I’m an introvert.
A lot of folks are surprised to hear me say that. We’ve seen you teach, they say.
And you were a managing editor.
And you coordinated media relations for a big health-insurance company.
That’s all true. I also can work a crowd, make conversation with people I don’t know, even seize the microphone if that’s what the occasion demands.
But sometimes, despite my best efforts, my introversion takes over.
Like during a faculty meeting I attended recently.
We were discussing, over a lunch of pizza and salad, how we teach ethics. Several of my colleagues jumped right in, taking positions, arguing points, challenging each other. The conversation was lively, sometimes intense.
I popped open another Diet Coke.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk. It’s just how I usually behave in meetings: hang back, survey the room, silently test my thinking against the others to see whether I’ll sound foolish when I finally speak up.
Eventually I did speak up and, while my observations certainly didn’t leave the others speechless (after all, they’re extroverts), I didn’t embarrass myself. I was glad I jumped in.
The experience reminded me, though, how challenging it is to be an introvert in an extrovert’s world.… Read more