I am a full-on no-questions-asked introvert.
Yes, I teach group fitness classes in front of tons of people, connect with many of them, and jump around like an overexcited banshee like its my job (well, it is but that’s beside the point).
However, I have all the classic introvert characteristics. I have a very small tight group of friends rather than a vast network of acquaintances. I get a solid F- in small talk. If I don’t have something useful to contribute to the conversation I will stay silent. And make everyone feel awkward while I do it. Networking makes me feel foolish. I am intensely intense. Downtime is the most productive thing that I do for myself. And, as I’ve always known but am experimenting with this blog… I am much better at writing what I think than saying what I think.
I just went to an office holiday dinner last night and while it was fun to catch up with the one or two other folks there that I know pretty well, I found the whole shindig to be quite exhausting. My favorite people at those kinds of events are the extroverts. They carry the conversation, make all the jokes, drink like fish. They’re fun. Sometimes I feel envious of that kind of ease. The outspoken funny folks, they get lots of recognition from the big boss.
So last night, the big boss gave little personal speeches about every one of this staff members. It was really touching and made us all feel individually appreciated. The extroverts had hilarious stories told about the time when they did this or that, which will never ever be forgotten. And it sounded like those were the folks in the crowd that were the big boss’s favorites. I was so nervous as he came down the alphabet to the S-A-B’s because I am certain that there has never been a hilarious moment where I was involved and what story could he possibly tell about me? I am So Boring! zzzzz
But I had no need to worry. He told everyone there that I was not to be underestimated. I was not to be crossed. That even though I was the one quiet force in a room full of loud obnoxious people, when it came time for me to talk, everyone always shuts right up. The things I say, however infrequent, are most valuable things said. And they make the biggest difference. He said that the department that I oversee was a mess for decades before I took it over, all he heard were complaints and questions and concerns. And now, he sleeps at night because he never hears a peep.
Then all the extroverts jumped out of their chairs and gave me a Way Over The Top completely unnecessary standing ovation, and the only other introvert in the room caught my eye from across the room and gave me a knowing smile.