Well, maybe my mother didn’t request the test, but I’ve been labeled an Introvert by the fine folks over at The Myers and Briggs Foundation. And I’m perfectly fine with their assessment. You see, an introvert doesn’t mean that I’ll hide in the corner forever. It only means that I get my energy, my rejuvenation from a different type of social interaction. I like small groups of close friends. My friends.
If you ask my loved ones, they will tell you that I’m quite an extrovert, a cut up, and the joker of the group. I have no shame when it comes to throwing out innuendo. I’m known as a live wire….to those who know me.
But if you put me in a large room with a bunch of people I don’t know….that’s another story altogether. I turn into the world’s biggest wall flower, Super Introvert. Large groups of strangers drain me of energy. I can’t establish the personal connection that I need to discover a new friend. I find myself tired and trapped and looking for a way out. So I stand on the fringe, laugh where appropriate, and try to interject a little conversation. I do it badly.
But get me alone, one on one, and I’m your new best friend. People have told me secrets and confessions after just meeting me. I connect with them deeply. I listen to their stories. I am genuinely interested. In a world of barely making eye contact with each other, I’m a human being who cares.
Just being open to the words of another individual is a very powerful thing. As a whole, we are wrapped up in our technology. It’s easier to text than to call. It’s easier to call than to write. It’s easier to write than to visit in person. We’ve become stranded on our technological islands unable to put down are devices for fear of losing touch. When in fact, we’re starving for true connections. A wall-flower like me can make friends with anyone as long as we can hear each other over the din of the party. My superpower is looking someone in the eye and hearing them.
The only thing I ask in return is the same respect. Conversation is a two-way street, with gives and takes. Sometimes there is more giving and less taking for one person, but it evens out over the course of a friendship, or even an evening. It’s not so much “what’s in it for me”, it’s more “allow me to share my story”.
I’ve been searching the web for ways to heal myself and I’ve stumbled across so many stories. Personal accounts filled simultaneously with pain and growth and discovery and hope. Mixed in are the seeds of joy and fulfillment and strength. And, yes, even love.
We all have interesting stories. My life is so much richer for taking the time to listen and share. Thank you for reading my story yesterday, today, and beyond.