Thursday, September 01, 2011

Dear Extroverted World and Small Community

My name is Jamie, and I'm an introvert.

That may come across as standoffish. Let me assure you, I am not. I can get so friendly you'll wish you hadn't ever met me. I'm kinda in your face. All the time. I even might knock on your car window or pat your shoulder as I walk by if, by chance, we ever have a substantial conversation and I perceive that you might, potentially, like me back. I do not think I am superior. I am not judging you. I just don't do small talk. Once I've said, "Hi." And "Wow, I like your haircut/shirt/shoes/igloo choice" I am fresh out of small talk.

I find weather incredibly boring as a topic.

I find politics incredibly pointless as a topic.

I don't want to talk about how sick I or my children are (unless they barfed in an incredibly poetic way and it makes a good story at which point it is an interesting topic and I might not shut up for an ENTIRE paragraph).

I've been known to use all aforementioned topics when desperate.

I immediately inwardly kick myself.

But in general, these topics can go nowhere. For example, "Boy, it's hot." "Yup." "When do you think the heat will break?" "Weatherman said next week we'll be back in the upper 90s." *chirping crickets*

I like to talk. People who know me well can attest for that. I recently had a very long, very detailed conversation about infertility, miscarriage, loss, adoption, fertility treatments and cloning. I don't believe the conversation was strained at any point. This was with someone I hardly know. But I feel like I know her now.

I find words to be very powerful. I try to choose them wisely (I often fail). I do not talk to fill dead space (Unless I say something like, "Well, this is uncomfortable" or "Tell me about your day/dog/dress/doughnut machine.")

I like being with people who are comfortable in silence.

I also hope those people care deeply about something that matters. I really enjoy discussing said something with them. Even if we disagree.

I abhor having words put into my mouth. I hate feeling, after I've been with someone, that I've said something I shouldn't have said. Sometimes I can't even put my finger on what it is I said. Often because it wasn't something I really said, but simply because I was not talking fast or clearly enough it was received as something I said. Or the conversation changed direction so fast that I couldn't clarify.  I hate that. Therefore I continue to practice speaking less and less. Which, apparently, makes me more standoffish.

Some have referred to it as "hoity-toity."

I really, truly, am not putting on airs. Or I'm certainly not trying to. Mercy. 

I married an extrovert. I highly recommend it. I never have to make conversation and yet he forces me out. A Lot. Sometimes I would like to get a word in edgewise, but after 15 years I've gotten adept at interrupting him. Probably to my detriment. He is much funnier and I do, probably, come across as more humorous when I stay quiet. He can find a point of interest to discuss with every person he meets. He has a gift. He IS a gift. He has much to teach me and I'm trying to learn.


So, as I've mentioned, I speak better through my fingers. I have, for as long as I can remember, never been good with my voice. Unless I'm throwing out a hurtful zinger which I will probably stay up all night lamenting. So, if you would, give me some grace. I'm a work in progress.

Don't assume I'm snotty or don't want to visit with you. I just don't know what you want to talk about. Yet. I am a willing ear.

Unless you want to talk about the weather. Because after I reference, I'm fresh out.

All this is a long prologue to another post that will hopefully soon follow on perceptions and how sometimes we are WAY off in our understanding of a person.


MotherT said...

I am going to patiently wait for the next installment of this post. This sounds good!

Mrs. D said...

Yes, when Brent's around none of us have to worry about making conversation....bless him. He makes and introverts life much easier :)

The Brew Crew said...

From one introvert to another, well said (or in our case "typed"). I'll sit in silence with you whenever you want. :) And, yeah, being married to an extrovert has its perks.