Few things suck worse than engaging in introspection and realizing you are not the shining exemplar of humanity you’d like to be. We’re coming up on the close of 2013, and, reflecting on the past year, I see some things I am not proud of. Let me explain.
The Internet, which I secretly believe is run largely by introverts, has pulled back the covers on introversion and made it a Thing. I am a strange kind of introvert: I love interacting with people, conversing…but I become reserved and withdrawn when there are too many of them around me. Sure, I want to go to your party! But I will never be the coolest kid there, unless you talk to me one-on-one.
The worst aspect of my introversion is rather stubborn aversion to conflict. My social failings cause me to avoid awkward situations at all costs, so I am tactful and politically correct, to a fault. I rarely ruffle feathers on purpose. If I don’t want to do something, I tend to communicate it passive-aggressively, rather than directly.
But there comes a time in every introvert’s life when she has to put on her big girl Vickies and step to the plate. It’s called being an adult. Most of the time, I succeed at busting down the dread that suffuses me when I think of having to do an unpleasant social task. This year, though, I failed. I put myself in some unnecessarily awkward situations–and hurt some people–because I refused to speak up and rectify the problem.
This has haunted me a bit. It’s a stain on my stellar year to see those glaring failures of character and wish I had done better, knowing it was fully within my grasp to do so. God don’t like ugly, and He lets me know it. Worse, I know I have marred the outward perception of myself as a “nice person.” Frankly, I’ve been a jerk to people this year. Missed calls and thank yous, failed to relay important information, avoided difficult conversations–all because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable.
But I’m uncomfortable anyway, knowing that I owe people multiple apologies. I have been considering writing letters by hand and snail mailing them, but I’m not sure if even this would be a cop out. Writing is both strength and crutch for me. It’s my most powerful communicative tool, but it allows me to sidestep the crucial verbal aspect of interpersonal relationships. I do crave the barrier of paper to shield me from having to put myself out there in conversation, to vocalize the words, “I apologize. I was wrong,” and physically face the music.
In the end, my using introversion as an excuse is also a class-A jerk move. All this could be avoided if I was an extrovert; I could leap awkward conversations with a single bound then! Right. I am actively trying to overcome my reservations about certain relationships, speak my mind, and be a better person for it. But until then, this introvert will have to look herself in the mirror and live with that patch of ugly on her personality.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you deal with conflict and hard conversations?