I’ve come to the conclusion that many people are introverts, and I am basing this on the amount of blog pieces I have read in the last year that claim, “I am introvert! Hear me roar (or hear me whisper with my head down)!” Apparently, being an introvert is not a unique thing. However, different people give introverts different traits, so after combing through twenty articles, I was so confused about what an introvert actually is that I decided to stop trying to label myself something that sounds so fancy. I don’t know whether I have the characteristics of an introvert or not. I think I do. But I’ll let you decide.
I usually describe myself as socially awkward. Of course, there is the rarity of “clicking” with someone right off the bat, but I can count on one hand how many times that has happened. So, in my adult life, making new friends hasn’t been easy. It’s weird to me to just clamber up to someone and say, “Hey, we should be friends” or “Hey-you have kids and I have kids, so that makes us BFFs, right?” I don’t do forced friendships. But on the flip side, although I may not introduce myself to every mom in my daughters’ classes at school, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t want friendships with these women. It just means that I find it weird to start a conversation with a stranger who I may or may not have things in common with. For instance, if I were in a coffee shop reading a book, and across the table, there was a woman reading the same book, I would feel confident that we could have a good conversation. Of course, I would never in a million years approach the coffee shop woman, but I’m just trying to give you some perspective. On the other hand, if I were volunteering for craft time in a classroom with another mom, I wouldn’t feel confident that a conversation about Popsicle sticks would end in a very meaningful relationship. For me, there has to be more than that to feel comfortable talking to someone new.
I’ve had a few people say that prior to getting to know me, they thought I was a complete bitch. And trust me when I tell you, I definitely can be. But I promise that I am not intentionally warding people off. Most of the time, when I am in a room full of women I don’t know, I listen. Not in a creepy or judgmental way, but in a “this-is-a- decent-conversation and-I-wish-I-had- something- to- add” kind of way. Instead of adding to the conversation, I may smile, or play games on my phone, or read a book that I almost always have with me. My point is that I am most definitely not being a bitch. What I am being is awkward. Though it’s not my best quality, I’m glad I can own it and laugh about it.
Most of the friendships I have now are with people who were introduced to me through someone I was already friends with. So, I never really had to step out of my so-called box. Although they may never have had to get past my social awkwardness, my girlfriends have gotten to know the real me and have decided to stick around. So, does this make me an introvert? Weirdo? Social Leper? I still don’t know which label truly fits. But I have learned that with sincere friendship comes the ability to be comfortably social… without the awkward chick lurking in the shadows.