Sentinel Progress

Introverts unite! Separately … in our own homes …

I have reached the recent conclusion that apparently I don’t know myself at all.

This came about during a phone call with a friend of mine in which she said that the reason we were such good friends is that we were both introverts — and shy people needed to stick together.

It kinda caught me off base because “shy” is never a word I would use to describe myself. Like, at all.

To be clear, I have always thought of myself as an extrovert despite the fact every single personality test I have ever taken insists otherwise.

I mean sure, I prefer my own company and crave solitude and yeah, I’d rather chill with a book than go to a party but that doesn’t really make me an introvert.

Of course, public speaking does freak me out and and I am insanely uncomfortable in a crowd but that is hardly definitive evidence, right?

If anything, my job alone should class me in with the more outgoing segment of the population … except for the fact that I use my camera as a defense mechanism to ensure that I’m never in the photograph and have mild panic attacks before I have to ask a city official anything that might be contrived as confrontational or challenging.

Wow.

I guess I might have some introvert qualities after all? Fine. But why does the term generate such negative connotations? Is it so bad to not be overly social?

To me, my idea of hell is one meet and greet after another, those table discussions where everyone has to go around the room and introduce themselves or a high school dance … I shudder at the memories.

But does that mean I’m shy? No.

I really don’t think it’s possible for a person to be any more open — have you read my column? I’ve told personal stories about my life in these pages that makes even my husband look at me and say “Are you really going to write that?”

Yes. Yes, I am — hardly something a shy person would do.

I can also be assertive when need be, which is something not generally associated with introverts.

I’ve stood my ground against bossy CNN camera guys, I’ve cornered police chiefs with tough questions that I demanded answers to. I’ve held politicians accountable and written news stories that — realistically speaking — probably ruined a life or two.

I tell myself that I’m not the one doing it, I’m just the one telling the public what they did — good or bad. Still, doesn’t mean that sometimes it doesn’t keep me up at night.

I think the key part of all this is that in the end, whether it be a news story or this column, I’m ultimately conveying my message to whoever is reading it in print as opposed to in person or on camera (both of which, by the way, sound equally terrifying) — and that is a totally introverted way of doing things — so maybe there’s merit to my friend’s evaluation after all.

So, if you drop by the paper’s office sometime and peek your head in the newsroom to say hello, please don’t be offended if I’m incredibly awkward, evasive and find some excuse to bolt out the door.

I promise you’ll receive a charming email the next day that’s welcoming, warm and filled with all the funny anecdotes that I found myself completely unable to say in person.

Because in print, no one is an introvert.

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Strickly Speaking

Kasie Strickland

Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at kstrickland@championcarolinas.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.