How can this introvert show an accurate picture of who she is?

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Dear IntrovertZone,

I am a loud and proud introvert (pun completely intended). I need a break when I’m around people for too long, I don’t always know what to say to other people and long for alone time whenever I can get it. But people tend to get me all wrong. They assume I’m shy, un-confident and a goodie-goodie who does no wrong. All of which couldn’t be further from the truth. For the most part, my image problem is a small annoyance in my otherwise full and enjoyable life.

I’m going to be starting a new job and I would love it if my new co-workers didn’t have this image of me but am scared that they will. Does anyone have any tips on how to stop this before it starts? How can I handle people who see me all wrong? What should I say when I get the enviable “You’re quiet” comments come? Or when I don’t get invited to drinks after work because they assume I’m too much of a goodie-goodie to even want a beer? I’m ok if people don’t like me. I just wish they wouldn’t like the real me, instead of an untrue image of me.

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19 Comments

  1. The problem, as I see it, is that people are only seeing a small snap-shot of your overall personality. I guess the longer you know someone the more likely they will know your entire personality and can appreciate or dislike it. A solution would be to tell people about yourself and your past. Your co-workers will likely be inquisitive about your interests and your past experiences, being the new employee. I would take this as an opportunity to show your confident and fun side, but obviously with some emphasis on needing space too. I guess my point is people only see what we want them to see, we can’t assume they’ll know every aspect of us if we only show the quiet and reserved side.

    Pete

  2. I am the same way and I have always struggled with co-workers because of it. I am a private person anyway, so I don’t like to “gab” about myself to others, but that’s how co-workers usually get to know each other. I wish I had an answer for you. My experience has always been that if I’m in a job long enough, my co-workers figure out it’s just how I am and they get over their need to know everything about me in order to like me. People are just nosy/curious and I found that once I did start sharing little things, they are content with that.

  3. Yeah, this was one of my BIGGEST problems socially. Funny ’cause I learned how to talk to people regularly but still felt like no one really knew me.

    What I found is you have to get across details about your personality by telling people. There’s just no other way as effective. So what I started doing is dropping hints here and there. For example, sounds like you enjoy the occasional drink. So maybe one Monday you come in and ask people about their weekend. After they tell you about theirs, talk about yours. Joke about how you were a little hung over on Sunday since you had a few drinks with friends on Saturday. (it’d be better if this is true, but if not it’ll still work).

    This is just one example, but dropping little tidbits about your life here and there IS a major way people get a feel for the REAL you. Sometimes when it’s a subject we think others will perceive negatively, we hold back. But in most cases sharing our fears, shortcoming and limitations is what truly bonds us with others.
    Dean@Conversation Skills Core´s last post ..Connect with New Friends Easily by Finding Your Magic Glove

    • Dean, I think you have hit a major introvert problem on the head! You give good, sound advice, and I will try it. People (including close friends and boyfriends) love to say to me, “I know you, you’re like this.” and what they say is almost always the opposite of how or who I really am. The introvert with the above-described problem will benefit from your words.

      • Yogisusan,

        Thanks & I hope it helps. It’s a horrible feeling when everyone (even those closest to you) know and love you for a different version of yourself than you feel you are. I guess only people in that situation really know what I’m talking about.

        In any case, this “topic” has popped into my life several times over the past 2 weeks, so I decided to write a full post about it.

  4. It would be great to be yourself because if they will accept you for who you are then it would be perfect than like you for you are not. But be very careful and feel the characters first of your co-employees and adjust to their behavior.

  5. You can do this! Everything is about stepping out and making it happen. When I first started working on the internet and sharing about total wellness with people I was so nervous. Practice makes perfect really does ring true.

  6. It’s possible to change your image, but according to your requirement. You have rights to ignore negative feedback, which affects your image. I suggest at workplace people must be make a happy image between other colleagues.

  7. I think most people have this problem, not just the introverts. Our image of ourselves is in my opinion always a little distorted.

    But true, introverts are not as able to express their personality accurately as extroverts are and for this reason people might think they have no personality. It’s a shame, but that’s how it is in this extrovert world.

    My solution? People closest to me know me well, for the rest of the world – I don’t care anymore.
    Edward@Overcoming Panic Attacks´s last post ..What Parents Need to Know About Treating Childhood Anxiety

  8. Hey! I also had this problem and still do, but it’s far less. I totally agree with Dean. The thing is, when I was younger I was always searching myself in other people i.e. I thought I am as they see me, but it frustrated me because I felt much different. Then I read about emotional intelligence and realized that other people don’t have a clue about me, only I know who I really am. So, little by little I started to show my true character, I started to dress to express my character and started to talking more about me and my likes and dislikes. People still kind of push their own view of me, but I’m also pushing my own 🙂 I’m more sure about who I am, but I must admit I would like to meet someone who would accept me for who I am, and not try to tell me who I am.

  9. First off, don’t immediately assume your new co-workers are going to view you in an “unfavorable” light. If you assume things are going to be uncomfortable right off the bat, you are starting off with one foot in a hole. Try to go into the job with the expectation that people will like you for who you are! I understand this is easier said than done. I have experienced the same thing. I’m just saying try not to be so self-defeating. Just be friendly, be yourself, and if you do get questions or comments like “you’re quiet”, just say, “yes but I’m loads of fun once you get to know me”. Don’t let their expectations (real or perceived) make you feel you have to BE a certain way. Keep them guessing! If they don’t understand, it’s their problem.

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