Most people think that because I work in sales and I attend blog events regularly, I like going out and socializing. While it's true that my work requires me to meet people on a regular basis and I do enjoy going to beauty events, I really am an introvert in real life and need to exert a huge amount of effort just to be pleasant, gregarious, and mentally present.
The old school definition of introversion was believed to be someone who does not want to socialize (and this is how my Mom initially understood it) but so many articles now prove otherwise. We introverts do have a social life (though with a handpicked set of really close and relevant friends), and we are okay with staying home on most days (yes, really). But we are not to be mistaken as shy as when the situation calls for it, we can be in our element and work it like nobody's business.
So while eating salad yesterday I had an epiphany: maybe I should write a light-hearted post about me being an introvert so people know what to expect. Because as friendly as I think I am, some still get this mataray and unfriendly vibe from me. I made a mental note to start writing as soon as I got home. Oh why do these brain-farts happen when I'm far away from my laptop?
1. My brain goes into hyper-drive when I meet a new person.
I like meeting new people and expanding my social circle, but only in small doses please. Mingling at a mixer or any social event, for example, is exhausting especially since talking to several people drains my energy. I also try to make the other person comfortable even when I'm already wracking my brains out trying to think of things to talk about, funny anecdotes, or a common ground. Even with a drink in hand, I'd feel extremely tired and ready to bail by 10pm (especially if I've had a full day at work already).
2. Crowds can sometimes overwhelm me.
A more recent example, I went to Cubao Expo last weekend to help out a friend who was set to launch his bar. I knew it was a Saturday and that meant heaps of people. When I first entered the expo, I took a deep breath, looked for my favorite cafe, and hung out for a bit. I was smiling, laughing, and saying hello to people I knew (this is my orientation and one of the proper things to do, you have to greet people and acknowledge their presence) but inside I was like, "Take me away from here! Too many people!" It was funny yes, but crowds really freak me out.
3. Dates can be awkward.
I've gone on a handful of dates in the last 6 months which I think were generally okay. Past the "getting to know you stage" and the 4-hour conversations over coffee, things can sometimes get a little flat and tiring. When this happens my HR background kicks in and I start asking questions, mostly just to keep the ball rolling. I have yet to find that person I can be comfortably silent with, without him thinking I'm not interested.
4. I love pocket dinners.
Small intimate dinners with 3-4 really close friends are heaven-sent. We know each other so well that we can all converse without being too intrusive of each other's space, and most importantly we can eat in peace. So relaxing, exactly how I like it.
5. I'm okay with staying home.
In this day and age where everyone is glorifying the state of being busy, I really treasure spending weeknights at home. I can watch movies on my iPad, I can write, or even just play with my doggies. Why battle horrendous traffic out there and hordes of people when you can just stay in and sleep?
6. I like my alone time.
When I've had a full night of partying (yes, sometimes it happens) or had just arrived from a trip, I need the next 1-2 days away from the limelight and back in my cave to recharge or at least to go back to my regular programming (i.e. my routine). I have some friends who still party every single night and while I don't think this is bad, I just can't take that particular lifestyle. Or maybe, I am just a Tita? :P
7. Working as a team is good, but I can work as well alone.
Last week I had a full 16-hour shift. My first meeting as at 8:30am and then I had another event in a BPO til 2am. Our task was to approach employees, get to know them, and introduce our company. I noticed some of my teammates were doing a stellar job approaching random people while I on the other hand, was clamming up and only conversing selectively. I don't like being "forced" to be outgoing or "forced" to socialize, so I left a little before 2am feeling very relieved to be heading home.
If you're like me, don't feel bad because introversion is actually a good thing. An introvert, according to Susan Cain is more self-aware, we have more weird but interesting thoughts and ideas, we are thoughtful, we are creative and productive when given the right stimulus. I do have extrovert friends whom I love because they give me just the right push and encourage me to get out of my comfort zone once in a while. And some good even came out of it, that's how I started surfing.
And if you're an extrovert with introvert friends, give us some space. Don't call us out when we prefer to steer away from the group and decide to chill at home, don't judge us when we say we're happy doing what we're doing, but we do appreciate your attempts at getting us off our solitary butts to socialize once in a while :)
A very encouraging talk from Susan Cain about the "The Power of Introverts"
The 6 facets of introversion: "There's more to Introversion that you think"
Image credit: @tishramirez