Talking to Strangers

My internal mindset is a poor reflection of reality, particularly when it comes to myself. This creates a constant need for perspective that is reinforced every time someone calls me an extrovert.

Because to me, they guy who writes 500 words a day, who keeps his nose in a book, enjoys building spreadsheets to track my goals, who grew up with like 1 friend at a time and who literally played dungeons & dragons is a textbook introvert. But my friends and colleagues see a very different view.

They see David, first to raise his hand and ask (or answer) a question. David, ready to dive into a networking event and meet new people. David, unafraid to get called up onstage and draw/dance/sing etc at an event. David who tries to be everywhere and ends up being double or triple booked. They see a very outgoing and extroverted David.

What people don’t know is that I ask or answer a question because I want to understand even more. That I network well because I forced myself to go to events and not to leave until I got 1 person’s card … and then 2, and then 5. That I get up on stage in an attempt to not be called out for being the awkward wallflower. That I double-book myself so I can keep things surface level because *whoops, got to run*.

That being said, the more and more I experience other people and thing about my extroversion I find that my close friends are right. I am extroverted. I see it in the fact that I got up early and stood outside a polling place for 12 hours – literally talking to strangers about voting for my guy. That I went to rallies and made my voice heard. That I protested on the steps of the Supreme Court and went on camera for doing so. The fact that I do all this and as I do it more and more, gain energy from it.

Today I spent most of the day at a customer’s store approaching strangers and asking them to talk for a few minutes, asked them questions, got a feel for their experience, took notes and then moved on to ask someone else. Was I nervous in approaching people? Yes, who isn’t somewhat afraid of approaching the unknown. Did it paralyze me? Hell no. Did it energize me? Yes & No. In the moment I was energized. I was ready to go so much that during the lunch break I made friends with Kristos the Greek running the sandwich shop down the street to the point that if I worked there I could start becoming a loyal customer with a “usual” order in about a week. But when it was over, when we got on the train back to London and I stopped engaging with people I crashed hard.

But even now, 4 hours later, after time to level-out I find my base-level energy as being higher than it normally is. While I may have felt crashed (and mentally I was) when I did a mock interview tonight, the interviewer commented on my personality and emotiveness as a core reason why I would get the job (putting my mental farts aside).

Even writing this entry I feel empowered enough to hold off eating dinner and focus on this task. I guess what I’m saying is that my mental picture of myself doesn’t reflect reality. And it isn’t because the world doesn’t see why I do things, its because I don’t see what the world sees. The more I can see the truth instead of my own insecurities, the closer I can get to reality.