I’ve always prided myself on being quite self aware and in part that’s due to a keen interest in psychology and as a bi-product an interest in taking personality tests.
Perhaps the most popular theory for assessing the various personality constructs is the Myers-Briggs 16 personalities test which is based on the original theory of psychological types by renowned psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Carl Jung.
I have taken various versions of this test and each time the results have told me the same thing.
I’m an extrovert…
“Extroverted individuals prefer group activities and get energised by social interaction. They tend to be more enthusiastic and more easily excited than introverts.”
However even a card carrying extrovert has their introverted days.
“Introverted individuals prefer solitary activities and get exhausted by social interaction. They tend to be quite sensitive to external stimulation (e.g. sound, sight or smell) in general.”
An introverted day is when you wake up and want to stay in your room, completely alone and just ‘be’. A day when you do not want to have to speak to, see or acknowledge anyone. I must admit that the older I get the more “introverted days” I seem to have.
Not so long ago I experienced one of my “introverted days” and usually if I am feeling this way I will just lock myself away in my room, watch a film or series on Netflix or read an old favourite of mine and by the following day I will be back to my energetic and chatty self!
Unfortunately for me on this particular day I had a a rather large scale event scheduled, of which I was the host. Even worse than being the host there would come a time during the event in which I would be expected to network with the guests. Fantastic!
I’ve always had a keen interest in Psychology and people. I would say that 80% of the time I love people. I love talking to people, I love listening to people. I am interested in finding out more about the way they think and feel and in particular I enjoy discovering how we’re similar and where we differ.
So the majority of the time I enjoy networking (once we get past the monotonous initial small talk). But on this particular day I most definitely was not in the mood to network. For the former part of the event I was quite fortunate. Prior to and in between the talks, as the venue host, I was able to feign being busy while I rushed hither and thither pretending to be checking on things when in actual fact I was just avoiding speaking to people.
For most of the day this tactic worked a treat, but unfortunately when it came to the networking segment at the end of the event I couldn’t get away with checking on things “behind the scenes” any longer.
So I did what I imagine most people who abhor networking do in this situation. I grabbed a (large) glass of red wine, and put on my game face. Rather than throwing myself into the fray as I normally would I stood on the sidelines, all the while praying to any deity that would listen to suddenly develop the power of invisibility and/or the ability to merge with the wall.Surprisingly this tactic actually worked for a little while (though not as long as I would’ve liked) as I was able to enjoy my glass of wine in peace while surveying the circus before me. But alas as the saying goes all good things must come to an end.
Suddenly and without warning I was caught in an unwavering eye-lock. My first thought was “Shit! I’ve been spotted…Abort…Abort” but it was too late she had me pinned, unwilling victim, in her high beams and she was heading toward me with a purpose filled stride. Then she did the one thing I can’t stand (even when I’m actually in the mood to conversate) following her introduction…she asked me.
“So what do you do?”
I know it’s ridiculous, the purpose of networking is to ascertain what the people you meet do for work, so you can determine whether they will be of use to you in the future, sounds calculating but that’s the business world.
However, despite the ultimate aim of networking, I do feel there’s a more palatable way the dance can be done and that’s to start with an ice breaker…get to know the person a little bit, warm them up, just a tad…and then ask them what they do. Admittedly not everyone has my flair or enjoyment for circuitous conversation.
Perhaps it does save time to ask this question first, and equally it is also a getting to know you type question. That being said the problem I find, as a serial networker, it’s dreadfully tiresome being asked the exact same question by every single person you meet in a business capacity.
Anyway I digress…
Following minutes of mundane conversation I expelled a sigh of relief when she decided to go and “network” with someone else. Shortly after I was approached by another woman and my immediate reaction was exasperation that these people couldn’t tell that I was having an introverted day.
Now dear friends, it doesn’t happen often but here is where I admit I was wrong. I was expecting another tedious conversation all the while thinking to myself I wish this person would just hurry up and leave me alone. What I actually got was one of the most refreshing conversations of my life.
I won’t bore you with the details of all we discussed but I will say that I left that conversation feeling invigorated and vibrant. The part of the conversation I do wish to share with you is what my new confidante said to me when I told her I was experiencing an introverted day.
She told me that when she needs to clear her head she keeps a ‘What I’m grateful for’ diary, and this tip really resonated with me. While I often say that we should accept the low moments (as long as they are few and far between) and really allow ourselves to feel the emotions. It’s also positive if we can utilise tools that can help to bring equilibrium back to our mental states.
So as you may have guessed I am now going to write a few of the things that I’m grateful for…
I’m grateful that I get to meet amazing new people on a daily basis and that I already know so many wonderful people that I get to share remarkable experiences with.
I’m grateful that I have a fantastic family who love and support me and friends who adore me.
I am so incredibly grateful to have a home and to feel genuinely safe and that my only real worries admittedly can be defined as ‘first world problems’.
I’m grateful to have a job I enjoy that pays me enough money that not only can I afford to meet my basic needs but I also am able to have amazing experiences and go on exciting adventures.
I’m grateful that I have eyes that allow me to see the many beauties the world has to offer, ears that can hear symphonies, a nose that can smell roses, freshly washed laundry, melted chocolate and jerk chicken, a tongue that can taste sugar and spice and all the flavours in between. I am incredibly grateful that I have a body that can feel immense pleasure and that my body allows me to be free.
And finally I am extremely grateful for sparkling wine!
What are the things that you’re grateful for? Maybe the next time you’re feeling low you could start your own ‘Gratitude Diary’.
Until next time…
*If you enjoyed this post please like, follow, share and all that good stuff.