March 18, 2015

Confessions of an Extroverted Introvert

There is this thing about me that most people never believe right away….I am an introvert.

And the reason they don’t get that usually, the reason they find it so hard to believe, is that I do have this good streak of a temporary extrovert running right through me. See I have moments of turning it on. Glimpses of social butterfly syndrome. Fleeting scenes of working the room. I am occasionally witty, sporadically entertaining, and just a little bit charming every now and then. :)

But believe me, it never lasts.

See it’s not this thing that I can necessarily put on intentionally. Or a switch that I can always flip. It’s not like I’m Beyonce (how fun it would be to be Beyonce, btw?) and this is my Sasha Fierce. It’s not my alter ego or a mask I wear to the world. It’s never me pretending to be somebody I’m not. It’s just that sometimes….I have a little more bubbly in me than other times (bubbly like the personality, not the champagne. Although that definitely helps too :)

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 2.56.37 PM

But even in my most on fire, life of the party moments….I still always come crashing down when it’s over. I have to retreat to the quiet corners of my life and recharge like a tank that’s running on empty. I thrive on the quiet moments. I find my energy in the stillness. And I would trade a thousand cocktail conversations for one deep, meaningful one that fuels my heart.

And the real truth is….I like being an introvert. I think for far too long introverts have gotten a bad rap. We’ve been told over and over again that we have to change all these pieces about who we are in order to be successful. And I just don’t think it’s true. After all, introverts are thoughtful. And we spend time thinking about why we do what we do. Introverts listen more than we seek to be heard. And we prove over & over again that usually it’s the quieter voice that people lean in to. Introverts dig deeper. We want to know the story below the surface. And we believe that each story is worth really hearing. Most people listen in order to respond. Introverts listen because we really care what you have to say.

So there you go. Introverts of the world UNITE! :) And if you aren’t an introvert, here are some things you probably need to know in order to take care of the introverts in your life:

*We’ll go to the party. We may even give you a good hour or two of talking to people. But when that crash starts coming, this is not a drill! You better get us out of there FAST…and home to a nice quiet room. No need to talk on the way there! :)

*Definitely don’t call us on the phone. The phone is our kryptonite. All of my introvert friends agree, we’ve been known to screen calls even from friends. Instead send us an email…or come tell it to us in person. Preferably with wine and long, meaningful conversations where we talk about things that matter.

*Don’t tell us we’re being quiet. We already know. That will just make us even more quiet.

* We’re quiet, not stuck up! :) I don’t think there’s an introvert in the world out there who hasn’t at one point or another been confused as just being too good to talk to somebody. This is especially tough for the extroverted introvert, where people are used to seeing you be more outgoing. If you see us being quiet, just assume that we’re tired, hungry, or have simply used up our word count for the day.

*When you’re talking to us try to keep it to the length of a match burning down and then give us a break to ponder & respond to what you’ve just said. People who talk and talk and talk without taking a breath have the same result on us as what happens when Rogue from X-Men touches someone without her gloves….it sucks the life right out of us! Unplug for a little while, let us recover!

*Loud is our enemy. Loud people, loud rooms. You want to make an introvert shut down faster than ever? Put them in a loud situation and make them shout over people to be heard. We would much rather whisper over a cozy cup of coffee.

*Our couch is the new hot spot in town that we want to go check out. Join us there won’t you.

*Introverts make awesome friends. We’re not looking over your shoulder to see the next person we should be talking to. And we don’t collect friends like other people collect baseball cards. If you are lucky enough to win over an introvert, you will have a friend for life! :)

So go hug an introvert today! M:)

 

  1. Deborah Zoe

    It’s like you see inside my soouulll!;):) So true on ALL accounts, especially the crash. haha:)

  2. admin

    @Deb Right? That crash is NO joke!!

  3. Bekah

    Mary,

    This article is so on point! I just connected to it so much. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. I’ve often thought that to be a photographer, or creative in this industry you’re not allowed to be introverted, and it’s been a big fear of mine! Thanks so much for speaking out about it and for being a great example of someone who cares deeply about people’s stories, it so shines through.

  4. Valerie Lazzari

    OMG the CRASH! Yes, You nailed it, Mary. This is totally my life!

  5. admin

    @Bekah that is such a HUGE part of why I finally wrote this! I was scared to hit publish honestly….but i’m just so tired of introverts feeling or being told that they have to be more to be great photographers. The truth is, what we bring to the table makes us naturally GREAT storytellers…because we see people more than we want to be seen!

  6. admin

    @Valerie Right?? It’s a real thing!!

  7. nadine

    Thank you Mary for that post…Its always nice to know that you are not the only one out there… :)

  8. admin

    @Nadine definitely not the only one!!

  9. Erin

    AHH!! Yes!!! You took the words right out of my mouth – well, actually… right out of my quiet heart and mind! This is so spot on.

  10. Sarah Bradshaw

    Ohhhhhhhh, this is me. My friends tease me that I’m a “well-adjusted introvert,” and I’ve had people say they found me unapproachable before getting to know me… which makes me a little sad. I’m a ball of mushy emotions on the inside, it just takes a quiet moment to find it. :)

    And honestly, I think that’s one reason that the post-wedding hangover is so intense— it’s not just the physical exertion, but the amount of mental and emotional energy required to extrovert myself for an entire day. I taught my first 2-day workshop this past weekend, and I’ve never felt such deep exhaustion before in my LIFE as I felt Saturday night after it wrapped up. Today is the first day I feel half like myself again!!

    All that to say, you’re not alone. Maybe that’s why your words resonate so deeply with my own soul— they come from a similar place.

  11. admin

    @Erin LOL! Love that!!

  12. admin

    @Sarah Bradshaw oh TOTALLY!!! The post workshop struggle is REAL!! I feel you on that!

  13. Cinnamon Wolfe Photography

    Yes yes yes, 100 times yes. I had a suspicion about you….I find that as an introvert I can spot other introverts in a crowded room. Thank you for talking about this, I think it is so important!! Have you read the book Quiet? It presented truths to me that I have always known just never verbalized. Its very on point with what you mention. Thank you Mary for your words and kindness. Can’t wait for that cozy conversation!

  14. admin

    @Cinnamom oh totally! Us introverts can always spot another one! Cozy conversations for the win!

  15. Alicia Sturdy

    THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND! I AM THAT LOUD PERSON (who types in capitol letters!!) that needs introverts like you in my life!!!

  16. Julie Story

    Mary! I can so relate to all of this!! When I tell people I am an introvert they don’t believe me…. HAH!

  17. René Tate

    Preach it, sister! Loud IS my enemy! Everything… so true of me too.

  18. Shalese

    This post is perfection. Sometimes I start to feel down on myself because I am an introvert and get my strength and relaxation from some quiet alone time. It can kind of make you feel like a loner when other people around you are out and about! It’s nice to see people uniting who are just like me!

  19. Scarlett Lillian

    Couldn’t agree more about every single point!!!!

  20. Morgan Trinker

    I love this, Mary! Thank you so much for sharing! Whenever I’m hanging out with industry friends or at events, people don’t believe that I’m an introvert. It’s taken a lot of years to figure out how to balance valuing relationships and connecting with others with my often intense desire to just hide in my house instead. And the wedding hangovers are most definitely intense! But I agree that in a lot of ways, introversion is a gift that helps us to be better listeners, better seers, better storytellers. As long as we don’t have to socialize or do anything the next day. ;)

  21. Jen Bacchiocchi

    Yes, yes, yes! I can so relate! At a wedding I have no problem, but put me in the middle of a big party or industry event…yikes!! I would so rather speak with someone one on one that make “cocktail conversation”. That moment before entering a big event makes me feel like I’m in high school all over again. Thank you for writing this, Mary! I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!

  22. Jenna

    Hear hear! Cannot count how many darn times I’ve heard ‘gosh, you’re quiet.’ Thank you, Captain Obvious, you get a gold star. Conversation is about give and take, and saying ‘you’re quiet’ is a one-way street.

  23. Sarah H.

    YES!!!
    this is so so true! Gosh I wish my husband understood this…hahahaha

  24. amy soper

    Thank you thank you thank you. — Definitely don’t call us on the phone. The phone is our kryptonite.– EXACTLY.

  25. Stephanie

    Yep yep and… yep. Being an introvert is the MAJOR reason I struggle at conferences and conventions like WPPI. It’s difficult to meet people when they think your quietness is equivalent to “I’m too good to talk to you,” and it seems like all of the activities are aimed at extroverts. I mean. I can only go to a party and smile for so long before frantically running away desperately seeking one-on-one conversations away from all of the noise.
    Anyway, thank you so much for writing about this! It’s encouraging to read the comments and know that there are lots of introverts out there, and it’s OKAY. It’s the way God made us, and we each have our own unique strengths. We listen. We think deeply. And when we speak, it’s with few words but great meaning.
    Isn’t it such a beautiful thing that the world needs people like that?

  26. Nicole

    Ah this is so great! I have wondered if I can actually make it in photography, dealing with clients and other photographers who just naturally have that “spunk” that I just can’t fake! I feel like artists many of us are introverts, and so much of our creativity and inspiration comes from moments of solitude or one-on-one meaningful conversations like you mentioned. SO much of this post resonated with me- thank you for sharing!!

    (oh and I have definitely gotten the “I thought you didn’t like me at first, because you were quiet” comment from people who are now friends!!)

  27. Anouschka

    Yessssss, this is so me! Thank you for this Mary! X

  28. Nadia

    Did you know that extroverted introverts make up only a tiny percentage of the worlds population? We are a rare thing! :)
    Thank you for this cool post! This is me! So funny that most people do not believe me either when I say I am an introvert :D

  29. Jennifer

    I just live everything about this post! so true. Here is a big hug to you both {}.

  30. Jennifer

    i just love everything about this post – live being on the team of extroverted introverts too. And here is a big big hug {}

  31. phoebe

    this is so true! i love this post! thanks so much for sharing :-)

  32. Lydia

    Yes! I believe many people think shy = introvert. And while I’m admittedly both, I’m working on loving others to the point where I’m focused on them instead of what they might think about me. Which in turn makes some of my friends think I’m actually an extrovert, lol. Cheers to deep conversations and quiet nights in!

  33. Rici

    Spot on Mary! Especially on emotions & states which are so hard to describe! I often feel like I am super shy & quiet & others think I am an extrovert. (especially because I laugh loud) I have literally trained myself to be more outgoing. To be able to start a conversation, make compliments and and talk more. Thank you so very much for voicing your inner thoughts & putting words to something which is hard to put words to! Hugs to you!!

  34. tiffany bolk

    Tell it like it is girl! So well put! I so wish I could drink a glass of wine with you! I mean, we could each have our own of course, I didn’t mean we should share a glass…

  35. Leah

    You nailed “us” perfectly. Thank you, thank you, thank you :D

  36. Lana

    thank you so much for this post: I thought you were talking about me, so true especially the part about the phone…! …how do you deal with it cause it’s still a pain for me, I know I have to talk to clients on the phone?

  37. Alisha Bacon

    Oh my goodness! So true! It’s like you read my mind on some things.

  38. Nicole Salter

    I’ll second Deborah, you just saw inside my soul too. This is me as well, girl. Forever and always.

  39. Getting Real, Rising Tide Society + Tuesdays Together | Dana Cubbage Weddings | Charleston SC Wedding Photography

    […] an introvert!  I’m naturally quiet and I enjoy listening more than talking.  Check out this fantastic post by Mary Marantz – it’s spot […]

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