How to Survive: Introverted Personalities

By: Honey Good

We tend to label people by their personalities. Broadly speaking there is the introvert and the extrovert. The extrovert is the person who is outgoing, friendly and the life of the party. Everyone feels they are happy go lucky souls. The introverted personality, on the other hand, is the person who is withdrawn, quiet, and possibly lonely. Is this always true? Should we label all quiet people as introverts? Are there ways to try and over come a sense of aloneness?  This is my story, my thoughts and my advice may surprise and hopefully interest you.

The Story of Jenny, my daughter.

One day, several years ago, my beautiful and talented daughter Jenny taught me a lesson. She was all of ten years old. I asked her a question as we were having a mother-daughter chat.

“Jenny, why are you so quiet? Are you all right?

Her reply, “Mom, I talk when I have something to say.”

“How profound an answer!”, I said to myself as my jaw fell and I realized what my ten year old had said. Her wisdom was that of an adult.

I turned to her and gave her a great big hug and tons of kissess; looked into her beautiful blue eyes and said smiling with a sense of awe in my voice, “Jenny, I am blown away by what you said! You speak pearls of wisdom and you are only ten years old! You are an amazing and wise child. You have taught your mother a lesson. A lesson with nine words that speak volumes.”

Arm-in-arm we continued our conversation as we walked through the park on that unforgettable fall day.

Fast forward. Jenny is married to my‘ extremely extroverted’ son –in-law and the mother of three of my twenty grandchildren. She is an artist who has appeared as a guest on the Oprah Show, where she spoke eloquently (obviously “she had something to say!”), and is now invited into classrooms to teach tolerance to middle school children through her devised art project. Her company is called Face Tolerance.

Jenny’s accomplishments dispel the notion that all introverts are lonely or withdrawn.  

I am drawn to you ‘so called introverts.’ When I watch you in a group you are the ones that make me feel peaceful because I think of you as reflective, meditative, and reserved. You seem to avoid small-talk and superficiality, like Jenny. You think before you speak. I hold you all in very high esteem.

I am aware that there can be very loud extroverts that need taming and very lonely introverts that need a little push in order to begin to interact.

If you are feeling you need a nudge to learn how to open yourself up to others and mingle more effectively here are a few of my suggestions to consider.

Join a small group where chatter is secondary! A dance class, an art class or maybe a wine tasting class that takes the edge off while you taste and sip and then converse about the wine, in a quiet setting. Or a book or movie group may be a possible venue for you to listen and learn and gradually interact with someone you find attractive.

The hardest part is what I label ‘the push off.’ You must make the effort to join! You will never know the joy you may experience until you ‘push off’ and go for it. There is no failure if you don’t enjoy yourself at the beginning. Keep with the program. I assume you are joining a themed group you will enjoy. So if you enjoy books, art, wine or dance, plunge yourself into that facet and keep your eyes open for a special person you would like to converse with or ask a question, even if you are feeling timid. I am giving you the tools now you have to...push off.

This morning I phoned Jenny, who lives with her darling family, in Arizona.

This was our conversation.

“I am definitely coming at the end of the month, Jenny.”

“Oh mom! I am so excited and am looking forward to seeing you!” My Jenny had something to say! My heart sang.

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