I recently listened to the audio book Working with You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work. This book gives advice on how to deal with difficult situations at work that can affect your emotions and cause you lots of stress. One of the issues brought up in the book was how certain “roles” that you play at work can define how people perceive you. Two of the roles that I identified with were the Rebel Role and the Invisible Role
The Rebel Role is a person who is independent and a free thinker. The problem with this role is that sometimes a person can give unsolicited advice, feedback, or contrary opinions in the work place. The Invisible Role is a person who is quiet and reserved. The problem with this role is that the person does not speak and does not like to be recognized in the work place. People aren’t aware of their accomplishments.
Even though these may seem like conflicting roles, they describe the person that I am not only at work but also in life. I am a very independent person and I think for myself. In work and in life I don’t conform to the views/ideas that everyone blindly adopts. Unfortunately, I have made the mistake of voicing my opinion about ideas that I don’t agree with at work but I have learned how to handle things better. I now keep my opinions to myself but I ask intuitive questions about how certain decisions will affect my role and responsibilities. This makes people think that I support their position but I’m just trying to understand how my role fits into things. I am also a quiet and reserved person who doesn’t like to be in the spotlight. I’ve learned to send my boss updates on my accomplishments throughout the year and to have them added to my end of year performance review.
The issue with work roles came up during a training event for work. We were given a watered down version of the personality test called DISC and I found out that my work style is “C”. We were not given a full description of our work styles but we were given a general handout on how to work with each style. In order to work effectively with the “C” style you should:
-Talk to them about the objective, fact-based aspects of ideas and projects
-Avoid pressuring them for an immediate decision
-Allow them time for careful analysis
-Avoid using forceful and emotional tactics
To me, the “C” style seems to be a combination of the Rebel Role/Invisible Role. To me this a person that likes to think deeply, analyze each issue, and wants to be given the time and space to do so.
What is your work personality? Do you think it affects how others perceive you?
I found a list of 100 writing prompts on emotions here and I’ve decided to write blog posts on each of these emotions. The first “emotion” on the list is Birth. In my first blog post, I wrote how I tested at 100% introvert on the Myers-Briggs test, which makes me an extreme introvert. Since I am so introverted, I often wonder if I was born an introvert or if I’ve become a more introverted person from life experiences.
My parents often tell me stores about how I was quiet and reserved around strangers even as an infant. I only wanted to be held by my parents and I was uncomfortable around their friends. I even have baby photos of their friends holding me and I always look like I’m about to cry. As a child, I enjoyed one and one activities and I never liked group activities. This meant that going to child birthday parties or large social events was something that I didn’t look forward to doing. As much as I preferred to be around my immediately family, I still needed my own space and moments of solitude.
From elementary through high school I was bullied and I had difficulty forming friendships with others. These experiences had a profound impact on my life and they have a lot to do with how I interact with others even today. Being bullied made me withdraw deeper inside myself because of the hurt and pain that I was going through. I learned to embrace being alone and to trust only myself. Since I had difficulty making friends, I learned that not everyone is going to accept me for the person that I am. I take my time getting to know others and I’m not immediately trusting of everyone.
I believe that my introverted personality started at birth but that I probably became even more introverted because of my life experiences. Regardless of the reasons, I’m learning to accept myself more and more each day.
Do you think you were born an introvert or have life experiences also played a part in shaping your personality?
I am currently reading “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. According to Wikipedia, a “highly sensitive person (HSP) is a person having the innate trait of high psychological sensitivity.” I’ve always felt that I was more sensitive than other people to noise, touch, emotions, and moods. I read this book a few years ago and at the time I was trying to “find a cure” for this trait because I really felt that I was overly sensitive about things and I felt that something was wrong with me. This time I’m reading this book to be more accepting of myself. I want to understand this trait and to view this trait in a more positive way. Each chapter of this book has different exercises that you can do to help you reflect and I plan to share some of my reflections on this blog.
There is a self-test at the beginning of the book that asks 23 true or false questions to help you identify with whether or not you are a HSP. I answered true to 20 questions. According to the test instructions, if you answer true to 12 or more questions then you are likely a highly sensitive person. There are many traits that are listed in the self-test that make me a highly sensitive person but the traits that I’ll speak about below are the ones that I strongly identify with
- I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment – I always pick up on very subtle changes in my environment that most people don’t seem to notice at all. I’m very attuned to what is going on around me even when I don’t seem like I am.
- Other people’s moods affect me – This is a huge trait for me and it’s something that I have to deal with everyday. I take in the moods of others and when someone is in a negative or a really bad mood then it affects my mood in a negative way. In order to maintain my own mood, I try to stay away from people who are constantly angry or bitter because I know that their moods will affect me too much.
- I tend to be very sensitive to pain – I can’t take a lot of pain and something as simple as a paper cut can feel very painful. Whenever I got to the doctor, and especially to the dentist, I have to make them aware of my sensitivity to pain.
- I have a rich, complex inner life – I live in my head and this is where my creativity and deep thought comes from.
- I am made uncomfortable by loud noises – Loud noises really bother me and this probably explains why I have a fear of thunder.
- I am deeply moved by the arts or music - There is a deep sensation that I feel when I visit a museum, see a dance, or listen to music. There is a profound connection that I make with art and music.
- I startle easily – I’ve always know this about myself but I was not aware that this had something to do with me being a HSP.
- Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me, disrupting my concentration or mood – This is another trait that I didn’t know had something do with me being a HSP. I’ve always said that I must have my meals on time and when I don’t eat at a certain time then I get very, very angry. This is one of the reasons why I always keep crackers at my desk in case I’m not able to each lunch on time.
Quiet, reserved, introverted, creative, sincere
“Are you OK?” I swear this is the most insincere question that the people I work with ask me and I’m asked this question at least twice a week. Why? It’s because I’m not as talkative or as outgoing as the people around me. It’s a question that I’m asked when someone feels that I’m not paying as much attention to them or when I’m not responding in an overly emotional way. I’m a quiet person and this is just who I am. I don’t have time for small talk or gossip and I’d rather sit at my desk and get my work done than to get caught up in office politics. Maybe this seems strange to my co-workers and many of them go out of there way to come into my office to ask if I’m ok.
This question is insincere because it’s not as if they actually care about my well-being or are genuinely concerned that something serious might be going on. Maybe my silence makes them insecure as it does with a lot of people. Not everyone is comfortable with having someone in their presence who talks very little or not at all. This question also implies (in my opinion) that something is wrong with being quiet. One has to be loud and talking all the time to be happy and if a person is quiet then something must be wrong.
In the past, when I was asked this question, I would offer up some kind of excuse for being a quiet person. I would say things like, “I’m really busy” or “I have a deadline”. Not anymore. Now I simply reply, “Yes, I’m Ok” and wait for them to leave. There is nothing wrong with my quiet nature and there is nothing wrong with sitting at my desk and getting work done and I don’t need to offer any excuse for that. I’ve had a few co-workers that I’ve politely requested that they stop coming into my office and asking me if I’m ok. My behavior hasn’t changed from the first day that I’ve started working for this company and there is no reason for them to keep asking me the same question each week.
I find more and more that I’m becoming unapologetically bold in my quest for self-acceptance and in the fact that I want others to accept me for the way that I am as well. Not everyone was meant to be talkative all the time. There are many people in this life, such as myself, who were given the gift of silence and to be a quieter and calmer presence in the lives of others.
I write my blog anonymously and it is not tied to my real name. “Nina” is a nickname used by my family and only they call me by this name so it is perfect to use for this blog since no one else knows me as “Nina”. I didn’t want this blog be attached to my real name because I was concerned about maintaining my privacy. I was also concerned about my employer, certain friends, and even a few family members being able to “google me” and have this blog come up. I wanted to be able to discuss experiences in my life without fear that someone would misunderstand or judge me. This doesn’t mean that no one knows who I really am. Many of my friends and family are aware of and do read my blog.
Writing anonymously does not (at least for me) take away from the authenticity of this blog because everything I discuss is honest and from my heart. Being anonymous has allowed me to openly discuss and admit things that I wouldn’t normally admit and I’m able to discuss the truth of my life without worry.
I received this postcard through Postcrossing and I feel it describes me as an introvert. It may be hard to read what is written at the bottom of the card so I’ll quote it here”
“Love Solitude. Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that dry up”.
I think the English is a little weird and it should probably say: Love Solitude. Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where I renew my springs that dry up. I think that many people still don’t understand why an introverted person needs alone time and that quote sums it up perfectly.
When I first joined Facebook, I only had two friends for the longest time and I never even bothered to check it. Little by little more and more of my friends and family began to join and I started to check it more. As more people I knew joined, it became exciting to read their status updates and view their photos. I found it to be a really good way to keep in contact with my friends and family that I don’t see regularly. I began to notice that I was spending more and more time on Facebook until it got to the point where I was checking it far too often. These days, I’m not sure how I really feel about Facebook. I’m more annoyed with it than anything. Yet, I still can’t get up the courage to delete my page even though there are days when I feel like I should.
One of the things that kind of bothers me is how people are able to look at your page and see who your friends are. I’m not sure why that bothers me but it does. I’ve had several people make comments about looking at my page and how they went through my friends list and were surprised that I was friends with a certain person. It just made me uncomfortable so I’ve now made my friends list private.
Another aspect that has bothered me is how frequent people update their status. It’s as if they have to share every single thing they do during the day and night. I’m not interested in reading every single boring thing that someone has done all day. This has also lead to the aggravating issue of how there is the expectation that you will announce every important life event on Facebook. Now when I tell one of friends something important in my life, they immediately ask me if I’ve announced it on Facebook. That question upsets me because I don’t feel like I have to share every single major life decision over Facebook.
More and more I’m beginning to feel like Facebook is a time-waster and I need to learn how to use it more to my advantage if I’m going to keep my profile up. Otherwise, I should just delete it and save myself the irritation.
From The Daily Post: How many friends can a person have? How many good or close friends do you think a person can have? What happens if they try to maintain more than that? Is there a fixed number, or are there things a person can do to be connected to more people? What about social networks like Facebook and Twitter?
I think that the number of close friendships a person can have depends on the person and how they define friendships. Some people are able to maintain large circles of friends and some aren’t. I’m not the type of person that can maintain a large group of friends. I think my quiet nature and the fact that I like to spend a lot of time alone prohibits me from having a large circle of friends and I’m fine with that. I’m happy with the intimacy that comes from only knowing a small group of people. When it comes to how close I may be to someone, there are “levels of closeness” that I would use to describe my relationships with others.
The people who I am closest to are the people who are a part of my inner circle and they include my immediate family and my two best friends. These people are the closest relationships that I have and the ones that I value the most. When it comes to my two best friends, I’m extremely lucky to have these two people in my life. We’ve known each other since childhood and there is a level of comfort and understanding that I have with them that I don’t have with any of my other friends. There is a bond that goes beyond words and I don’t have to explain myself to them and they don’t have to explain themselves to me. We just know.
The second level of closeness would be my friends. I probably have about 25 – 30 people who I consider my friends. My relationship with each friend is different and there are some friends that I’m more closer to than others. An interesting fact is that besides my two best friends, I really don’t have many friends from my childhood. The majority of my friends are people who I met in college and after college.
The next level is acquaintances. These are people who I’m friendly towards or that I see on a daily basis but I’m not close to nor do I consider them friends. As a rule, the people I work with are acquaintances. I’ve learned the hard way that “work friendships” aren’t always a good idea.
The final level would be strangers and these are people who I have no relationship with at all. That doesn’t mean that a stranger can never become an acquaintance or a friend. One of the best things in life is meeting someone you don’t know and possibly building a friendship with that person.
When it comes to social networks, I only use Facebook for friends and family. All of the people who are my friends on Facebook are people who I know and that I talk to. As you can imagine, I have a very low number of Facebook friends. with Twitter, I’m more open about who I follow and who follows me. I mostly use it to let others know when I’ve posted something to my blogs.
I have used a few online dating services and have been unsuccessful with meeting anyone online for many reasons. I’ve tried some paid online dating sites such as Eharmony and Match.com as well as few free sites.
When I tried Eharmony, I had to take a personality test in order to sign up and I “failed” the test. Basically, they must not have liked my answer because I got some kind of e-mail telling me they weren’t able to match me with anyone at that time. I waited a year and then I took the personality test again and this time I “passed” and they were able to match me with people. The personality test actually turned me off because I can be really bad at taking them. There were plenty of times when the answer that I would give to a question wasn’t even one of the options, so I just picked the best one which didn’t always reflect my true personality. I believe this is what happened with the Eharmony personality test. Neither of the results, from the two times that I took the test, were an accurate analysis of my personality. Subsequently, I didn’t like any of the people I was matched with and I quit using the site after a few months.
With the other websites that I used, I also had a hard time connecting with people and this mimics my situation in real life. I don’t easily connect with every single person I meet and I never expected that I would magically find a bunch of guys that I would connect with. I’m also an extreme introvert and I was upfront and honest about that aspect of my personality. There are negative connotations associated with being introverted and I feel like many guys may have been turned off with this aspect of my personality.
Another problem I encountered with online dating was that I communicated with a lot of creepy guys. You can meet a creepy person on the street but there seemed to be a lot of desperate guys on these sites. Many wanted me to immediately give them my cell number so we could text offline. They also wanted my personal e-mail to communicate with me without using the dating sites’ e-mail. I never gave any guy any of my personal information that acted like this and I was disturbed by their behavior. They were way too pushy and overbearing which are not qualities that I’m looking for in a potential partner.
I’m also not in a big hurry to be in a relationship. I think because I’m not actively looking to find someone serious, then I’m not really committed to the whole process. There were plenty of times when I never responded to people who may have been potential mates simply because I didn’t have time or I was busy with other things so I may have missed out on opportunities. At this point in my life, I’m happy being single and living life the way I want.
Even though I wasn’t successful with online dating, I feel that people should try it at least once just to see if it’s for them. I do believe that people can make genuine connections with others using these services but it’s just not for me.