Most of my life, I’ve been misunderstood as shy. Those who really know me off-line know that I am anything but shy.
I can be a bit guarded, so people sometimes mistake that for being a snob. I’ve had to guard myself emotionally to survive some crazy things in my life, so it’s difficult for me to just be open with everyone about more inward aspects. Those things on the surface are easy for me to talk about with most people, but when it comes to those more sensitive aspects, I have some very thick walls.
I’m quiet and I have a soft voice. I don’t feel I need to yell what I have to say. If someone values my words, they will take the time to listen. If they don’t, then I don’t waste my time.
When I am in a crowd of people, I just don’t feel a need to compete for attention and I prefer to blend into the background to watch and listen. I find people interesting and I like to study them. I value what others have to share.
This does not mean that I am not sociable. I’m very much so, but more so in smaller groups. In smaller groups there is less of a need to compete in order to share. When I’m waiting in line, it’s not uncommon for me to start up a conversation with the person in front or in back of me. I smile at people a lot too and wave. I think that is kind of a Texas thing. People wave at strangers here.
When I first decided to begin college to get a teaching degree, many people that I knew were skeptical. They just couldn’t fathom how this soft spoken introvert could speak in front of a classroom. They were wrong; I did very well in public speaking. You see, when I need to be louder, I can. I just don’t choose to be. I would speak to the person in the back of the room and had no problem looking others in the eye around the room. I always came well prepared and maintained the interest of the classroom.
I got rave reviews from my professors in my education courses and was told that I had a gift for teaching. I maintained a 3.8, with B’s in math holding me back from a 4.0. Of course, being a single mother, college got overwhelming due to life’s challenges and the need to work more to support my family, so I dropped out my last year.
So, I guess the moral here is, don’t assume that just because someone is an introvert that they are shy with low self-esteem or some kind of snob. Many of us are quite confident, but we are just a bit more inward than many of you extroverts. We listen more than we talk and we are more guarded.