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Living Life as an Introvert

Sarah has never seen herself as an extrovert but rather as an introvert. Even as a kid, Sarah has always been shy.

What Is An Introvert?

People are always using the words introvert and extrovert but what is an introvert? An introvert is someone that's usually more shy or quiet and they tend to be more reserved. Introverts don't like to draw attention to themselves and don't like to be the center of attention most of the time. Introverted people generally prefer more quiet activities like playing board games, eating at a restaurant, or watching tv at home rather than loud social activities like going to a bar or to a big party. Introverts also tend to keep themselves more often than try to talk to everyone around them. Also, introverts usually feel more comfortable around one or two people they know well instead of a huge crowd.

Introverts Aren't Unfriendly People

Something people often assume about introverted people is that they are unfriendly and don't want to talk to you. However, this is not true. Introverted people are not unfriendly, they often are just shy and are scared to say the wrong things. Unlike extroverted people that are very social, loud, and don't mind voicing their opinions, introverts don't like doing that. Introverted people often have difficulty getting their opinions heard or getting their point across when with extroverted people. Extroverted people usually just overwhelm introverted people and even when introverted people try to express themselves, their voice is usually overpowered by the extroverts in the room.

Therefore, introverts aren't unfriendly, they want to make friends and be popular too. It's just harder for them to come out of their shell when meeting new people. Once you get to know an introvert well, they probably won't stop talking to you because they are comfortable with you and will love to talk with you. The key here is to be patient with introverts and start slowly, don't give up if you don't get a lot at first. You need to keep trying and slowly they'll start to open up to you. Most of the time, people give up really quickly and just assume introverts are unfriendly and want to be alone. Sometimes that may be true especially if you see someone sitting with a book and they look very fascinated by it but usually they don't mind talking too.

I am an introvert. I was always a shy kid and I tried to make friends but usually, I only had two or three close friends in elementary, middle, and high school. I was never the popular kid and people often didn't talk much with me. I never really knew what to say to help me make friends more easily unlike some of my classmates that always knew what to say. Even when I started working at Walt Disney World, I tried to talk to my colleagues but often the conversation was very short and awkward.

When I met my spouse's friends and family for the first time, he told me they thought I was unfriendly because I didn't talk much. I told him that this was not true at all and I really wanted to have a conversation but it was difficult. I never met them before and most everyone else was controlling the conversation so there weren't many moments that I could add something or try to start a new topic. Also, it didn't help that his friends spoke Portuguese and French and I don't speak either language. This made me feel very awkward and again I just didn't know what to say. I try but what I'm trying to say just gets lost in a conversation controlled by extroverted people.

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Fake It Until You Make It

Most of the jobs I do aren't for introverts. I work as an online English teacher and I also make videos to post on Youtube. Both require an extrovert-like attitude and personality to be successful. I'm not an extrovert, I'm an introvert so that's where the phrase fake it until you make it becomes relevant. I don't like leading group classes where I have two or more students because I feel awkward. In school, I hated giving presentations in front of the entire class and that's what group classes remind me of. Also, even in one on one classes, I have to show up with a positive and leader-like attitude because sometimes students are shy and don't like to speak. As a teacher, I have to be the one willing to start all the conversations and step up to make the student feel comfortable in class. I'm usually the one in their place, I don't like to always be the one talking and I rather have someone approach me, not the other way around. However, I have to pretend like I'm not nervous or awkward and play it off as confidence.

Also, being a Youtuber requires an extroverted personality. People like to view videos of people that are sociable, relatable, and look like they have high energy. I am none of those things so I always try my best to look like I am confident and am having a great time. I am definitely enjoying my travels but not in the same way that extroverted people are. I am quieter and enjoy more relaxing activities than going to clubs or bars. I also had to learn to get over the awkwardness of feeling like I'm talking to myself when I'm filming. I know that I am talking to my viewers when I post the video but when I'm walking on the street holding up my camera and talking, sometimes people stare at me. For the first few months, I was very self-aware and felt a bit uncomfortable just talking out loud when I was in places like restaurants or cafes where people would notice me.

© 2022 Sarah Wong

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