Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts: The Other Side of the Introvert

Thursday's Thoughts: a taste of what I'm thinking

I consider myself an introvert to the core, but as I reflected on past experiences I found a pattern that intrigued me.  I was always the shy, quiet girl who never spoke up much, but somehow or other I was always the one to make friends with the "new kid".  I attended a small K-8 school with an average of 20 kids per class. High school was the same.  Thinking back I can tell you who the new kid was in our class each year (or at least one of them).  Each year the new kid turned out to be my friend for the year.  Some lasted longer than the first year and are still good friends to this day. Others moved onto another friend group after a year or so (think middle school years).

How did I, as the shy, quiet introvert, step up and introduce myself and show the new kid around?  I don't think of myself as the type of person who goes up and introduces herself to people.  I usually wait for someone else to come to me and start the conversation. But maybe I don't give myself enough credit in this area.  I guess when it comes down to it, I'm shy and quiet when I'm the "new kid", but not necessarily in other situations.

When I'm in a new situation I tend to pull back, afraid I'll look stupid, ask a dumb question or make a mistake.  (I'm a perfectionist too, remember?)  I can remember situations where no one stepped up to show me the ropes. Instead of welcoming me and explaining they way things were done, they left me to myself and thought, "hey, no one showed us what to do so you have to figure it out on your own too". Those are the times that are hardest for me because I interpret it as being unwelcome or unwanted. Although that may or may not be the case, I still feel unwelcome.  I figure those experiences hit me hard enough that I make an extra effort to welcome the newbie hoping they won't feel as awful as I did at first. I mean, it's hard enough just being the new one without having to figure out everything on your own too.  

Or maybe my motives are more selfish and I show them the ropes because it makes me feel important and needed. You see, I'm more confident and able to approach others when I have plenty of experience in the area.  Unless, of course, they have more experience than me.  Then I retreat again thinking I'll sound like a know-it-all if I speak up.  But those people deserve just as much of a welcome as any other person.  Nevertheless, it's easier for me to introduce myself to someone I see as shy and quiet.

My motives are probably a mixture of each along with a few other things.  While I can recall a few situations where I was left to fend for myself I also remember the times when someone did step up and welcome me in.  You know the kind of people, the ones who come up to you with a smile, take a real interest in you, introduce you to the whole group, give you the lowdown, make sure you're comfortable, invite you to participate but still give you space, and basically treat you like they've been your friend for a long time.  I am so thankful for those people as it made the transitions a thousand times easier.   I can only hope to be as kind and welcoming to the next person in passing on what I've learned.          

Well, that's all I've got on that topic for now.  Funny what skips across my mind huh?

Food for Thought: "Don't let insecurity ruin the beauty you were born with." -unknown

1 comment:

  1. This post reminds me of an online exchange earlier today.