Round 3: I’m An Introvert But That Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Like Talking
So in Round 1, I explained how I dealt with (or didn’t deal with…) small talk. In Round 2, I pretended to be an extrovert in order to seem more sociable.
Now it’s Round 3. I’ve picked myself up from the ground, learned a few lessons and I’m ready to go!
In the Red Corner, we have Extreme Introvert, Lily. In the Blue, we have the notorious Small Talk.
The bell sounds. What am I going to do? What’s my plan, to throw in some metaphorical punches and take Small Talk downnn?
The truth is, I don’t have any real attack strategy.
What’s this? Has the Extreme Introvert given up already?
No, no! – I have no real attack strategy because I no longer want to attack. In the past, I’ve been so busy fighting against Small Talk, that I forgot to just ‘talk.’ Because that’s what small talk really is – it’s just talking. And whilst worrying excessively over my social paranoia, I’d forgotten that.
Definition of ‘talk’ : speak in order to give information or express ideas or feelings; converse or communicate by spoken words.
Of course I still get a little uneasy when a conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but now instead of staying silent or spewing out excessive words for no reason, I’ve found a happy medium.
Make an effort to contribute to a conversation but don’t force it. This is quite a big step from my previous “stay quiet ’til someone asks you something’ approach. Thankfully, from past experiences, I’m a little more knowledgable about today’s small talk topics than previously (at least enough to make it slightly more interesting than before!) Remember this is the start of getting to know someone. That’s what my aim is here, remember that!
If there’s a lull in the conversation, don’t fret over it. I still have issues with this one. Conversation gaps worry me a lot, but this is something I hope to slowly get over. But at least I can use it as a good indicator for how I comfortable I feel around someone. Ever heard of the not-awkward silence?
It’s okay to be quiet. When I became aware of my introvert ways, I used to apologise a lot for not talking a lot. One person responded “It’s okay, you’re just a quiet person, there’s nothing wrong with that.” It’s okay be quiet. I don’t have to be super chatty all the time.
Finally, talk when you want to talk. Listen when you want to listen. This is so obvious yet I missed it completely. I was just so caught up in ‘social expectations’ to realise it. It’s a common misconception that introverts don’t like to talk, but give us a topic that we’re passionate about and we could go on forever. For other topics, maybe we won’t say a lot, but we will certainly listen. You could be talking about something we know nothing about but we’ll listen because maybe we’ll learn a thing or two about what makes you tick.
It’d be a lie to say this formula works all the time. There are still occasions where conversation doesn’t flow. There are still times when I trip over my words or struggle to convey what I mean and panic when I’m not sure how to fix it. Pauses in conversation can still terrify me. Sometimes I say less, times when I say more. I still prefer one-on-one conversations more than large group ones, and therefore likely to remain in the background for the latter.
Buuuut, I think I deal with things much better than before and it helps me to meet new people, which I’m always grateful for!
So wait a minute, did you win this round or what?
I’m going to say YES! Because although there are still a few struggles, ultimately I manage Small Talk much better than I used to and manage to get away with seeming normal most of the time!
Important note: I am NOT a textbook example of an introvert, by any means. This is purely my own personal view and journey into introversion. I’ve also had general issues with ‘social’ – and if you add that to introversion, it makes a rather interesting blend of social struggles!
Hope you’ve enjoyed a little trip into my introvert mind 🙂
“I like being introverted. I like being quiet. I like being thoughtful. I like being on my own and I hope if we met, you’d accept me for that.” – Charlie McDonnell
“I have to be alone very often. I’d be perfectly happy if I spent Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” – Audrey Hepburn
“I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.” – Susan Cain