I’m sure this is nothing new for most people, but I had an experience the other day that was completely mind-blowing and gave me a bit of a social development lesson.
For a little background, anybody who knows me even a little bit knows I’m not one to talk much, and those who know me a little better know that I’m never exactly the life of the few parties I attend. This is not uncommon for introverts like me, but I find it particularly hard to initiate conversations and usually only contribute to existing ones if I really have something to say. Among other problems, this has led to some uncomfortable situations on my part when I’m with large groups of people, where I’m not entirely sure how to fit myself into a group’s conversation.
Friday afternoon was one of those times. I was at a little going away party for a co-worker, who is leaving the company I work at for another job. Everything started out pretty well. Though I didn’t have much to contribute to any particular conversation, I was at least part of a group. By the time I finished my cake, everyone has gathered into the several little circles you often see at a party. I briefly left to throw away my plate, but when I came back there was no circle with a big enough gap to fit me.
I was a little worried, as this has happened to me many times before. It’s something that usually leaves me sort of awkwardly standing there, alone, and I hate that. Not sure what to do, I decided to stand a bit outside one group, in hopes of at least catching a glimpse of what they were discussing. I forget exactly what it was that prompted me to speak, but I finally had something to say, so I did. The co-worker came over to address me, and lo-and-behold, I was suddenly part of the circle. I was kind of astonished at the turn of events.
So, to all introverts out there. You know how all the literature describes us as good listeners? Well, put that skill to good use and jump in at the first available opportunity. You’ll be rewarded for it.