A Permission Slip For Friendly People-Pleasing Introverts
Because you don't have to be a sounding board for the world and her cat, people-pleaser or not.
A huge myth about introverts is that we’re all these quiet timid people. I call bullshit.
Some of the most chatty people I know are introverts — people who can fill silence with non-stop chatter, who end up chatting to any one on the bus and like to have a good loud laugh.
But that doesn’t mean that we’re these extroverted outgoing folks who love nothing more than a good natter.
Not at all.
For some of us, that friendliness and chatty-ness comes with a price: our energy.
Being a friendly introvert can be hugely exhausting. While extroverts get their energy from spending time with other people, introverts get their energy through time alone, thinking, reflecting and having time to just be.
So while we might enjoy a good chat, that doesn’t mean we want to socialise every minute of the day.
Because we are chatty, people think we’re naturally extroverted. They don’t realise that sometimes all we want is a moment of silence. It’s not that we don’t enjoy other people’s company, it’s just that we don’t want it all the time (FYI that’s okay).
And as friendly people-pleasing introverts, I think it’s fair to say that we give away a lot of our energy rather than sticking up for ourselves, because we don’t want to be rude.
As introverts, we also soak up atmospheres like sponges, and we pick up on subtle changes in the environment. So when shit feels awkward, we go into verbal diarrhoea mode, and try and desperately fill the void.
When we notice someone’s feeling down, we want to do something about it. We’re always on the go, always sensing what other people need and we end up putting everyone in front of ourselves, and wonder why we feel so drained and exhausted.
If you’re reading this and you relate, join the gang (and by join, I reassurance from the comfort of your own private space that you’re not the odd one out, and there are a lot of people who feel similarly).
Your time and your energy are two of the most previous things you have. And it is your right to defend them as fiercely as you can.
It’s not rude to put your earphones on and block out the world for a while when you’re out shopping if you know people have a tendency of seeking you out as a friendly soul to pour their heart out to.
It’s okay not to want to make friends with everyone you meet. Whether you’re in an airbnb, at a new job or taking a course, you don’t have to give everyone your undivided attention and reluctantly go out for drinks because you think you should.
While you are a bright, wonderful person to be around and you can chat to anyone, it doesn’t mean you have to be that for everyone.
So stop entertaining people who like one-sided conversations about themselves and know you’re too polite to excuse yourself from the conversation even though you’re bored fucking rigid and you couldn’t give less of a shit about the problem they’re having with Sheila in the office.
It’s not your role to make people feel better about themselves. It’s not your role to be a sitting duck for people who are too self absorbed to know that you don’t give a shit.
It’s not your duty to spend your precious time and energy with people you’re not particularly fussed on chatting about the weather and the increasing price of bread.
And while the world might tell you otherwise, you don’t need to say yes every time your friends as you out, or respond immediately to every message. If it becomes an issue or you want to set clear expectations, start an honest conversation.
The time we have alone? It’s that time that gives us our sparkle to begin with.
So don’t let the world dampen your sparkle because of not wanting to appear rude.
You can be assertive without being a dick.
Chances are the things you think are rude are things that most people do without giving it a second thought.
So my fellow friendly introverts, know that that you don’t have to be a soundboard for the universe and its cat, and know that there is nothing wrong with you.
The world is built for extroverts, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for you in it.