Small Talk? No, thanks.

For as long as I can remember, I have consistently asked for prayer to overcome my “shyness”. I’ve always felt that I’m supposed to be super outgoing and persistent in my pursuit of conversation with people. I thought I was so weird because I absolutely hate group settings (for the most part). I live for one-on-one conversations. Those are the moments when I feel most alive. There’s nothing like that feeling you get when you connect with someone at the heart level. I’ve often told people that I have the hardest time “small talking”. I like to get to know someone on a deep level by having intimate conversations, and then small talk, because then the “small talk” isn’t really “small talk” anymore. It’s deep “talk”. It’s meaningful “talk”. Just today, I’ve come to discover that it’s not such an odd idea at all. It’s normal. At least for me it is. I’m what this world would call an introvert. I ran across this list written by a guy named Carl, who is also an introvert. I think he’s been watching me.

Check it out: [The blue words are me talking]

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.

This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

[This is totally me!]

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.

Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

[Yup, this is me too. I have a really hard time walking up to people, unless I’m super close to them. It doesn’t matter if they’re standing alone or in a group, I just can’t do it. My interactions need to have a point, once again going back to the whole “I don’t like to small talk” thing. Sometimes I really struggle with finding something to say to someone. A lot of times I really want to talk with someone, but I just don’t know where to start, which is why I love it when people seek me out and just start chatting away, and asking me about what’s going on in my life.]

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.

Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

 [Wow. That’s my life. I really pride myself on being honest with people. One of the things that I always try to do is encourage people. I’m really good at telling people the things that I love about them, but I mostly only do that through text or in a card, saying stuff in person usually terrifies me. With girls, it’s a lot easier for me to express my admiration and love for them, and to give encouragement. with guys I find it a lot harder, because I don’t want to come across as flirtatious when I’m just being sincere. Also, in conversations I just wanna get to the point, I don’t like dragging stuff out.]

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.

On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

[I have a good core group of close friends, but I can most certainly count my very close friends on one hand. I do believe that the above statement describes me well. I try my hardest to always let my friends know how much they mean to me and how much I truly do cherish their friendship.]

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.

Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

[This one is kind of me. It just depends on what the event is. If I’m chillin’ at someones house, lets drag this thing out all day, if we’re in a big group out on the town…I need a nap. Usually in big group events, I’ll sort of fade into the background, and I just sit back and observe the way people interact with each other, and then I’ll come out of my seclusion every now and again. I just really like  being around people who are having fun, and sometimes I just like to sit there and soak it in. That’s one side of me. The other side of me is wild. I’ll have those times where I am so in the zone, and I’m jumping from conversation to conversation, trying to make everyone feel welcome, and I really enjoy that side of me too, it can just be exhausting being “on” all the time, those are the times I definitely need to be recharged]

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.

Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

[That’s me to the T. I probably drive my mom nuts telling her about all of my books or new music I discovered, etc]

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.

Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

[I believe this is me a lot of the time, but I do follow the crowd sometimes. At times, I just can’t take being the odd one out, so sometimes, I’m sad to admit this, but I compromise.]

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.

Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

[I would say that I can very easily recognize the things that I’m struggling with emotionally. I spend a lot of time thinking, analyzing, and focusing on my ideals, struggles, and decisions. This has helped me to grow a lot in my spiritual walk.]

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.

Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

[At times when it is really chaotic, I have definitely been known to crawl up into my shell, or to become grumpy as I shutdown. I love my quiet time. Even though I like being in charge, sometimes I prefer other people to organize events, because I can’t enjoy myself during the event it self. Knowing that I’m in charge and responsible, I won’t be able to enjoy myself and relax because I’m trying to make sure everyone else is having a good time. There are other times though, when I thrive in a room filled with activity.]

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.

A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

—————————[Below is me talking]———————————–

Isn’t that list awesome? Well, if you’re not an introvert (which only 25% of the world is) then maybe it’s not so awesome to you, but to me, this list is a life changer. It changed my entire perspective of myself. This helps me to understand the way I function. It will also help me to overcome my insecurities for the things that I’ve always looked at as “social awkwardness”. If you’re an introvert like me, I really hope this article has helped you the way it has me. If you’re an extrovert, this still benefits you. This will help you to better be able to reach out and communicate with people like me.

I also want to put a disclaimer here: Just because I’m an introvert, doesn’t mean that God can not use me. It does not mean that I am shy. It does not mean that I’m not bold. If I pray for boldness, God will give it to me. Even though this list does not describe being introverts as a bad thing, it does not mean that I am defined by this list. I am not saying that I have to change my personality because I feel like I should be more outgoing. It just means that the power of God has no boundaries. He breaks all the stereotypes and labels we put on ourselves, and ultimately will strive to transform us into the man or woman of God we were made to be. This list has most definitely helped me, but it does not make me. The same goes for you.

Being bold doesn’t always mean standing up in front of a big group of people and declaring the gospel to the nations. Sometimes it’s just stepping out of your own mind and reaching out to one person. That could be your form of boldness. Do It Afraid. That’s where boldness is born and fear is defeated.

I hope this post has been helpful! Blessings to you! Tell me your thoughts! : )

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