On being an Introvert - It's NOT a mental illness

I am so bad at small talk. Like, really bad. I'm much more comfortable with the deeper conversations that happen one-on-one, in a quiet & non-public place. In my ideal world, I would have a pre-provided outline of every verbal conversation I ever have - that way I can plan my every word ahead of time.

I'm jealous at the quick wit of some of my friends (I'm talking about you, Jaala and Laura!). The gregariousness, the sociableness (it's a word. look it up). I'm not those things, and for years I felt less-than somehow.

Often during a staff meeting or such, a question is thrown to me. I freeze. I gape. My mind is blank and I am silent. My brain is thinking, "say something. Make it good. THEY ARE PAYING YOU TO BE INSIGHTFUL."

So, I piddle around with my response. I keep it brief. I turn the conversation back to them.
And more often than not, I receive feedback along these lines:
"You're such a good listener."
"Thank you for letting me do so much of the talking."

What I have long perceived to be a deficiency, is actually a strength.

In grade school, introverts can be mistaken for snobby. In the professional world, introverts can be mistaken for less intelligent or poor leaders.

Let's not label a "shy" person as being dim-witted.

Let's not believe that the first person to open their mouth has the best ideas.

If you're not an introvert and would like to learn more about a loved one who is, try this bibliotherapy:

Quiet by Susan Cain
The Introvert's Way by Sophia Dembling