Today, I spent the day with the Board of Directors of one of the NAMI affiliates which I support. I was asked to work with them on board development and to provide some insights from my perspective as the affiliate coordinator. A few days ago, I had a phone conversation with the Board President and shared my ideas of how I wanted to facilitate the meeting. She liked my ideas and everything was good to go. I did very little to prepare for the meeting and I never felt nervousness or anxiety about it.
I have facilitated meetings like this before so this was nothing new to me. During my career, I have often been in the role of facilitator, teacher, trainer, consultant, subject matter expert, and presenter. At one point early in my career, I was training customers who likely knew more about the subject than I did. Yet, even in that situation, I was comfortable at the front of the room. I enjoy public speaking, especially when I have the freedom to improvise.
I consider myself an introvert. I am the person at a party who sits on the floor to make friends with the dog. I’m the person who appears to be involved in conversation with a small group of people by nodding my head and saying something clever every now and then. I’m the person who wonders when we can leave and then feels relief when we do. So why am I comfortable in front of a group of people? Is it an ego thing? Do I feel smarter, superior, or in control? Do I like the attention? Perhaps I am an extroverted introvert.
I’ve never heard of that term so I Googled it. I found an article called “6 Signs that You’re and Extroverted Introvert”. This sounds a lot like me. Can you relate? The six points come from the article. The comments are mine.
1. You need alone time before and after socializing.
For me, time before socializing is important. I don’t like to be busy before going out. I would prefer to relax.
2. You are very selective with your social calendar.
I don’t like having a busy weekend planned. I find it stressful. I would prefer having me time, even if I am doing nothing. When my wife makes plans for us to go out socially, I accept it but I don’t jump for joy.
3. You make new friendships easily, but have trouble maintaining them.
I feel like I have many acquaintances but not very many close friends. I have very few “old” friends.
4. You want true connection. Small talk makes you sick.
Small talk makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like talking about the weather, the price of gasoline, or even sports. I would prefer talking about family, feelings, things that are worth sharing.
5. You are quiet in a crowd.
Not only am I quiet in a crowd, I often feel like nobody even hears me when I try to speak. Perhaps I am soft-spoken and can’t be heard. When I get interrupted, I decide it’s not worth trying anymore. I feel like Mr. Cellophane. People look right through me, walk right by me.
6. You always have an escape plan.
If I am alone, escaping is easy. I just leave. When I am not alone, I can’t just leave. But when it is time to leave, I don’t even always say goodbye to the hosts. I know it’s polite to do so but I would rather just leave and not have to come up with something to say, or decide if I should hug somebody.
So am I an introvert, an extrovert, of perhaps an ambivert? I don’t know. But it is confusing.