As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I consider myself a slightly extreme introvert. That means, if you look at the (imaginary/metaphorical) introvert-extrovert spectrum, I’m probably somewhere near the end of the introvert side. One obstacle I have to tackle (and I’m sure my fellow introverts will understand) is Small Talk.
This is part 2 of 3, from the Me vs Small Talk series 😀 Click here to read Round 1.
Round 2: Let’s Pretend I’m An Extrovert
After a few years of realising how strange I must be when talking to Small Talk Experts, I decided to try something new.
I would be a pretend-extrovert for a little while.
This happened around the time I’d just started university, so it was the perfect opportunity to give this a go. New faces who did not know of my previous history of social awkwardness.
And to begin with, this worked really well. I found myself conversing much better than I used to. I picked up tips from every conversation I made, made note of the kind of questions people often asked, and slowly became a decent ‘talker.’
There was just one problem with this. It was rather tiring.
Trying to think of something to talk about on the spot (often something banter-worthy or trivial). Then to continue talking about it for a significant length of time. This is all well and good if it eventually led to a subject of more substance, a topic where I can converse without worrying – in the world of conversation, this is my natural metaphorical habitat – but if the conversation was going nowhere and ONLY consisted of small talk, there was a danger of me running out of things to say.
Someone once said that introverts have a limited number of words a day before we start getting exhausted. If this is the case, then my limit was almost up.
There have also been occasions where I find myself saying a little too much. I must be overcompensating for the past Again, a dangerous tactic. While I’m desperately churning out words, I slowly start to grow weary from over-thinking and over-analysing the best sentence to say next in a socialising point of view.
Introverts use up a lot of energy when socialising… And I was sure feeling it!
Aa it turned out, there was only so long I could continue with this charade.
Using this pretend-extrovert technique was a useful learning experience but I had to face facts – I am an introvert by heart. It wasn’t fair on anyone that I should pretend to be a social butterfly when I’m more of a bookworm. To hide this fact would be to deny my true self.
It should be noted that this stage occurred before I knew what ‘introversion’ really was. It was before I learned of the chemical explanation behind it. Because of this, I thought it was possible to ‘fix’ myself and make myself ‘normal’… it was quite a relief when I found out I already was (well, as close to ‘normal’ as is possible for me)
Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. –
Carl King, 10 Myths About Introverts
So who won? I’m not really sure… I guess Small Talk still took victory because I was only lying to myself in this round. Lying is a little like cheating. Maybe I got disqualified this round? Which means Small Talk wins by default!
But this temporary step has definitely taught me a few tips to battle Small Talk. In the third and final round (which you can read right here!), I will write about what exactly I took away from this lesson and how I deal with small talk at present.