ETEMESI

BLOG: The challenges of being an introvert

PHOTO | FILE
PHOTO | FILE
Because extroversion has been highly glorified, introverts constantly find themselves feeling misunderstood, unappreciated or not in sync with the rest.

I like to deploy as much humor as my brain cells can possibly create into my articles but today I’ll settle for a more serious tone. Most people don’t know that I am an introvert. Given how aggressive I normally am in my articles, the assumption is that I am wild and feisty in person as well.

As a result, a lot of people tend to be very surprised when they meet me for the first time and find out I am a laid back person who is economical with words. Do I wish I would talk more? I used to hate myself for being a quiet person but nowadays I am more than glad that I was born this way. Most of my thoughts go into articles instead of speech. I doubt I could have been as consistent in my writing if I was talkative.

I also possess a few attributes that somehow make me look like an extrovert. For example, I enjoy going to events, whereas a normal introvert would prefer just staying in the house and engaging in a private activity. I can also impress females with ease, something male introverts struggle with.

INTERACTING WITH WOMEN

I used to be really bad at it though. I was a disaster. I only became good after I read tonness of seduction books in my early college days and forced myself to keep interacting with women daily. So much work for a skill that should come naturally right? Well, at least it paid off. Nowadays I am so good I can afford to teach other people too.

I am still not good at making first impressions though. I think I am good at making second impressions and third impressions. I only open up to a person and show my fun side after I have met them two or three times.

Being an introvert has numerous challenges that only introverts themselves can relate to. They chief challenge is being misunderstood. Extroverts rarely make an effort to figure out why introverts are the way they are. They thus find it easier to stamp labels on them. They call them weird, boring, loners or shy. But that’s hardly the case.

When you are an introvert, people also tend to think you are a snob. You can even tell what they are thinking. They are like, ”Mbona haongei? Mbona hataki kukuja na sisi? Kwani anatudharau ama?”

ENDLESS TORMENT

There are times when extroverted people won’t give you peace. They put you through endless torment because you are not a chatterbox like them. You’ll be at a social setting minding your business then someone comes to you like “Umenyamaza sana. Si you say something.” Or “What’s the matter? Uko poa? Wewe ni mgonjwa?

Ummm…….the answer to all those questions is ‘NO’. We are usually just fine. And we don’t dharau anyone. We are not rude either. We are just introverts.

The other major problem that stems from being an introvert is that the friendship making process is out of your hands. You often rely on people befriending you because your system is not engineered to initiate social interactions and strike a rapport with random people.

I’d say that 90% of my friends are people who said hello to me first. The other 10% are people I found myself in same environments in. We thus had no choice but to be friends. I am talking about neighbours, colleagues and friends of friends.

In the workplace, an introvert has it harder too. You have to be extremely good in your job to stand out. Extroverts, on the other hand, can stand out not because they are good at what they do but because they are good with people.

FAVOURABLE TO EXTROVERTS

When experts give advice on how to be successful in your career or shine in the workplace, they often talk about traits that you should have. Most of these traits are only favorable to extroverts. Be good at networking, they say. An introvert generally prefers to just maintain their ground. Be a people person, they say. An introvert would rather just sit on their desk and concentrate on their work. Be outspoken, they say. An introvert would rather keep quiet.

Because extroversion has been highly glorified, introverts constantly find themselves feeling misunderstood, unappreciated or not in sync with the rest. But this doesn’t mean that if you are introverted, you should give up on your quest to be great and have the best life possible. So long as you find the best way to communicate and to show your brilliance, you will be happy and proud of you are.

This means choosing the right career and choosing the right means of communication. You shouldn’t choose a career in sales, for example, when you are introverted. Personally, as I mentioned, I am glad I am a writer. This is a job that doesn’t require me to interact with people all the time.

When it comes to communication, I also prefer texting. When I am trying to woo a female, for example, I usually have a very easy time impressing her via texts as compared to one-on-one conversations.

FAMOUS PERSONALITIES

A good number of famous personalities were or are introverts – Michael Jordan, Mahatma Ghandhi, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling etc. What these people teach us is that while introversion is an obstacle, but you can always work your way around it while still remaining true to your identity.

To the extroverts, the next time you are with an introvert, don’t make their life difficult. Just try to understand them and take them for who they are. Don’t ask the strange questions about whether they are okay. Don’t force them to talk either. Understand that no introvert chose to be how they are. They were all born that way. It’s not an acquired behavior.



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