Confessions of a Recovering Introvert

August 25th, 2012

I like to playfully refer to myself as a recovering introvert. I grew up as a nerd with few friends and fewer social outlets. Bookish, studious, and eccentric, I never took the time to become well-versed in the art of human interaction. Who knew that social etiquette would one day be required to carry on a professional persona?

Since joining the workforce (and—more recently—becoming a business owner), I have had to teach myself the sacred practice of professional communication. It comes neither naturally nor easily, but I somehow manage. The secret is that I don’t try too hard.

I don’t go out of my way to hide the fact that nerdy comes naturally to me. While I’m not a stereotypical basement-dweller, I’m certainly not a smooth-talker. I have a habit of coming across as strange, dorky, and even awkward. I’m not sure I’d want to know what I’ve been called without my knowledge… but that’s okay. Because I’m pretty confident that people would find it difficult to describe me as “forgettable,” “average,” or “boring.”

Many clients, partners, and friends have expressed an appreciation and fondness for my eccentricities. In the tech field (and beyond), strangeness has become more accepted. People don’t want to work with Average Joes, they want to do business with someone unique who has the ability to bring creativity, compassion, excitement, and inspiration into the room (even if that means putting up with a few uncomfortable lulls or odd segues in conversation). If your professional identity drains you of all personality and uniqueness, you’re selling yourself short.

To my fellow introverts: keep being weird. Be confident that your unique qualities are what set you apart, and use that to your advantage to make a lasting, positive impression on those around you.

4 Responses to “Confessions of a Recovering Introvert”

  1. Geo says:

    I don’t think you realize how much cool cred nerdy girls have these days. You’re at the top of the social pyramid! I am totally jealous. (shakes head)

    • carol says:

      Fair enough, but that somewhat proves my point. Suddenly the nerds (both female and male, mind you) are being lauded as the ideal. Intellectualism and quirkiness are becoming mainstream as more and more of the most respected leaders in technology are revealed to have started out with humble, geeky beginnings. Power to the dorks!

  2. Ben says:

    If you become normal we’ll have to reevaluate our business partnership.

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