Many of the Introverts I work with tell me they’re tired of pretending to be something they’re not in an attempt to fit in. Worse than that, some realise that they are being inauthentic to the point of compromising their values.
Now we know that we are all capable (to greater or lesser degrees) of flexing our behaviour appropriately, but it’s the constant expectation to be more extraverted that is really taking its toll on Introverts.
So what are the big ‘pretends’ we’re often engaging in?
· Pretending to stay engaged in meetings and teamwork when our batteries are running out
and what we really need to do is go somewhere quiet to recharge.
· Pretending to agree with a decision because we know we won’t be given the time we need
to reflect and reach our own conclusions.
· Pretending to enjoy the chatter of friends and colleagues when our heads are already full
to bursting. We often stay in there in case we’re thought of as rude or standoffish.
· Pretending to be OK with open plan office set-ups when the people and general noise is
so distracting that we can’t focus effectively on our work
· Pretending to be alright and wearing a ‘game-face’ when we’re actually not OK!
How many of those have you employed yourself?
Introverts may also pretend in order to protect and defend our need for replenishment.
· We pretend to be out when the doorbell rings
· We pretend to be busy when invited to social events
· We screen calls and only selectively answer texts
· We accept invitations to social events knowing that we’ll decide on the day depending on
how charged our batteries are.
Recognise any of these?
We often feel guilty about these actions but either feel we can’t explain our needs to others or when we’ve tried, we’ve been judged harshly.
So, what’s the answer? In simple terms it’s to stop pretending. Our work at Flourishing Introverts enables positive Introverts to identify, own and confidently use our introversion qualities. The benefits of this guided process include real diversity and better balance in the workplace, enhanced self-esteem and self-worth for the individual plus the relief of being able to ask for what they need without fear, shame or guilt.