22:09

Yesterday I pushed myself to see a group of friends who I haven’t seen in a while. These friends are easy to get on with but are much more extroverted than I am – which is why I do not see them that often. As a keen introvert I tend to shy away from large group hang outs and opt for smaller group occasions instead. A larger group can be mentally draining and takes more effort on my part to ‘fit in’.

The initial group of 15 was difficult to get used to. I felt like I was quiet and not really a part of their conversations – like an outsider looking in. However as the night went on and I spoke to people on a one-to-one basis, I felt more relaxed and at ease.

One friend (who I have always connected to a little more) took the time to catch up with me which made the social situation a little less daunting. He also remembered a fact about me which I didn’t even know he knew! I questioned how he knew and he gave the reply, “Everyone knows this about you.” It was such a small and passing comment but it really resonated with me. It was actually a compliment in disguise. It was a reassurance that I was not forgotten despite my absence from frequent social gatherings. It was a detail so small, yet it was comforting to know that people remembered that about me.

As the night went on, the numbers of the group dwindled down and we started to reminisce on memories. I had settled into a safe space with people I was comfortable with, talking about how we had all grown together and come so far. We ended the night around 1am (noticeably later than my usual early bed times) and went our separate ways. I left the gathering with a warm feeling in my heart – I had pushed myself into an uncomfortable situation and prevailed.

Getting out of my comfort zone is a challenge but the biggest obstacle is actually my own thoughts. There is always a ‘what if’ thought. A pessimistic thought that suggests something could go wrong. A daunting task in front of me that I can’t achieve. But what if it goes right? What if I can achieve it? I like to think that I can encourage people but when it comes to myself I struggle. It may not be easy but getting rid of the negative thoughts is the first step to success.

21:29

As someone who is more on the introverted side of the introvert/extrovert scale, I am always looking for ways in which I can feel more comfortable in the general public. While I can walk down a busy street without feeling anxiety, I often have panicky feelings or pangs of social awkwardness when faced with crowds (both strangers and people I know).

When faced with a situation in which I have to speak to an acquaintance, I tend to stay quite quiet and avoid making conversation where possible. I am not a fan of small talk! On Monday mornings I seldom ask colleagues how their weekends went (not out of rudeness but out of a slight feeling of uncomfortableness). I think that this sometimes stems from my weekend habits. On Sundays I tend to take the day to recharge my batteries and have some alone time. Come Monday morning; the loud dynamics of colleagues chatting is sometimes difficult to emulate. I work hardest when it is quiet and peaceful; however office etiquette calls for bonding with colleagues and sharing interests. With a naturally quiet character it can sometimes be difficult to interact with those who have a much louder personality.

Recently in a monthly meeting with my team leader, she told me of an observation she had made of my character. She noticed that I had been more open and vocal, engaging in more conversations with colleagues and generally having a more outgoing demeanour. She seemed pretty pleased that I was engaging with my colleagues more (not that I was ever a completely silent worker), and that I seemed happier as of late. I had not actively changed my behaviour in the past month so it was strange yet satisfying to hear this observation from a colleague. I am pleased to realise that my comfort levels in interacting with others has increased (if only a little), and that I don’t give off a socially awkward vibe (as much as I think I do). Sometimes all an introvert needs is the quiet reassurance that they are doing okay.