I was stopped in my tracks this morning by something Dawn French said. I was listening to her talking with Chris Evans on Radio 2 and I always enjoy her sense of fun and naughtiness. So what did she say that stopped me in my tracks? She said “I’m a functioning Introvert”. What a brilliant description!
We’re probably more used to hearing about functioning alcoholics, those drinkers who on the surface appear to have their life in order, to the point that some people don’t even realise they are an alcoholic. Given Dawn’s genius definition, I suggest that a functioning Introvert is one who has developed a range of behaviours and coping strategies, so they work and socialise effectively. And I’d hypothesise that only those close to them even realise they are an Introvert.
But I don’t need to tell you fellow introvert, there will be a price to this if it is done out of a sense of ‘ought to’ rather than ‘want to’. If it’s being done to fit in or from fear of being ostracised.
Remember, Introversion is a preference, albeit a strong preference for some. But we can all flex our behaviour to be more open, more social, more engaging, more dynamic and more connected if we choose. Not all of these are easy or comfortable though and it they take a lot of effort we’ll sometimes be a bit clumsy or awkward in our flexing. In order to be a Flourishing Introvert, it is a choice we make moment by moment; to flex or not to flex.
Let me be clear, functioning introverts don’t need fixing or an ‘intervention’, but I’d recommend that they take good care of their own needs so that they replenish sufficiently well to be able to function as they choose.
So, thank you Dawn. Thank you for bringing this to my attention this morning even if it diverted my focus from my work at hand.