Small talk wears me out. Does this resonate with you?
Contrary to popular belief, most introverts love people. I am an introvert. I adore people. I enjoy meeting new people and I am fascinated with in-depth life stories.
When introverts reach a certain threshold in any conversation, especially small talk, with anyone that isn’t a part of their trust circle (someone they are not in a deep relationship with), most feel a noticeable drop in energy level. Picture a battery-operated smartphone with a fast-diminishing charge. When a heavy load of data processes, the phone drops rapidly from 90% to 50%, and before you know it, the phone is at 10%—IN THE RED!
How do you recharge a cell phone? You plug a charging cable into the phone. What does an introvert do to get recharged? They go home and shut their door. Then they absorb silence in their own space and their energy level rises. For some of us, restoration happens quickly, and for others, depending upon our energy deficit, it might take hours to regain strength. Similarly, when you plug a charger into a totally dead cell phone, the display remains blank for a short while.
Small talk is the WORST type of conversation for an introvert. What exactly is small talk? Google dictionary describes small talk as, “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, especially as engaged in on social occasions.”
Introverts also wear out during conversations when they lose interest, not just from “small talk.” Let’s say an introvert meets a stranger and the person they’ve met talks about their home life, their mother or father, or which church they attend and why, or how they experienced childbirth … and, well, you get the picture. Even though the introvert knows that this person needs someone to talk to, and the introvert loves that this person feels comfortable talking with them, it eventually grinds down to a “battery low” situation. Why? It is due to the randomness of the conversation, and especially when the clock starts ticking. 5 minutes becomes 15, and then it goes into a half hour … and then the introvert shifts from foot to foot with thoughts, “How can I cut this short. I am tired and need to find a good place to break this conversation off!” This is often accompanied by a draining feeling of guilt.
Introverts, what can you do to extend the life of your battery? How can you stay charged during random conversations?
- Do not try to put on an awkward “I’m interested” face during a conversation. That involves a lot of work! Instead, be interested.
- Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are having a conversation with. Ask insightful and meaningful questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. What do you want to know? What if you were writing an article about this person, what would you need to know?
Consider asking questions about:
- Friends or family
- Occupation or business
- Hobbies or recreation
- Aspirations or dreams
Remember this, you, the introvert, do love people. Your heart is huge. More than likely, your personality flourishes on you being a God-given encourager!
Finally, when you’re really worn out, have a plan of action in place. If you own a business, hand over your business card. Or, ask for a phone number, or a name to find the person on social media. Find a way to stay in touch.
Most introverts want to make friends, and I know you do too—you simply need to get to the refueling station … and that is OKAY!
Are you a Christian? This is one of my favorite scriptures for strength: 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The first time I read this passage, I thought, “Wait a minute, I have a sound mind even though I do fear!” Basically, a sound mind means we do not sway to the left or to the right when we are faced with a challenge. We remain upright and strong. I translate this to there is no fear in love. We love Him. We trust Him. We have faith in Him, and He does not prescribe fear into our lives. So, say goodbye to the enemies’ fear-filled lies!