Friday night, 7:58 PM.
The dimly lit computer screen casts a shadow on Melvin’s face. His arm extended, he scrolls through his news feed in search of something important to read.
The clock strikes 8 PM and bellows a patient reminder that it’s time to head to his friends get-together.
But anxiety has set in and Melvin searches for an avenue to renege on his invitation acceptance.
It’s too late to send that “Sorry, I can’t make it…” text to his friend. Yesterday was the day to do that, but that was when he was bubbling with confidence.
Could this be due to being an introvert? After all, introverts prefer to not be around people, right?
But how much does that have to do with being an introvert? Sure, introverts prefer alone time compared to an extrovert — but does that mean introverts carry the burden of social anxiety?
People can delight introverts.
In a world where social prowess beckons praise, it’s no wonder that extroverts hold the upper hand in most social scenarios.
But these abilities do not exclude introverts. There are introverts who excel at social interaction. For some, feeling excited around people is not an issue and communication is a breeze.
In contrast, a socially anxious person would find people interaction difficult. This leads to building anxiety within an already inexperienced person.
An introvert is someone who prefers a certain amount of people interaction. The caveat being that a larger segment of time is reserved for recharging alone.
On the other hand, an extrovert exclusively prefers spending time with other people. It gives them energy and life to be in a group.
Yet, it doesn’t mean they have the gift of gab with people. I’ve met some socially clueless extroverts. But it’s not all too common to witness a socially awkward extrovert.
It’s all on a spectrum
Introvert, ambivert and extrovert are categories we use to help describe ourselves.
In reality, it’s all on a spectrum. Many of us lean one way or another, but not to extremes of being exclusively labeled.
If you feel pigeon-holed into one label or the other, fear not! There are plenty of ways to improve your listening and interaction skills.
The main way of doing that: Risk. Going out more, talking to a wide array of different people, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Taking risks like starting a blog or committing to that course on a subject you've been wanting to learn.