When I was younger I was cripplingly shy, to the point that I couldn’t really do much of anything. Coupled with the fact I’m a complete worry-wart, even the most mundane situation could totally throw me off balance.
Somehow, I headed to university and I managed to make a solid group of friends despite my social issues and I started to see an improvement in my ability to meet and talk to new people. When I was around people I was comfortable with and had known for a long time, I could be the loudest centre of attention in the room – you couldn’t reconcile my two personas.
Finally, after university I secured my first job in Marketing. It was one of the worst times of my life – everyday my new manager would find a new way to belittle me and make out I couldn’t do my job. I was very quiet, but able to interact with everyone when I needed to – being my first job I found some things incredibly nerve wracking, like having to make phone calls in front of people!
In the end, we had a meeting to discuss my first 6 months at the job. By this point I was already forcing myself to go into work each day. She told me during the meeting that colleagues had complained about me. I put a lot of care into my presence at work so I was incredibly shocked to hear that, and incredibly apologetic for anything someone may have perceived me to have done. But then she told me what I had allegedly done – I was too quiet. That’s right. She said there had been complaints about me being too quiet!
Now I realise there were never any complaints, at least not any I should take heed of – who on earth in their right mind would complain about a colleague being quiet? I spent about another painful 2 weeks at the job, crying every evening and trying to think of ways to injure myself so I could have time off, and finally – though it took a lot of courage – I resigned. My family and boyfriend would not let me resign via phone, so I did it in person. I am glad I did (though that’s an experience for another blog post! Suffice to say – she was her usual manipulative self).
Eventually, I secured another job in Marketing, one that I’m proud to say I have now held for over 3 years and I have received a promotion. Thus far, there have been no complaints about me being quiet. Sometime during my second year, I was asked by my manager to take a Myers Briggs Personality Test. My result was INTJ, which stands for Introversion, Intuition, Thinking and Judgement – otherwise known as the Mastermind.
Seeing this, I began to do more research on the Mastermind, and Introversion as a whole. Previously, Introvert and Extrovert had just been words to me. I had dismissed the idea I could be an introvert because I enjoyed spending time with people I knew well and in my mind, introverts wanted to be alone constantly. Eventually, I spotted an article on the subject on Buzzfeed, of all places!
And that’s when it clicked for me. I’m not shy, at all. I have little problem in interacting with new people, but I prefer to relate to one person at a time and I can start to find life a struggle if I’m bombarded with new people for hours at a time. I am an introvert, and boy was I proud! I felt free, because I could finally stop feeling like a social outcast and realise I was, for want of a better word, normal.
An introvert and proud
Now I feel totally happy in my introvert skin. I see old friends from time to time, and I love to make new connections. I spend a lot of time flexing my creative muscles, and vlogging has been amazing. I’m engaged in some great Twitter communities and looking forward to not one but three meetups! I have a brilliant job in Digital Marketing and project manage and drive many exciting initiatives – including liaising with everyone from admin assistants right up to the CEO. Lots of the things I take part in are solitary, but now I know I’m an introvert, I don’t feel the need to pressure myself to fit in.
I hope that this posts helps at least one other person to realise they’re not an antisocial or shy person – they’re just an introvert! And it’s great! I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about my experiences with introversion – either via the comments section or a Tweet, or DM.