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In a previous post about introversion I talked about some of the challenges I face as an introvert. Today I found myself trying to explain to a work colleague why the thought of attending an awards dinner freaked me out.
To start at the beginning - I nominated a group of volunteers at my workplace for an award and to my delight they have been short-listed. This means attending a gala dinner to be acknowledged as finalists and to find out whether or not we have won, but even though I was the one who submitted the nomination, the thought of dressing up and attending a posh dinner with colleagues and tables full of strangers makes me feel extremely anxious.
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My colleagues have tried to coerce me into going and even gotten a bit annoyed with me for resisting, so this afternoon I sat down with one of them and explained just what it means to be an introvert. I used a scale of one to ten, one being a hermit living in a cave and ten being an attention-seeking exhibitionist. I sit at about three.
Introversion is a two-fold state for me. In the first instance, I like people but socialising can be difficult and draining. I try to avoid parties, functions or any event where I have to dress up and mingle with others. I find it uncomfortable and unnatural. After being with people for a while I need to get away and be completely alone to recharge.
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The other aspect of introversion is the feeling of obligation. I enjoy people more when I donít have to feel a sense of responsibility for them. Even though it was a challenge, I loved raising my children, but now that theyíre adults I am relieved that they are independent. I love them and enjoy spending time with them, but itís nice to not have to feel that Ďtwenty four-sevení responsibility for them.
Introverts are constantly misunderstood. Itís easy for others to see us as snobbish or rude, but the truth is that it is a character trait weíre born with Ė like eye colour. The brain of an introvert is different than that of an extrovert.
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So if you know people who like to keep to themselves or shy away from social events, itís safe to assume that they are introverts. Try to be understanding and donít take it too personally.