Admittedly, I don’t place a lot of faith in wikiHow in the first place (these are the folks who offer such helpful advice as how to make jello shots and remove bloodstains from the carpet, mattress or car upholstery*), however, today’s offering 4 Ways to Network if you Are an Introvert went past ‘useless’ or ‘mildly creepy’, and straight into emotionally destructive, because not a one of these four steps** tells me how to network if I’m an introvert.
What that article does tell me is, Don’t Be an Introvert.
It also tells me to remember to breathe while I’m busy not being what I am.
While I’m at it, I’ll also stop being a left-handed heterosexual redhead.
Okay, fine, the fact is I’m an ambidextrous heterosexual redhead because in kindergarten, back in the day, left-handedness was a mark of Satan.**
My point however, is that in cold, sober reality, social interactions drain me, both emotionally and creatively. I can do it, but when I do, I am a virtual lump of mashed potatoes for hours after.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like people. It doesn’t mean I can’t interact with them.
I like many people. I’m a hoot at the parties my poor husband has to drag me to. I reach out to a number of people on behalf of my kids almost every day and I’m also pretty darned good at public speaking.
I mind my posture.
I know how to use props.
But it’s also the truth that every one of the interactions extroverts seek out and thrive upon leave me exhausted, drained and often with a killer headache.
I recognize the necessity of being part of a greater world and enjoy the people I’m with when I’m with them, but I must also have time alone to compensate for the effort required by these interactions.
The same is true of virtual social networking — which are recommended somewhere at the bottom of the above wikiHow article — as Facebook, Twitter and blogging all have their own set of social rules and demands and they are no less taxing to my introverted makeup.
To paraphrase, a person’s a person, no matter how real-time.
Of course, when you get down to it, social interaction is for the most part a requirement of living in our world. And it is another truth that many of these interactions supply their own rewards.
I don’t regret a minute of the time I spent running writing workshops with the kids at our elementary school, or the campouts with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop (okay, maybe a little but that’s because Nature is fickle, and bigger than me). Nor do I regret or resent being part of a family or having friends.
I do, however, resent the concept that only ‘go-getter’s’ succeed. I resent the ideology that I have to sell myself (though there was that day I got a pretty good offer while waiting for the light to change on 9th and 45th) to make any meaningful contributions.
I most especially resent the sheer lack of imagination that went into this wikiHow article and find myself hoping the site’s editors will in future stick with what they’re good at because, after all, who doesn’t want to learn how to make a chocolate milkshake?
After all, cleaning up those bloodstains can make a gal thirsty.
* Still waiting on the ‘how to dispose of the body’ wikiHow. I know it’s coming.
** More like 22 ways, because each of the four categories is broken into byte-sized suggestions, including that standby ‘relax’, also known as the dominatrix of condescending advice.
*** So was being a redhead but they weren’t allowed to bleach a five-year old’s hair.