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The Fine Art Of Not Standing Out

An introvert’s dilemma

By BrianPublished 7 months ago 3 min read
Source:[email protected]/26860502768 -

I’d say one of my best people-skills is directly attributed to being socially awkward. As an introvert, conversation is a pressure point and can be a little exhausting. I’m pretty adept at steering the conversation away from myself though.

I’ll answer direct questions and such, but at every available opportunity I’ll try to deflect the proverbial spotlight onto someone else, because I really am not comfortable when I’m the centre of attention. I do it so that someone else can take charge of the conversation and I don’t struggle with the anxiety of being the focus of other’s attention so much.

But it’s not necessarily a bad habit either, I’m still a part of the conversation but it’s not all about me.

In a group, if I see that someone has something to say but isn’t keen on interrupting, I can palm off the attention. They get an opportunity to throw in their contribution and I get to slink back to the background without reaching for an excuse to exit the conversation.

“Hey, it’s a bit like when you…” or, “remember when that happened to Bill?” or, “That reminds me, didn’t you have a similar thing?”or, “What did you make of that?”. There’s a billion ways to pass the buck or change the topic to shift the attention to someone else.

It’s not really for their benefit, it’s just an opportunity for me to fade out. If they’re eager to talk, it’s just easier to pass on the microphone to them. The attention is much less likely to return to me that way and I can return to the sidelines for a while.

When it’s just one-on-one interaction, this generally means the other party has a lot of opportunity to talk about themselves. People really like that.

And they like a “good listener” so they can go through what’s on their mind. I find most people don’t often take the centre stage in a conversation and feel like they don’t get a chance to speak, so they really appreciate both the opportunity and the audience. Again, it’s not really about them though, it’s just easier for me if I’m not stressing about driving the conversation.

I’m just dodging the attention when it boils down to it, I’m just trying not to be too obvious about it.

If you don’t get the balance right however, it’s also quite possible to come off as shifty, arrogant, stand-off-ish, bored, haughty, or just plain rude. You’ve still got to be social and read the room. It doesn’t do any good to push everyone away.

And I have been called a snob more than once, even though I try hard not to come off that way. Some people can read your behaviour very negatively.

Keep in mind that others may not appreciate the handball as well. And some people don’t like it when you’re too evasive, sometimes you’ve got to take some heat for a while or be more subtle with your transfer.

You can learn a lot about people this way as well. It might not be my intention to be a good listener for example, but I end up observing more just the same. It’s not like I don’t want to be involved, I just don’t want the attention on me for too long so I do still follow the conversation closely.

So I’ve basically turned my introversion into good people-skills. It is a little selfish as it’s purely for my own benefit, though it does leave a positive impression with most people I converse with.

With the right approach, I can maintain a presence in the conversation without taking centre stage so I don’t burn out too quick and I can socialise for longer.

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About the Creator


Doing my best to keep on keeping on. I’m a quiet guy with a quiet life and I like it that way.

I like spending time with my family, cooking, fantasy fiction, video games, anime and archery.

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