Introverts can feel invisible in a chattering world of gabbers. You might not recognize the feeling at first but the signs are always there:
- Whenever you ask a question in class your teacher responds, “Yes, the chair in the back.”
- You’re retirement watch has been engraved “The Guy in Cubicle 35-B.”
- The only one at the party aware of your presence is a floor lamp with whom you are dissecting Kafka.
- During sex your partner screams her own name.
- The voices in your head talk as if you’re not there.
- In high school, you were voted Most Likely to Pass Through Airport Security Undetected.
- The drunk you’ve been subtly flashing your cleavage at keeps asking a bowl of peanuts for its phone number.
Yes, feeling invisible can be depressing but admit it; it would certainly come in handy each year when your workmates corner you in the lunch room with a birthday cake.
Johnny Appleseed (born John Chapman September 26, 1774 – March 11, 1845) was an American pioneer who introduced the country to apple trees and the introvert lifestyle.
Although legend paints a picture of Johnny wandering the countryside planting apple trees, he did much more. He introduced early America to a brooding behavior that would change and aggravate the nation forever.
Beginning in 1792, Johnny headed west to plant apple trees and be alone. Today, Native Americans from the Iroquois tribe in New York tell the story of a man they call Scatchwhoa (translation: Man who dislikes small talk).
After growing bored with the Iroquois, Johnny moved to Pennsylvania. He continued traveling into the Ohio Valley country and Indiana. Each year he planted apple seeds for settlers who would’ve been more grateful had he not come across as aloof and conceited.
Johnny always carried a leather bag filled with apple seeds, making him the first American to sport a man purse. He planted apple seeds wherever he went and was soon known as the “apple seed man” — a name he didn’t mind it since it was preferable to “metrosexual apple seed man.”
Johnny enjoyed living in the woods by himself, although he often became exhausted communing with nature – particularly when chipmunks would not stop talking.
Johnny never married. He did have a long, intense relationship with a woman known as Patricia Peach Pit. In the end, it was not meant to be. “We tried to make the relationship work,” Johnny wrote to his brother. “But we’re apples and peaches. And she’s not interested in being just a cross-pollination buddy.”
Johnny died peacefully on March 18, 1845, having made the fledgling country apple-friendly and more open to eccentric guys living by themselves in the woods.
Do you think being an introvert prevents you from being a successful leader? Think again.
Just because large groups of people aren’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean you can’t boss them around.
Over a lifetime, you’ve mastered countless valuble skills: avoiding people, ducking out of parties unnoticed, and pretending to listen when your mind is in another universe. If you can do all that, managing a multi-national corporation should be a piece of cake.
Follow these simple business management rules. In no time, employees with whom you never make eye contact will be kissing up to you.
- Be yourself – unless you can impersonate other famous successful introverts like Bill Gates, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Abraham Lincoln.
- Inspire others. Your employees may think you’re aloof and standoffish. They’ll forget quickly after you tell them you saw Jesus in a toner cartridge.
- Project an air of quiet confidence – if possible without whistling nervously through your nose.
- Delegate more. Just because the janitor is a whiz at cleaning toilets doesn’t mean he can’t negotiate a multimillion dollar contract with IBM.
- Avoid people burnout. Interacting with countless folks all day is exhausting for introverts. If possible, hire a body double and teach him/her to continually say, “Let’s run it up the flag pole and see what happens.”
He: I love that you respect my space. Let’s meet in the living room on Thursday.
She: It’s wonderful we don’t clutter our lives with meaningless small talk. I just wish there was a way I could tell you we’re out of toilet paper.
He: Did I tell you how much I cherish you, that my life began when we first met, and my existence is meaningless without you? Or was I talking to myself?
She: I treasure that I don’t have to explain my peaceful silent nature to you, and why it’s so exhausting for me to say, “I treasure that I don’t have to explain my peaceful silent nature to you.”
He: You’re the first person who’s never asked me, “What are you thinking?” Even when I was having a seizure.
She: I will never ask why I’ve never met your family. Your pod story is good enough for me.
He: It’s wonderful we never have house guests. It means more onion dip for us.
She: I feel closest to you when you respect my need to be alone, especially when I’m wearing headphones during sex.
He: My darling, I want you to know how much I love you, but this conversation is exhausting. I need to take a quiet three-hour walk to decompress.
She: My dearest love, I don’t think I can speak another word, either. I’ll text you next week from my sensory deprivation tank.
Dr. Menachem Fakakta
Are you an introvert? Do you eat food containing gluten? Bingo! There’s your problem.
I’ve been treating people with Celiac disease (a condition in which the small intestine cannot digest gluten) for years. Extensive anecdotal evidence indicates a gluten-free diet can cure introversion and many other conditions including:
- Stockholm Syndrome
An introvert who changes to a gluten-free diet will notice immediate changes:
- Small talk becomes easier. You’ll have no problem babbling endlessly about how you’d kill for a doughnut.
- The fear of large groups of people will be replaced by fear that you’ll never eat another delicious bowl of pasta.
- At meetings, you’ll stop sitting in the back of the room and start sitting near the pastry tray.
- You’ll have fewer running inner monologues and more outer running monologues: “I remember pizza and Doritos and cake and…”
- You’ll come out of your shell, asking anyone if they know of a cannoli shell that doesn’t taste like cardboard.
Warning: Changing to a gluten-free diet can cause side effects such as loss of joie de vivre, compulsive gambling, and temporary or permanent loss of life.
Dr. Menachem Fakakta is licensed to practice medicine in 7 Third World countries. He is the author of the humorous surgical textbook, “I know I Left that Scalpel Somewhere.”
Being an introvert is great, but not during your company’s day-long “Get to Know Your Assistant Sales Manager” seminar.
Some experts believe introverts can fit better in extrovert situations by pretending to be extroverts. These experts also believe you can train a cocker spaniel to make a great cup of cappuccino.
Should you try being an extrovert just to fit in? Not if you’re comfortable in your solitary skin. The world can never have enough quiet souls in the back of the room, mumbling: “We work hard, play hard and kiss boss’ butt hard.”
But if you think acting like an extrovert will help get you through the day, get a promotion, or get to first base with Sally in Sales, here are some tips to guide you:
- Proper body language is key to being a good extrovert. Stand up straight and lean into conversations. Extroverts love to guess what the other person had for lunch. Plus, “Would you like a breath mint?” is a great conversation starter.
- Gesture a lot, the broader the better. It may be hard at first. Pretend you’re guiding a jet plane to the terminal.
- Smile. Extroverts are drawn to beaming faces. But be careful: A sudden transformation from sullen data analyst to Cheery Charlie can raise suspicions about psychotropic medication changes.
- Show you’re genuinely interested in others. Ask people what they think. Tip: Don’t walk away before they answer.
- Get people to talk about themselves. You’ll feel more connected. However, a word of warning: Listening to someone talk about their fifteenth trip to Disneyworld may not be easy. Keep your cell phone handy for a fake emergency call.
Pretending to be an extrovert requires practice. Here’s a helpful way to rehearse your conversations: Go to a large apartment building, press the door buttons, and ask each inhabitant over the intercom, “What do you do for a living?” Review your conversations as you’re sprinting away.
Not every introvert can pretend to go both ways. Remember: You’re still a fabulous person. Well, maybe not if you’re a criminal or a politician but you get the point.