Many of the Introverts I work with tell me they’re tired of pretending to be something they’re not just so they can fit in. Worse than that, some realise that they are being inauthentic and compromising their values.
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.
What are the big ‘pretends’ I notice?
· Pretending to stay engaged in meetings and teamwork. When our mental, social and emotional batteries are running low, 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 because we’ve been accused of being rude or standoffish in the past.
· Pretending to be OK with open plan office set-ups. When the people and general noise is so distracting, we find it difficult focus effectively on our work.
· Pretending to be ‘fine’ 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. Some introverts
· pretend to be out when the doorbell rings
· pretend to be busy when invited to social events
· screen calls and only selectively answer texts
· accept invitations to social events knowing that they’re unlikely to attend or that they’ll decide on the day depending on how charged their batteries are
Recognise any of these? You may even feel guilty about these actions, but either feel you can’t explain your needs to others or when you’ve tried, you’ve been judged harshly.
So, what’s the answer?
In simple terms it’s to stop pretending. Through Flourishing Introverts, I enable positive Introverts to identify, own and confidently use their qualities and strengths authentically. The benefits of doing this are huge including better balance in the workplace, enhanced self-esteem and self-worth and being able to ask for what they need without fear, shame or guilt.