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.

01:53

‘One of the risks of being quiet is that other people can fill your silence with their own interpretation: You’re bored. You’re depressed. You’re shy. You’re stuck up. You’re judgmental. When others can’t read us, they write their own story – not always one we choose or that’s true to who we are.’

Sophia Dembling – The Introvert’s Way