hearts with him like they do with me.

  2. Cindy, thanks for commenting.
    I have a strange twist on introversion: it doesn’t make me a better listener. When I do meet someone that I am comfortable around, I want to talk incessantly.
    I think introversion is slightly more acceptable in America than other cultures. I know in Germany, you can’t expect to have your own table in a coffee shop. People will sit where there there are seats. That would creep me out.

  3. I think that’s pretty common for introverts. People think I’m really quiet, UNTIL they get to know me and I feel safe with them. Then I let loose. My introversion makes me a better listener with people I don’t know, the stranger on the street. My dad will talk to them. Me, I just listen. I don’t feel comfortable enough to talk with them, to open myself up, so they talk to me.
    I still listen pretty well to people I know, but I feel comfortable enough that I talk A LOT.
    I didn’t know that about Germany. That might creep me out too. I have heard that in the Chinese culture that introversion is valued. I’ve also heard that it is so in the Japanese culture. On the other hand, I recently went to a Japanese steak house here in America, and we were seated at a table with people we didn’t know. It was interesting. I happened to be with my mom and daughter, so since I had people I knew, it didn’t really bother me much.

  4. Introversion can be interesting. There are times when I don’t have anything to say, or nobody is talking to me, so I’ll just start thinking. Then people think I’m upset or something, usually right when I find something interesting to think about, or I’m almost about to solve a problem.

  5. I am a definite introvert. I’m really bad at making small talk- I just don’t seem to feel it’s worth the effort, but at the same time, I wish I was better at communicating right off the bat! My sister is an extrovert, and it seems like she’s always able to say the right thing at the right moment, whereas I may take longer to come up with something not nearly as good. And I’ve definitely been caught on numerous occasions thinking with a very odd expression on my face, mostly by teachers or family members. My family knows I’m just thinking, but other people don’t seem to understand as easily. They think I’m awkward; sometimes they think I’m a snob or consider myself above everyone else. Of course this isn’t the case, but I rarely get the time to explain myself.

  6. Thanks for reading. I know the feeling. My wife after eight and a half years still hasn’t gotten used to my thinking. She’ll ask my why I look “so serious”, and then I tell her what I was thinking about. I guess the world needs some of us to be deep thinkers.

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