introvert

How an Introvert Can Become a Master of Social Interactions

In our busy world, we often feel that we may let others down if we take a break. If we do not attend social events, we may fear being viewed negatively, either as an arrogant snob or as a sad loner.

We know that the social world is astoundingly complex and that we, the introverts, have a part to play. While we may not be socially awkward, we generally prefer not to be overly-social, sometimes in order not to end up having to entertain the same person for days after the event has ended at which we met that person.

Introverts Are Social Creatures Too and the social dance is a lifelong one, and the sooner we master it, the better.

Benefits of Mastering The Social Dance

Imagine having a life where you have exactly the degree of stimulation you need from social events, never feeling guilty for leaving early if you need to.

Imagine having friends who understand your need to have time on your own. They let you be when you need them to, and you know that you can still call them up anytime.

Imagine having the energy to go about your daily activities without constantly feeling like you need to get away from it all.

Yes, you can have all of that once you master the dance. So let’s start with the first one:

Letting Others Know

Have you ever wondered why other people cannot be more understanding and stop making so many demands of you?

This usually happens when you are tired. Thus, when you need Alone Time, you have to make this known and come to an understanding with the people you are with. Holding in this need will make you feel like a martyr, and resentment can build over time, harming your relationships.

The quickest way to forge understanding is to share information and express expectations. However, being introverts, it can sometimes be difficult to voice our thoughts and give our opinions. We often feel like we are intruding on another person when we do so.

Overcome this feeling by reminding yourself that what you wish to share is valuable to the other person as well. As long as you are polite and respectful when conveying your message, you will generally be well-received.

Let others know of your needs, especially when you need them.

Remember that the biggest favour you can do for the people you love is to be at your best for them. If you are to be at your best, your needs have to be met.

Suggestions for Letting Others Know:

1) Arrange a meeting and sit them down.

2) Explain that you are an introvert and that you need recharges from time to time so that you can be on top form for them.

3) Elaborate that your recharges need to be on your own.

4) If you have kryptonite (something you are adversely sensitive to, such as loud noises, bright lights, etc.) and you know what it is, let them know.

5) Assure them that you are not pushing them away when you tell them you need time alone.

6) Thank them for their understanding.

You will inevitably come across people who either cannot understand or simply do not want to acknowledge who you are or why you need time on your own, and will continue to make demands of you.

Unless these are immediate family members, your only course of action is to minimise your interactions with them. If at all possible, stop spending your energy on them.

Anyone who cannot respect your legitimate needs should not be given the privilege of your attention. Conserve your energy and give it to those who are more deserving.

Dancing

Arising New Misconceptions About Introversion

The impact of Susan Cain's book Quiet has been nothing short of impressive. Suddenly, introverts from around the world are proud of their identities.

However, as with all such shifts in thinking, new misconceptions have arisen.

With this newfound attention, especially through the media, introverts, who used to be viewed as 'weird' are now seen as 'cool'.

Perhaps in an attempt to seem like part of the 'cool' gang, many people have jumped on the bandwagon and declared themselves as introverts because they see themselves exhibiting certain stereotyped introverted behaviours, such as reading, taking time alone and being less-than-comfortable in social situations.

Of course, there are many other such stereotypically introverted behaviours, but let's for now focus on these three:

1) Reading

Reading is NOT the exclusive domain of introverts. I know plenty of extroverts who read - some of them, voraciously and I also know plenty of introverts who don't enjoy it at all.

This is a stereotype because reading is typically a solitary activity and concentration on the content is usually easier when it's quiet.

Nevertheless, enjoying a good book doesn't make you an introvert, and it certainly doesn't mean that you have to be an introvert to enjoy reading.

2) Taking Time Alone

Whether we are introverts or extroverts, we all need to take some time alone, be it to think, to re-focus, or simply to get away from it all.

Yes, introverts do generally need more time on our own because that's how we recharge so we have the energy to get through another hectic day. That said, we don't 'own' the alone-time space.

Just to clarify, we are all somewhere on the introversion-extroversion spectrum. Just because someone tends toward the extrovert side of the spectrum doesn't mean he/she has no introversion in his/her personality. There is no such thing as a 'pure' introvert or extrovert.

So go ahead and take time on your own. It really is the best way to clear your head and get things sorted.

3) Being Less-Than-Comfortable In Social Situations

Before you label yourself 'socially anxious' or 'socially awkward', try and figure out what exactly it is that makes you so uncomfortable about being in a social situation.

Are you concerned that nobody will find you interesting?

Well, then get yourself a quirky hobby. Also, figure out a new angle with which you can talk about what you do. This isn't about having a good elevator pitch. It's about seeing what another person may find interesting about what you find mundane.

Are you worried that you will get rejected by the people you try to talk to?

That's possible, of course. The good news is that many of them are worrying about the exact same thing and they will probably welcome your conversation, unless you are bad conversationalist or a terrible bore, in which case, you need to go brush up on your social skills. Attend a course and bring somebody along with you.

Are you, perhaps, afraid that you won't know what to do or what to say?

As above, brush up on your social skills. Learn to make small talk. As much as introverts hate it, it is a very powerful social lubricant. Also, practise introducing yourself with a twist so that others ask you questions. Then, you won't need to worry about what to say next, because you just have to answer their questions.

Remember that introverts and extroverts can suffer from social anxiety, which is based in fear, an emotion, not in personality.

Certainly, there are other misconceptions out there, but these are 3 of the most common ones that I've come across. If you have any to add or any questions to ask, feel free to drop me a message.

Red-eared Terrapin

A Successful Book Launch!

The Book Launch of The Introvert Teacher was a success!

A culmination of weeks of planning, coordination and organisation, the event truly came together a mere 2 - 3 days before it happened.

The vision of the Book Launch was for it to be a bazaar of connections and learning points. There were timeslots for focused, value-adding networking as well as mini-workshops for experiential learning.

To run the activities, I got the assistance of my fellow trainers to set up spaces where they will conduct sessions of their speciality topics and guests would come and learn something from them.

The reason behind this unusual move was to make this a different, more memorable launch event. A typical launch event consisted of an emcee coming up to introduce the 'main character', who will then give a speech, including some thank-you's. After the speech, there will be little else going on as the guests hang around until they get an opportunity to talk to the 'main character'.

I didn't want that unproductive downtime. It made much more sense to use that time wisely for learning and networking instead of wasting it doing nothing useful.

As it turned out, my guests had nothing but high praise for this decision. Many of them told me that they learned a lot and that the event was well-thought-out and executed.

I can only thank the others who came alongside me to help me make the event what it was.

Apart from booking the venue (at MOX), we had to order catering (from Liang Food Caterer), make arrangements to see the space and plan the allocation of activity spaces, get the books and other stuff there on the day itself, as well as make sure that all the finances were properly handled.

There was no way that I could have done all that on my own.

Thank you, each one of you, for helping me out. I am deeply appreciative of what you've done.

Book Signing
With Fellow Trainers