Warning: Introvert On Low Battery

After reading AP2’s excellent, recent post on introvert/extrovert behavior, I’d like to pile on by sharing the following post. It was first published on my personal blog and in my local newspaper, where I worked as a columnist many moons ago.

As a life-long introvert in need of some serious recharging time, I was “all-in” for a night of just hanging out at home with the family and a close friend.  It was perfect until we decided to pile into the car for a trip to a popular ice cream spot. 

Why leave a perfect evening? Ice cream has magical powers sometimes.  Besides, the place was only minutes away.  And it was take-out only so we’d be home again within minutes.  So off we went. 

At that point, my introvert social skills were like an iPhone battery with a 1% charge, working great until suddenly- nothing.  So, of course we ran into people we knew as soon as we pulled into the place.  

No problem- I was still on 1%.  The problem began when, a few minutes later, I was greeted by another friendly, recognizable face.  By then my battery had died and I was in social shutdown mode.  That’s also when another of my issues arose- I’m horrible with names.  Bad combo! 

Not only could I not come up with a name to match the face, my family told me afterwards that I appeared clearly uninterested in talking to the person.  That wasn’t the case though.  I was interested, and tried to return the friendly vibes and conversation.  But, as Yoda once said in Star Wars, “Do or do not. There is no try.”  Unfortunately, I did not.  I should have just ‘fessed up and asked the person’s name.  But I did not. There was no try, just a somewhat strange, unsteady conversation. 

So, on behalf of myself and all other socially drained introverts and name forgetters, I hereby apologize for the awkward conversations, abrasiveness, and general discomfort that can sometimes come from interacting with us when we need recharging.  Apologies too for addressing people by pronoun instead of proper name. We aren’t being jerks on purpose, sometimes it just comes out that way. 

Most of us have a few minor, personal issues to manage.  Sometimes we do well and appear “normal”.  Others times- not so much.  Sometimes several issues pounce on us at once and life becomes a rugby scrum. 

The point is to remember that each of us has aspects of our personality that make us hard to deal with sometimes.  Some people talk without thinking.  Some focus on the negative.  Some can’t manage a calendar.  Some are too distracted to be good listeners.  Some people know everything.  Some are bad with names.  The list is endless.  

But whatever the situation, people are probably not trying to be difficult on purpose.  They might be, of course.  But more likely, they’re at 1% of whatever battery they’re trying to manage.  So let’s do our best to keep our personal batteries charged, cut each other some slack when we’re drained, and go fearlessly to the ice cream shop whenever we can.

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13 thoughts on “Warning: Introvert On Low Battery

  1. Thanks for reading my momentarily incoherent introverted thoughts and expressing them so well. I should make a copy of this and stuff it in my pocket to drag out and hand it to someone who may not understand blather-speak. 😉

    1. 😂😂 A card like that would be very helpful! We could just pass it out when needed and things would probably go more smoothly for everyone 😁

  2. There are plenty of us introverts who have batteries that either too small, can’t take or hold a full charge, or can’t find a charger that uses our style of connector. I often feel like an android in a world made for iPhones.

  3. What a great post, Todd! You provide a thoughtful description of some of the many ways we are different. And why when situations arise that feel off, it’s important to just accept it with love instead of trying to personalize or project. Beautiful!

  4. I am also bad with my names, but you know what I do? I address myself to the person saying – ciao bello (or bella if she is a woman). Bello in Italian means beautiful and of course it’s a compliment. Though I don’t think you could say the same in English, I am sure that you can find something similar!

  5. Great post Todd. Man can I relate! I’m useless with names. Sometimes I forget the name of the captain I’m sitting next to in the cockpit after having flown with him for a number of hours. Luckily we have name tags. It’s interesting though – when it comes to certain things I have an excellent memory. Directions for example. I can map out a city in my head and find a small restaurant or cafe I visited years later. But someone’s name on the other hand…

  6. I’m situational with names if I see someone otherside of the normal context I won’t recognise them – their face or their name. Many sunsets ago in secondary school, I sat beside the same girl in one of my classes for two years. We copied each other’s homework, bemoaned about the teacher, acknowledged our existence in the hallways etc. During the summer after school finished for ever, who came bounding up the stairs of a house party?
    “Elegances! OMG! (heavily influenced by USA was my school) How are you?”
    “Erm- who da feck are you?”
    It took her about 15 mins of persuading before my brain filled in the blanks. That was the first time it happened to me and unfortunately wasn’t the last time. Now I tell people so they aren’t as horrified as she was.
    Great article!

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