According to the internet, introverts think they’ve got it tough.
And I don’t want to turn this post into a war on introversion. But I have an observation you might identify with.
The online world is full of articles on how misunderstood introverts are. (Yo, introverts, that’s because you didn’t freakin’ tell us how to understand you until the web came along! I admit it must have been hard for you when we hardly let you get a word in.)
But how often do you see extroverts shouting about being misunderstood? I’ll bet it’s a whole lot less. Despite us being a darn sight ‘gobbier’.
Gobbier and that’s a fact
I’m certain the internet was invented by an introvert. And I love, love, LOVE how it gives us all an even playing field to express ourselves. We all need an outlet and the internet is one helluva leveller. It’s unique as a platform for getting our word out.
But don’t be fooled. I’m going to be bold here and say that introverts have it easier online.
Because they’re doing the unexpected and voicing their personalities, while maintaining a degree of protection and privacy.
That’s perfect for them. That’s the best of both worlds. They can be measured. They can speak up in their own good time. With consideration. Without so much of the pressure that comes with being in the spotlight in real actual life.
Which is cool.
And you’d think it would be the same for us extroverts when we write on the web
But do you know what happens to extroverts when we write on the internet?
We feel SHOUTY.
We get all sorts of triggered.
We have “why can’t you tone it down?” ringing in our ears all darn day.
It’s no wonder we struggle to find our writing voice
All our lives we’ve been that girl who explodes with laughter at the dinner table. (Yeah, we caught our fellow diners glancing around to check if anyone on the next table was looking. But we don’t mind. We’re used to it.)
We’re the women who talk even more when we’re nervous, who jump in with both feet at social gatherings with an enormous smile, who make eye contact even if we don’t know you because staring at the floor is, frankly, boring. We’ll more than make up for the awkward silences. And don’t worry. You can count on us to ask the stupid questions that the whole room desperately wants to know, but just won’t admit.
We’re also the ones who know the sting of being shushed. We’ve felt the shame of a sudden realisation that our voice is dozens of decibels above the rest. And we’ve known the pain of embarrassing others just by being us.
Sorry, not sorry
One thing I know for absolute sure about being an extrovert is that being told to tone yourself down has an impact on your confidence and willingness to put your message out in the world.
No, we still can’t help talking all the time.
But somewhere along the line we were made to feel bad about it, so we somehow found it heavier to be ourselves.
It made sharing our stories a source of discomfort.
It put us on the back foot when writing for the web.
Well, fuck that.
Here’s how to own that you’re loud and proud. (And write a truckload of good stuff too.)
1. Edit yourself
Write when you’re impassioned. Then sit on it. Reread it at a distance. Introduce a measure of calm. Were you ranting or do you still feel that way? Okay, good. Now publish it knowing that you can stand by your words.
2. Or don’t
I dare you – no, double dare you – to every so often put out a first draft blog post. I want you to write what you’re actually thinking. I want you to fly in the face of “shhhhhh”. I want you to raise your middle finger to “my friends are just a bit more reserved than you”. Stop censoring yourself, sweetie. Your message is just as valid as everyone else’s.
3. Vent in private
Avoid rash outbursts on social media by keeping a journal nearby at all times. Got to get something off your chest? Do it privately, quietly. Save the internet for your best work only.
4. Understand the gift you’ve got
I had no idea until relatively recently that introverts can’t (not won’t) open up and say what they’re thinking in the moment. It’s an actual brain thing. (I should probably reference this, but I’ve said it all here). In fact, it’s a huge talent to be able to express emotions in the moment. And it means we’re programmed to churn out words. We don’t even have that self-editing filter. We verbalise with a vengeance. From a productivity point of view, that’s awesome. (Go us!) Some people find it incredibly difficult to put thoughts into language. We ought to be grateful for this aptitude.
5. Claim it
In the realm of personal branding, I reckon too few of us (myself included) have seen the word extrovert as a positive thing. Let’s flip this.
It’s possible to be loud and lovely.
You can fail to use your inside voice and free others.
So here’s the challenge. Slip into your copy or conversation the fact that you’re extroverted. Frame it positively and use it with joy.
Got something to say for yourself?
I know you have, extrogirl! Shout it out in the comments below.
And if you want to see where I showcase writers who have something to say, head here.