I know you are an introvert.
I know you what you are thinking when I am walking past you, trying to catch your eye.
“Thank God for touch phones! There’s a lot more scrolling you can do on a touchscreen than on a keypad. You have to appear busy, don’t you? You can aimlessly scroll through your app menu and still appear to be a rocket scientist hard at work when someone tries to initiate a conversation with you. Your face is a picture of concentration, while your mind says “Yes, keep that expression for a couple of minutes more and he/she will go away”, while trying not to burst into peals of laughter”
Does this sound familiar? No? Okay then, read on!
Imagine this. Okay, you don’t have to imagine because you have already gone through this many times.
There’s a person you know who is headed your way. You have already said hello to him/her in the morning and your mind starts to panic. What should I do now?
Should I smile?
Should I tie my shoelaces?
Should I appear interested in the imaginary bee that’s chasing me around and start swatting wildly?
Or should I twist my face into a pained expression of having forgotten something, abruptly turn around and walk away?
Oh the horror!
Don’t tell me you haven’t gone through this.
Everybody is an introvert
Everybody is an introvert. The extrovert in us tries to rear its head once in a while but our brain is quick to quell any rebellion. “Listen! If you start talking or even glance in their direction, they will want to talk to you”, it says. Our lazy self is only too happy to oblige. After all, we can devote that time to other noble causes, like refreshing our Instagram feed (akin to pressing F5 on a Windows desktop, which does nothing!)
Let’s see a few more of these situations.
- How many WhatsApp conversations have you kept unopened because of your fear of the blue tick? If the other person knows that you have read the message, they may be tempted to initiate a conversation, won’t they?
- You are traveling in a bus and you have your headphones on. The person next to you starts to ask you some questions. You turn, stare at them, answer in a couple of syllables and then comes the wait. Do you wait a few seconds to put your headphones back on? How can you subtly do it without offending the other person? It’s a million dollar question.
- I have been known to avoid entire aisles in the supermarket because I can’t constantly ask people to move.
- I once went into a movie theater half an hour before the start of the movie. Just to appear cool, I came out, kept glancing at my watch every few minutes (before the era of mobile phones) as though I were waiting for a truckload of friends to arrive, then went inside at the appointed hour and sat through the movie.
- Some people even set their phone to Do not disturb, clap the phone to their ear and initiate a one-way ‘conversation’, lest their phone starts ringing in the middle of the call. I use this to practice my foreign languages and accents. You should try it too.
After I became a parent, I started to consciously avoid these thoughts and I now make an effort to initiate conversations wherever I go. Don’t be an all-time introvert. We are all ambiverts and two sides of the same coin. Go out there, talk to people, learn something new everyday, and then come back and curl up in your blanket.
Just to clarify, I am not talking about the clinical definition of the term ‘introvert’. This is just how we colloquially refer to people who generally view the proceedings around them with an expression of complete indifference and a “Why Me?” face.
Have you experienced any of these situations? Let me know in the comments below!
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Image from Pixabay.