Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The introvert's guide to social life

I have to admit, I don't have such a guide yet.

It took me a long time to even consider that being introverted might not be a weakness or a flaw.  But as the season of weddings, parties and other social events unveils, being an introvert (as much as it's only a label) is not easy. 

Only last weekend I found myself at a party in a room where everyone seemed to be engaged in a conversation but me and I wished I could  just vanish. 

There is a lot of wisdom out there, from Susan Cain's inviting to accept and value our nature, Ivan Misner teaching that networking can be natural and fun, Philip Zimbardo showing practical exercises taming shyness. And in moments of social awkwardness I try to remember them. 

But then... 

 I walk into a room full of small groups speaking to each other.

When I  try to cut in with my carefully thought out question after a lecture somebody always starts speaking first.

My two neighbors at the table are speaking to their neighbors and I am staring at my plate... 

I become   the neglected one, the one not having voice, the invisible one, the unsociable one. The victim.

I start to  blame. Myself. The other people in the room. 

My first question in the guide would be: how do you regain your power, your space, your stand as the quiet one?