Earlier this week I’ve been told by someone something I’ve heard almost my entire life: “Open up more, you are so introverted”. Usually, I don’t think too much about this phrase, but this time it annoyed me and since I’m better at expressing myself with the written word rather than the spoken word, I’ve decided to share it on my blog as to why it annoyed me so much.
Before I move on, just let me tell you that I’m well aware of the fact that I’m a hard nut to crack. I know that it is very difficult to get to know me in person. I’m also aware that if I’d be more open, I’d had it easier to meet new people. I’m not an introvert since yesterday. I live with the consequences that are part of being an introvert all my life. For the most part, I’m happy and content with being an introvert.
However, what really annoys me is whenever people accuse me of being mean, claim that I’m unwilling to open up, and even call me a bitch. While none of these three things were mentioned in the conversation earlier this week directly, a few hints here and there made me feel as if I’ve been a mean bitch that just doesn’t wants to be sociable.
When I was younger, I was actually shy and was too afraid to talk to strangers. Nowadays, I’m no longer shy, but I still don’t talk to strangers. For some this might sound like a paradox. If I’m no longer too shy to talk to people, then why am I not talking to them? The simple truth is that I just don’t feel like talking just for the sake of talking. If I genuinely want to get to know a person, I will talk to that person. Same applies to dating. If I’m interested in a guy, I have no problem to do the first step and approach him. I did it before and I’d do it again.
However, what I don’t like is small talk. Sure small talk can be a great ice-breaker to start a conversation and if genuine interest lies behind that small talk, I’m willing to play the ‘small talk game’. But again, I see no point in interaction just for the sake of interaction. Many other introverts will get me when I say that too much interaction in a day exhausts me. Rather than engaging in random and meaningless small talk with strangers, I like to safe my energy for those people, strangers and friends alike, and have genuine conversations. I know that while many will totally get me, others will still think I’m just being rude.
In addition to being an introvert, I’m also a case of ‘resting bitch face’. You have no idea how many times people told me that my eyes can be intimidating or that I have a grumpy facial expression even though I was feeling great at that time. While I totally get how people are less inclined to talk to someone who looks grumpy, this is still the way my face is naturally, ok? There is not much I can do about it.
As said before, I know I’m a tough nut to crack and I admire everyone who is not discouraged by all this and still wants to get to know me. But why was this conversation earlier this week annoying me so much? Because it gets tiresome to defend and explain yourself all the time. During that conversation earlier this week, the conversation topics with the above mentioned person were mostly gossip revolving around issues of ‘who slept with whom’. Sorry, in that case I do have to be a bitch by refusing to engage in these type of ‘conversations’. Yet, I’m the one in need of “constructive criticism” by trying to be more open. Uhm, no thank you very much.
Sure this is an extreme case, but I’ve experienced it often that it is more frowned upon to stay quiet rather than to gossip or complain about every mundane thing. Occasionally, I was even accused of not being feminist enough because I don’t complain about certain things. Just a brief reminder, before anyone goes on a rant: the act of complaining about how ‘all men are pigs’ and similar incorrect generalizations are not feminism. The desire to want equality between men and women, and actively working towards this quality, is feminism.
I know this post is all over the place and I’m not sure if there is a “moral of the story”. I guess you can say that 9 out of 10 times, I’m not being mean or a bitch because it takes me so long to warm up with people. Also don’t worry, in the rare case where I actually don’t like you or the conversation you’re trying to have, you’ll notice.
This was just something on my mind the entire week and I just hope it’ll make some people understand me and other introverts better.