Are You An Introvert?
I’ve always thought of introverts as being wallflowers. Shy, quiet and preferring their own company.
I’m certainly no wallflower. I’ve got plenty of friends, have a very loud voice and have been known to dance on tables after a few tequilas.
But I’ve got introverted tendencies that have taken me years to understand.
Back in high school I’d enter the huge noisy lunch room, clenching my tray and trying not to look desperate as I searched for someone to sit with.
The Jocks all sat together and as a cheerleader I had rights to sit at their table. But gossip and superiority have always given me the creeps and I never felt comfortable there.
My eyes would scan the room, hoping to find a friend dining alone so I wouldn’t feel intrusive for breaking up a conversation. My stomach was in knots and I felt like everyone could see straight into my awkward soul in those painstaking moments of trying to figure out where to sit.
I get those same pangs now as I approach the school gates when I collect my kids some days.
Mothers all talking and laughing in small groups. My chest clenches up the same way it did in high school as I scan the crowd, trying to look nonchalant – or busying myself on my phone.
Joining in on a group in progress still feels stupidly daunting to me.
Some people are great at small talk. I can find it painful.
I can talk to a hairdresser about the weather or my next holiday for exactly five minutes before I have to bury myself in a magazine for the duration of the appointment.
I much prefer one on one’s than group gatherings.
I’ve had incredulous reactions when I’ve declined invitations for girls nights out or weekends away. No one can figure out why I wouldn’t want to join in on the fun.
For years I didn’t understand it either. Why was I the only one who this didn’t find being part of a posse of girls even remotely appealing? I didn’t even want a hen night before my wedding.
I prefer to truly connect with just one person at a time and talk about things that really matter to me, rather than gossip or idle chit chat.
This must be why I’ve gained so many incredible friendships with individual females. Most of my closest GFs know of each other but haven’t actually met each other.
Six years ago I found myself in a pickle.
I’d heard about a four week course on Life Coaching for Mothers and invited a close girlfriend to join me. She had to decline, so I invited another close friend who excitedly accepted.
Then Friend One got back to me and said she could come after all. I felt bad that I’d jumped the gun and invited my other friend so soon. It was awkward having to tell them both that there’d be a third person there they didn’t know.
I feared it would change the dynamics of what I was looking forward to the most. I’d wanted to share the experience with a friend, using the journey there to catch up and then have lunch afterwards to dig deep into what we’d learned.
For me, our first car ride there as a threesome was awkward. Instead of having a great catch up with one friend, I felt I had to be the moderator and help them to get to know each other.
But the course was fantastic and the three of us walked out buzzing with excitement. There was no question that we all wanted to have lunch and talk about what had just happened.
And I needn’t have worried that they wouldn’t open up to each other. That day kicked off what was to become my incredible Power Posse that’s still going strong – seven years later.
These two amazing women ended up being my founding partners in Project Me and I owe them so much gratitude!
Last week I did something I’ve never done in my life.
I went on a girlie getaway to Ibiza with a group of 12 other women!
No we did not go clubbing or get drunk and flirt.
It was the first ever Project Me retreat! I felt completely comfortable amongst this group of incredible, like-minded women.
It felt authentic and awesome! We did yoga, went on gorgeous, scenic hikes, ate yummy food and openly shared to our hearts content.
We also explored how to be the Best Versions of Ourselves when we returned back to our busy lives back home.
I’m finally beginning to understand and accept my introverted tendencies.
I still cherish my one on one friendships, but I’ve found there’s a place in my life for posse’s too.
Thank you Cathy Cassani Adams of Zen Parenting for the article you wrote over two years ago for The Daily Love which first got me thinking about all of this. I remember a wave of relief that I was not some kind of awkward social weirdo after all! http://thedailylove.com/myths-about-introverts/
I also loved this TedTalk by Susan Cain called The Power of Introverts: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts
In the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think? Do you thrive in a group, or do you prefer one on one company?
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