I’m not a Bitch, I’m an Introvert

 I get called a bitch a lot.  Not on a daily basis or anything, but more than other women I know, for sure.  It hurts my feelings terribly, even at my age.  Since I’ve been an adult, my standard reaction has been “If I’m a Bitch then so be it. This is pretty much all I’ve got.” 

Some of those “Bitches” were slung by some pretty cool people, so I tend to assume at least a grain of truth. 

If there is a trend, I can only say that this painful name calling happens when I make someone uncomfortable by keeping quiet for too long.  When I do speak after pregnant pauses in conversation, my offering is not at all what others expected.  It seems that while I’m thinking, the average Extrovert keeps the conversation going in their head, talking for me.  So when I say what I want to say, it can come as a shock.  And then, I’m a Bitch.

 The other day, someone asked me, “Would you rather be an ER doctor, or in a Family Practice?”  I answered, “Family Practice.  I’m all about saving lives in cases of emergency, but I just don’t have the nerves for it.  If people came to me hurt, I’d probably start crying, and figuring out who to call…”

And there you have it, a moment full of Bitch possibilities.  My peers expect me to leap into informed action, and provide solutions on the spot, and I start

Thinking.

Things.

Over.

Thoroughly.

 

 I was reading a book called The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extroverted World recently, and saw myself catalogued in great detail.  Given that only one in four people have introverted temperaments, we find ourselves feeling like a fish out of water more than the general population.  And if being an introvert isn’t rare enough, American Introverts find ourselves living in an Extroverted American culture, with a bunch of Extroverts, which leaves us out of a lot of things. 

 

Even the American dictionary definition says this;

Introverted-Marked by interest in or preoccupation with oneself or one’s own thoughts as opposed to others or the environment; shy or reserved”

Extroverted –Marked by interest in and behavior directed toward others or the environment as opposed to or to the exclusion of self; gregarious or outgoing

Ouch.  We are not less concerned with others than extroverts; we just don’t want to tell everybody about it. Due to the nature of our culture, Introverts are considered ‘shy or reserved’ for living our lives in private.  And unfortunately, that means we’ll be called a Bitch more than those who do everything aloud. Somehow, that out loud processing of new information counts as honest and friendly in America. The rest of us are just shy which is, somehow, a character flaw. So, I want to tell you tell you a couple of things, in case you’re an introvert, or love one.

Introverts

  • Like quiet for concentration
  • Care about their work and workplace
  • May know more than they reveal
  • May seem quiet and unapproachable
  • Need to be asked for their opinions, won’t simply supply them
  • Like to work on long, complex problems, and have good attention to detail
  • Need to understand exactly why they are doing something
  • Dislike intrusions and interruptions
  • Need to think and reflect before speaking and acting
  • Work alone contentedly
  • Prefer to stay in office or cubicle rather than socialize
  • Do not like to draw attention to themselves
  •  May have trouble remembering names and faces    

–          The Introvert Advantage; How To Thrive in An Extroverted World, Dr. Marti Laney

These qualities have nothing to do with the external world; they are an inborn temperament, like brown eyes, or curly hair.  I don’t think that we introverts ought to be blamed for being what we are, even if it is not popular, or common.  I’ve tried to create the habit of extroverting, and sometimes must rely on the extroverted side of myself to complete work that is important to me.  Believe me, doing the extroversion thing for extended periods of time can be exhausting. It’s like walking around on stilts; I can get places, but it ain’t easy.  After long days of talking and teaching, I sometimes go sit quietly and look out of a window.  Regenerating, like a starfish growing itself a new limb after being cut in two by a slew of words.

 

There’s good news about introversion, too; 

  • Introverts have astonishing abilities when it comes to focus when we’ve zeroed in on a topic
  • Introverts are handy to have on hand when you’re in need of innovation
  • Introverts like to know a topic deeply before jumping into matters.  Not the best at chit chat, but if you want to talk about something that the introvert knows well, you’ll get an earful.
  • Introverts are great listeners, as one of the ways we gather data from the world is by listening

    See that bird out there on the end of the pier? He’s not giving you the silent treatment- He’s thinking.

“I’m not a bitch, I’m an introvert.”

There’s my snappy response for every time someone refers to me as aloof, or worse.  I’ll be over here, practicing my line, if you need me.

 “I’m not a bitch, I’m an introvert.”

“I’m not a bitch, I’m an introvert.”

Thanks, amen.

Download your self assessment, and learn about your own temperament here.

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About thanks amen

Michelle is a writer and consultant who left the executive suite to strike a balance between Art and Life. She has a fear of clowns and pecans, and works every day to listen at least twice as much as she talks.
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2 Responses to I’m not a Bitch, I’m an Introvert

  1. Eunice Lockhart-Moss says:

    Keep writing. I like what comes from you following your quiet contemplation! I am sure this essay is helpful to many, including me. Just know, everyone does not have to understand you for you to be understood. Some of us get you and you are wonderful just as you are.

  2. Theodoris says:

    Michelle, I can definitely relate to this one!

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