Communication

Being an Introvert

By jove….I think I’m an introvert!
 
OK….as a child, I already knew this. Though, I liked being around my cousins and my brother, I was never comfortable around new people. If my parents got a new friend and brought them around, it took me awhile to warm up to them. Even now, it’s hard for me to make close friends and I mourn their loss when they decide to walk away. I have a lot of people that I know, from around the country and even around the world. But, not too many that I would call close friends. And it’s deep friendships and relationships that I crave.

I’m not that bubbly person that some of us envy. I’ve tried. I’ve had people in my life ask me to try. After about 20 minutes it wears me out and I need to go hide. It’s not that I’m depressed, most days. It’s that I don’t get small talk or surface conversation. I want to go deep and that usually throws people off. I’ve been called ‘too intense’ before. Though, that can draw some people in, but then they are all in my business and I only want to share what I’m comfortable with sharing…regardless of the fact that I share private stuff in our book, on our podcast and during our presentations. I’m still in control of what I share. And if you ask me something that I haven’t offered, if I answer it usually takes me a second or two to decide what I want to share.

So, I may be writing about being an introvert quite a lot over the next few days as Master and I work on writing a workshop in being poly and introverts. Should be interesting as I process stuff.

Here is a list of 21 dating problems introverts have to deal with....and many of these resonate with me.

 


1. Not immediately texting someone back because you’re scared of saying something stupid or looking too needy, and then forgetting to text them back altogether.

I do this all the time. I don’t like to answer right away without thinking, and when I do I usually text the wrong thing, or don’t put a smiley or something. So, I think about it. Same with emails and then I forget to write back and people take it personally or think I’m being irresponsible. That’s not my intent.

2. Wanting to just spend time next to someone, where each of you are doing your own thing, and having them mistake that for being “distant” or not wanting to be with them.

Dan and I both do this all the time. We have things to do, but someone wants to spend time with us. We invite them over and then tell them to bring a laptop or a book, something to keep themselves occupied. When we are interviewing a new person to be collared, this is one of the tests that we put them through. They must be able to sit with us and entertain themselves. If they can’t do this, the relationship isn’t going to work.

3. Having a minor anxiety attack before your first date because you do not feel quite ready to deal with people but you didn’t want to cancel at the last minute.

This happens to me all the time. It almost happened just the other day when I met a girl interested in dating. All the way up until the time to meet, I thought to cancel. I had no interest in trying to do small talk. But, I’ve been cancelled on, and it just seems rude to do to someone else.

4. Meeting someone online and enjoying talking to them so much that you almost don’t want to ruin it with your awkward “in-person” personality.

I don’t do well online either. I make myself flirt and reply and it all sounds exciting...but then when it’s time to meet someone I really don’t want to let them down with my real personality.

5. Having a really amazing and fulfulling relationship with someone very long-distance, where no one understands why you’re not more upset that you don’t get to spend more “quality” time with them.

I haven’t run across this one yet. Though, I do have high school friends that I can go years without seeing, and be ok with it. I love them dearly, but don’t need to talk with any regularity.

6. Double dates (shudder).

It would have to be with a couple that can entertain themselves. We have done a cruise with a couple that are friends, but we all agree up front that if we told each other to get lost, none of us would take it personally.

7. Having a really good date that ends badly because you both decided to go to a really loud, crowded bar and it totally drains you within ten minutes.

This has happened to me before. I keep thinking it will be a good idea and will end better than the last time I tried it. It never is and I feel like a failure.

8. Meeting all of the new SO’s friends for the first time and having to be “on” for an entire night.

I had to do this recently. The idea terrified me. I tried to stay near my boyfriend without giving any clue that I was in a relationship with him. No looks, no touching. But, I needed to be near him, because that’s when I felt safe. I had no interest in being inside and having to talk to people I didn’t know. It was easier sitting out on the porch and listening to everybody chat with each other. I could blend in without having to participate. Perfect environment.

9. Falling in love with someone who really likes to go out and having to try and explain to them every time that it’s not them, and it’s not their friends, it’s just that you can’t always be going out and still keep your sanity.

I haven’t run across this...I don’t think.

10. Being constantly asked “what’s wrong?” “are you okay?” and “why are you so quiet?” on dates.

I just had this happen the other night. I’ve tried to explain to him that I’m an introvert, but that’s probably hard to believe because of the podcast, events and presenting that I do.


11. Wishing there was an OKCupid specifically for introverts.


12. Not having people understand that just because you’re a little more reserved or quiet in social situations does not mean that you don’t enjoy sex or are a total prude in the bedroom — an assumption that people make more than you think they would.

I’ve got this one covered. I don’t think anyone thinks that I’m a prude at this point.

13. Meeting your SO’s family and hoping that they’re not going to be the kind of people who get on your case about wanting to just read a book in a corner for a while.

14. Texting with someone and trying to explain that you do want to see them, that you just can’t right now because you really need to recharge, and knowing that they’re going to take it badly and misunderstand.

15. Being referred to as the “quiet one” by their friends.

This happened to me all the time growing up.

16. Having your SO be genuinely surprised that, yes, you do have a group of friends and, yes, you do go out and do stuff sometimes.

17. Having to dance in front of people.

This idea absolutely mortifies me. They tried to get me to play dance dance revolution in front of people that I don’t know (except the boyfriend and his wife). You couldn’t get me up there with any amount of coaxing. For no amount of money

18. Going to weddings together where a) the pressure of “when are you two getting married?” is on full-force and b) it’s like 10 straight hours of socializing with a bunch of people you don’t know.

19. Inviting them over for the first time and having them ask about all of your things (and realizing that you’re really defensive over your things, like your book collection or your little nook by the window).

I’ve had this happen with the last two boyfriends and those that He has collared. I don’t like people asking me about my book collection and such. I’ve never understood it, but have always felt defensive.

20. Wishing that you could explain what being an introvert really means on a date without coming across like you’re weird or want to feel special.

21. Realizing that you might always be the “quiet one” when it comes to dating, and that there isn’t much you can do about it except hope that the world becomes more accepting. (Or maybe even that you find someone who’s just as “weird” and “quiet” as you are.) 

 

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Communication Skills in Relationships

Usually, as i stated before, my ‘aha’ moments come from when i disagree with something that someone has written. i get this feeling of disagreement, but then i have to look at myself and my beliefs to get to the point of the feelings. Well, this time, i read this and went, “oh, that’s what’s going on!”.

Here is the writing that started my thinking on this topic……. (more of my thoughts follow the writing from the book that I share below)

Love in Abundance: A counselor’s Advice on Open Relationships
By Kathy Labriola


According to Kathy…..

“usually an individual is trying to achieve one of these five goals through a particular communication:

1) To make a connection with your partner, to create closeness and intimacy:
a. “I’m happy to see you”, “How was your day today?”
2) To tell a story or give a partner information.
a. “My mom called and she is going to come by tomorrow”, “I ran into my friend Jan and she is pregnant”
3) To ask for support or comfort
a. “I had a headache today and it was rough getting through work”, “I feel sad because you snapped at me today and I’d really like to know that things are ok between us.”
4) To solve a problem together.
a. “We got a letter from the IRS today and I need your help to figure out where I miscalculated”, “You mother wants us to come by for Thanksgiving and I don’t want to go and don’t know how to get out of it”
5) To make a decision together.
a. “What color should we paint the kitchen”


It can be extremely useful to think about what the purpose of your communication is before starting the conversation with your partner and communicate that goal to your partner. For instance, if you are just giving information or relating a story because you want to connect, they are much more likely to cooperate with that goal and not derail you by trying to solve a problem or make a decision, and you are both likely to be more satisfied with the conversation.

Because we are so influenced by our gender training and socialization, men and women often have different goals for communication. Women, who are strongly socialized to value relationships and connection, are more likely to communicate to achieve the first three goals: create intimacy or feel connected, tell a story, or ask for support or comfort. Men, trained to analyze, to compete, and to “fix things”, are more likely to see most communication as an attempt to solve problems or come to a decision. It is dangerous to make gross generalizations based on gender, as of course not all women and all men communicate in these stereotypical ways. However, a significant percentage of women do tend to be focused on communication goals, and men tend to focus on technical and practical goals. “

….so, example given in book ….

“For instance, the woman in a couple may be talking about an unpleasant interaction with her boss at work that day, as a way of asking for nurturing and support from her partner. Instead, he interprets it as a problem to be solved, and makes numerous suggestions on how she could have handled the situation with her boss differently in order to create a more positive outcome. She feels invalidated, criticized, and defensive, and he is baffled and hurt because his sensible advice and attempts to help are being rejected.

Conversely, a man may talk about feeling dissatisfied with his job as a way of getting input from his partner about whether to stay at this job as a way of getting input from his partner about whether to stay at this job or look for another job. He wants help in weighing the various factors in order to make a decision, but she things he just wants to vent and get support, so she praises him for his hard work and skills and tells him how much she loves him, and asks him to share his feelings about his work. He is frustrated because she is derailing him from his focus on decision-making. She feels hurt because he doesn’t appreciate her support. “

So...

Master and i have been having conversations lately that fall into these categories and it’s helping me see what is going on . Usually, we are really good with stating up front whether this is something we just need to talk about, or if we are looking for advice. Recently, we had a conversation in the car and i went into fix-it mode. He stopped me and said that he was only sharing, there was nothing to fix.

It’s funny, because at first i just listened and had nothing to say, and then talked myself into offering advice because i had nothing else to say and figured that’s the type of response he’d want from me, after all, as a slave isn’t it my job to make life easier for my Master? As His wife and friend, shouldn't i try to help? That’s what i thought I was doing, helping Him through a process. He wasn't happy about it. I didn’t follow my intuition on that one. Damn.

We’ve also had conversations recently where I’ve been looking for advice and he’s just listened, thinking that’s what I needed. I like it when he tries to help me. To me, it shows my Master cares. I also like it when I’m just venting and remember to say up front that I’m just sharing because I need to hear myself think.

That’s the trick though, to know what we want before communicating so that we get what we need from the other party. Like most things though, it’s easier said than done though.

After 15 years of being with Master Dan, I'm still learning how to communicate. As we learn about each other, and change over time, it's a continuous learning process. And now that I'm dating someone else (or maybe two), and have another slave in the family....I'm learning how to communicate with others of different styles.....all this stuff that I'm reading can come in handy....


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