Photo taken by the author
“We know from myths and fairy tales that there are many different kinds of powers in this world. One child is given a light saber, another a wizard’s education. The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of available power, but to use well the kind you’ve been granted. Introverts are offered keys to private gardens full of riches.”
– Susan Cain (1)
Have you ever felt at some point during a conversation that you don’t have a voice?
Or you’re not heard when you do try to say something?
It is an incredibly frustrating and discouraging feeling when you’re not heard, especially for introverts.
As introverts know full well, they’ve put in all this time preparing mentally for what to say, and when they finally have worked up enough guts to say what they’ve been thinking about for the last 40 minutes, or when a space finally opens in the conversation, nobody seems to hear what they have just said.
There is no response.
“Did they even hear me?”, is an all-too-common question introverts ask themselves.
As I’ve known for quite some time now, I am an introvert.
I don’t have introversion at 100% on the proverbial sliding scale, but I do lean more towards being an introvert than an extrovert.
I enjoy people and hanging out with friends, but I do need time alone.
Time to think, to ponder, to reflect, to re-gain energy, to make sense of what is going on around me and in me.
To explain, for the introvert the thinking process that is required is mentally draining as well as emotionally taxing when all that internal labor doesn’t get to have a chance to be expressed and to be recognized for what it is.
This is something that really bothers me and is something I constantly battle in my life, as a person, not just as an introvert, of which I am one.
I have noticed that when this happens, I’ll respond in one of two ways: Either I’ll raise my voice louder to make sure my comment is heard, or I’ll shrink back in despair and feel defeated inside.
Both are horrible compromises that leave me feeling upset and belittled.
It seems that introverts have it hardest when trying to communicate their thoughts, especially in a group of people.
It could be at work, in the lunch room, hanging out with friends, or even during those get-togethers with your extended family over the holidays.
By this I mean, when given the spotlight to talk introverts aren’t the quickest for giving a response.
What they need (to be read as: their communication preference) is time to think and time to process their thoughts, before they communicate what is on their minds.
They’ve got to sort through the mountain of information that has been presented to them, analyze it from every known angle, and then out of that form a deep-rooted, concisely-clear thought.
See how much energy this requires?
What drives me crazy is when I’m interrupted by quick-thinking, overly-assertive extroverts, who unknowingly rob both my moments for quiet thinking and the time I could have had for expressing my thoughts out loud to them.
In short, the internal thought patterns have been interrupted; thereby, breaking the flow from one pattern of thought to another.
(1) Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2012), 266.