You know her. She sits by herself looking like she doesn't want to be there. She's on her phone and not making eye contact. When you do try to talk to her, she's still and not very friendly. You walk away to talk to people you know better. Someone remarks about her. Someone else says, "She's such a _____." Fill in the blank. In high school we might have said she was a loser or stuck up. Today we might say she thinks she's better than us. Or a b*^%*^.
Maybe it's been you. You attend an event where you don't really know anyone. Small talk isn't really your thing. You would rather be reading a book or watching Netflix. Anything but making idle chitchat with people you barely know. You care about people - it's just tough to get outside yourself and make those early connections.
Did you see yourself in one of these? I'm definitely the second one! New situations drive me crazy. I'd rather discuss Trump than make small talk. I would rather jump right into knowing someone than work through the, "Where do you life?" "What do you do for a living?" "Do you have kids?" Conversations.
All during my school years people said I was stuck up and that I thought i was better than everyone else. I really didn't. I just didn't connect well every time. I feel deeply and small talk is so superficial. It took me years to realize that despite my ability to give a speech to hundreds of people, I'm an introvert. And I'm okay. It doesn't mean I don't know how to talk to others. Just that it drains me. I am NOT energized by a part or a day full of talking to people...even though I specialize in how to do it.
The next time you are at an event and see "her" sitting by herself, bring her a drink and ask about her favorite Netflix show or book she's been reading. Move beyond the small talk nonsense and you may just begin to see the real woman lurking under the seemingly shy exterior. She's not trying to be rude - she's just trying to be herself in a sea of extroverts.
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* Quiet - I love this book! I own it and love the empowering message. It's great for introverts and extroverts alike.
* The Power of Personality is a fantastic take on a world that combines both introverts and extroverts for success. The author, Sylvia Loehken, has a Ph.D. in linguistics and communication, so that's right up my alley!