11/30/2011

An Introvert is an Introvert


I remember when I took the plunge into blogging six years ago. It was a dip of an introvert’s toe into the waters normally stirred by extroverts. Eventually I got more comfortable, though my readership remained minimal. Often I felt like I was just talking to myself! But for a definite introvert, that wasn’t really out of the ordinary.

At the advent of social media, I wondered if this would be the platform to pull me out of myself, to allow me to interact with others from behind my computer screen. Surely that couldn’t be as daunting as trying to make conversation in real life or in real time. I pictured myself blossoming into an online extrovert, especially when my book actually hit the shelves and I became a published author. 

But you know what I’ve discovered? An introvert is an introvert--even online. 

How do I know this? For one thing, when I attended a writing conference this fall, I observed that those who are extroverted online are the same ones that are extroverts in person. They simply know how to interact with others, no matter the format. Another way I know this is from my own social media experience. I can’t tell you how many times each day I type a sentence or two into one of those little boxes (facebook, twitter, even blog comments) and delete them. Yep. The same uncertainty, the same second guessing that happens to me in a live conversation happens online. Sigh. 

Just like in my “real” life, I have a few good friends online. I enjoy connecting with them, and with new people, too. But I’m not one that draws the attention of the masses. Online or in person, I tend to hover around the edges of the crowd, looking for a friendly face. In the end I’m simply learning (again) to be content with the way God created me--unique, and not to be compared to anyone else.

What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you different online vs. in person? 

21 comments:

Ruth said...

I think I'm a pretty consistent introvert in real life and online -- especially since I don't really blog about "personal" things. Maybe I am a tick more extroverted since I love that blogging, etc., has allowed me to meet others who share my interests?

Anne Mateer said...

I think that is why introverts tend to blog, Ruth. Not to gather a ton of friends, but so that we can find those few consistent people that we can connect with over a simliar interest. It's what I've loved about connecting with you over books and Masterpiece Theatre and movies! :)

Olivia Newport said...

You are absolutely right. An introvert is an introvert is an introvert. I'm with you.

Hebraicheart said...

I've tried blogging a few times but it hasn't stuck. Guess I'm so extroverted that if it isn't a big enough audience it isn't worth it. How is that for honesty? I've always struggled with other issues rather than the crowd or lack of it. I guess one of the reasons I cherish your friendship is because you show your heart in pieces rather than my tendency to bear it all from the beginning. In the end it is the same as any other feature. We always admire what another person has.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I get this. I know what it's like to hover and to be a toe. But I've forced myself to "get out there." It's difficult and I've been humbled more times than I can count. I have a strange dichotomous nature with this. I must teeter right in the middle.
~ Wendy

Ruth said...

Anne -- I agree, and the same goes for me too! I have really enjoyed getting to know you through our shared interests. :)

Anne Mateer said...

@Olivia--which is why I find it terribly interesting that we connected via twitter. I guess even over the internet we find those that hover at the back and around the edges, just like we do in person!

Mary, you are definitely an extrovert! And I love having extrovert friends! I'm so glad God made us each unique, but you are right, we tend to want whatever it is we don't have!

@Wendy--you most definitely do! I remember thinking how much I appreciated that you found me at ACFW this year. I tend to want to search people out, then second guess myself and figure they won't even notice if I don't. Your bubbly personality comes through loud and clear online and in person! :)

@Ruth-- :)

Julie Jarnagin said...

"I can’t tell you how many times each day I type a sentence or two into one of those little boxes (facebook, twitter, even blog comments) and delete them." Yes! Me too. I'm definitely an introvert, but I've managed to make some wonderful online friendships.

Anne Mateer said...

Julie, I'm so glad someone else shares my dirty little deleting secret! :) But like you, when I make a friend online (just like in real life), it is usually a keeper!

Robin said...

I'm totally an extrovert and I'm the same everywhere I go, but I've deleted many a comment myself. It's probably the fact that I've learned over the years that just because I have an opinion doesn't mean that the whole world is waiting to hear it! ;-)

Love your transparency, gal! It's the only way to live!

Teri said...

Anne, Loved this post and your honesty in sharing. I'm supposedly a borderline extravert, which means I can be outgoing when necessary, but doesn't mean I'm really comfortable in my so-called extravert skin.

I especially loved your comment about starting to say something on facebook or twitter and then deleting it. I can really relate to that one. I'm learning to be a little more extraverted online (like leaving comments on occasion), but as in person have not yet learned to be really comfortable with it. And when I do share something online I read over it two or three times to make sure it sounds okay before posting. Did I mention I'm also a perfectionist? :-)

Teri

en karin said...

I have to agree. I'm an introvert and find that a lot of the online "presence" advice just doesn't work for me.

Anne Mateer said...

Yes, my total extrovert BFF Robin! The one who patiently waited for me to learn to appreciate my extrovert friends instead of envying them! :)

Teri, I sometimes wonder if the whole perfectionist things plays into the whole introvert personality. It would be an interesting study, wouldn't it? But I'm so glad you didn't delete your comment today! I loved it!

en karin--it's hard when your personality doesn't fit the conventional wisdom. It guess that's where faith comes in. That and learning to step out of our comfort zones on occasion. Thanks for chiming in!

Anne Mateer said...

Ok, so does anyone else find it amusing that my post on how I'm an introvert--even online--has drawn more comments, more tweets and retweets, than anything I've ever posted???? What does that mean? LOL!

I love all my new friends that jumped in to comment today, by the way! :)

Niki Turner said...

How horrible of an introvert does it make me that I cringe at responding to blog comments?
Seriously... today at the newspaper I saw a lady I'm friends with on Facebook and Pinterest, and I wanted to hide behind the counter in case she recognized me.
Oy...

Chemdiah said...

I found your blog by clicking next blog and reading this post has made me so happy! A little over a year ago, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and scored 30 out of 30 - a perfect introvert. Since then I have learned so much about myself, and have begun to realize that I am actually pretty normal and not as messed up as I thought I was. I can completely relate to what you guys have mentioned.

I feel like I am maybe a little less of an introvert online, mainly because writing comes much more naturally to me than speaking does. I think it is because when I am writing, I have time to think about what I am saying and I don't feel as pressured to immediately respond like you have to in face to face conversation.

By the way, I noticed that many of you are perfectionists and I must admit to this as well... although I am slowly learning to let go of some things. (:

Stash2sunny said...

Anne, I love mingling with both my introvert and extrovert friends--more so in person than online. I guess I just showed my true colors. Thanks for this honest post.

Anne Mateer said...

Niki--I had to laugh at that one! Fortunately for me very few of the people I see in real life comment on my blog or facebook, so I'm good. But I'd be right there with you if that weren't the case!

Chemdiah--how fun that you found this post! Since most of these commenters as well as myself are writers, we completely understand what you mean about it being easier to write a response than say it. Come on back again soon!

Stash2sunny--yes, my guess is that you are definitely a people person! I need people like you to draw me into those "real" situations, so I'm glad God gave us all unique personalities. :)

vvdenman.com said...

I've always considered myself to be an introvert, but writing and blogging has shown me I'm not as introverted as I once thought. (Though I am FAR from being an extrovert) I think my problem in real life is that I don't talk often, and when I do say something, I usually put my foot in my mouth . . . which causes me to say even less. Writing and blogging (and all their editing options) having given me an avenue to say what I mean. I chuckled when I read about you deleting your online comments. I do that too, but more often, I edit them for ten minutes to be sure I've got it right. Ugh!

Regina Jennings said...

I once heard that an extrovert is energized by being around people - and introvert is energized by having time alone. If so, I'm an introvert, but once recharged I'm happy to head back to the party. I'm not sure how that applies to blogging. I do like that I can be outgoing online and then shut the laptop and have some down time.

Anne, you are precious. I really appreciate that you were willing to meet with me and spend that time with a complete stranger.

Great topic.

Anne Mateer said...

VV--the ones I leave I edit like crazy, too! And yes, I don't tend to talk much in a crowd, either, because I fear saying something stupid!

You are so sweet, Regina! I always do much better one on one, which is why it was so fun to meet with you and have lunch! I hope we can do it again sometime! :)