Friday, February 11, 2011

Introverts....I don't get it. (ghost writer)

Happy Friday to all of you.

I called that dentist that was rumored to be closing his doors (I had a friend call me and tell me I should reach out to him). I don't have a cell number or anything, so I just called his office.

It was early, like 7:30am, and much to my surprise, the office number worked and he had his regular message on it. I don't know how these things work. Do they keep the number for awhile? Is he still trying to keep his head a float? Now do I need to call him? I feel for the guy. And it is real awkward thinking about what to say but...

"Dentistry from the Heart" is right around the corner again; we are doing it March 4th this year. If you are new to the blog, "Dentistry from the Heart" is a day when we open our doors to serve anyone that needs dental care for free. We have 8 operatories in our office that we fill with dentists and see as many patients we can from about 6:30am to about 4:30pm. Last year we saw 132 patients.

We try to make it fun. We ask local restaurants to donate food for the volunteers. We have churches set up in the parking lot and BBQ all day. We have a DJ that plays music in the parking lot. We have local people, who are not patients, ask if they can help. It is truly a community event. This year a radio station asked if they could bring their van and broadcast from here. That should be fun.

These ghost writers have the craziest stories. We all have been here. Lets get right to it.

I went to this party recently, and a lot of my family was there, including some of my cousins. Now, the extrovert gene is not rampant through my extended family. In fact, this cousin that I am going to talk about is very reserved. She would come into the house and not say hello, she is so quiet. I even asked my mom if she didn't like me because she would come into my house and not say anything.

"No, she is just quiet," my mom would say. This blog is going to be about being quiet or shy or introverted or whatever you want to call it.

She and I don't know each other too well because they have always lived out of town and she is considerably younger than I am (I think she might be 24 years old). She is now engaged and at this party with her new fiancée. At one point in the evening, it was just the three of us in a room, so I started to strike up some conversation.

I asked him about where he went to school and I got a one word answer. I asked him about his degree and I got a one word answer. I asked him about where he was living and I got a one word answer. I asked how the two of them met and it was the same thing. This went on for about 10 more questions and I got about a sum total of 15 words. I knew where this was headed, so I stopped.

When I saw my mom again I said, "I didn't think Maria would ever find someone as quiet as her, but I think she actually found him." I told her the story about me trying to get to know him and him having none of it. She said that it is hard to come into someone's home that you don't know and be indoctrinated into a new family.

"Yeah," I said, "especially when someone from the family tries to get to know you and you won't answer his questions."

Come on now, I get being shy (no, I don't, but humor me here). I get how a big loud Italian family could intimidate you. But, we are all adults here. Twenty-four is an adult, and when someone talks to you you are supposed to talk back.

If you have kids, you know how they can be spacey. They are watching TV or playing on their GameBoy (I know they don't call it a GameBoy anymore but I don't know the new games) and some adult is talking to them and they are ignoring the adult. The parent should say, "Billy, an adult is talking to you. Put that game down and talk to them."

Or when a teenager is getting their teeth cleaned, and you come into the room for a recare check and say, "Hey Tommy, how the heck are you?"

And they say something like a grunt. And you say to your staff after they leave, "That kid is a punk."

Now what happens when they are 24? Hey, you are an adult. You are a college graduate (in psychology, which was one of the one word answers I got out of him). You are in the big leagues now. When an adult is talking to you and you don't talk back, you are flat-out being rude.

You are telling me, "I don't give a crap about you and I don't want you in my life at all. And while I am thinking about it, bug off."

The money world is mostly about relationships. When you interview for a job, you are going to have to talk to people. You are going to have a boss that is going to want to talk to you. You are going to have colleagues that are going to want to talk. If you are selling something, hey guess what? Yep, you are going to have to talk. If you want to be any sort of leader you have to talk to people. And with this in mind, a short conversation with your future cousin-in-law doesn't see like a big deal.

Now, again I know that everyone isn't a loud extrovert like me. And everyone doesn't have to be like me (as awesome as it is). Do we have some introverts in the audience? Are you happy being quiet?

Do you know you are quiet and wish you were more talkative? (I am not talking about being able to sit on a beach and read a book and let all your cares go.
Even I love doing that. I am talking about being uncomfortable talking to people you don't know.) Is this something you had to grow out of?

I know I am sounding so pompous and ignorant, but I don't know too many introverts.
And the craziest thing is I think my daughter might be an introvert (especially because both my wife and I are high extroverts and so are both of her brothers).

I am looking forward to your feedback.

I am glad I am not the only one with crazy stuff going on.
It is going to be a bball weekend for me. I am going to the Gator bball game tomorrow and then the Magic vs The Lakers on Sunday. Have a great weekend.



Hannah said...

I'm an extrovert, but I have enough introverted friends to know that even they can answer a question in a full sentence or two. A string of one-word answers just sounds rude to me, but maybe he was silently having a heart attack at the same time?

I'll be sure to mention Dentistry from the Heart on Twitter and probably our blog too! I'm not sure a bunch of Floridians will get the whole "barbeque" thing right (Hey, I'm from Texas), but it sounds like a lot of fun for the community!

kaz said...

you, sir, are a saint!...ok, formerly a saint, since you're not catholic anymore ;)

i would have managed 3 questions. max. then would have found the fridge and stayed close to the beers for the rest of the night.

i sat on a board once where we had to do a Myers-Briggs test to see each board member's personality type. thinking was that it would help us as a board. out of 14 dentist, 12 were introverts! and the MB test? didn't help. just made us 2 extroverts stick out and KNOW that we stuck out. :)

happy weekend!

Elizabeth said...

I'm sort of on the border of introverted and extroverted... but I'll tell you, as someone who is pretty shy, especially in a crowd, I could hug anyone who starts talking to me. Starting a conversation is the hardest part for me.
The one word answer thing is pretty lame.

Ethan said...

I am an introvert. All this means is that I begin to lose energy quickly when talking to people I don't know too well. I know how to interact and talk with people just fine - I just lose energy quickly while doing so and often don't go out of my way to engage new people I haven't had the chance to be introduced to. Sometimes this can make me seem arrogant or like I don't care about others but that's not the case. Once I get to know someone I can talk all day long and they don't zap my energy. But until that point my battery drains pretty quickly and I need to be alone to get re-energized.

If I could change that fact about my personality I probably would. It seems to be an extrovert's world out there!!

I don't think it's accurate to associate the word introvert with your experience talking to this person. That seems to be something else entirely as I'd like to think most people don't think I'm a stick in the mud conversationally...but perhaps I am and just don't know it! :-)

gatordmd said...


Very good points. Okay maybe this ghost writer was a little chapped at this particular person and wanted to put all introverts in the same category.
I don't necessarily think being an introvert is bad. And if you are an introvert you don't have to go and change who you are.
I like a lot of introverts and I think they like me. Because I try and break down their walls (much like this guy).

And I think you are right that once shy people warm up to someone they talk and talk and talk.
This is what is sounds like went on with this guy. He was trying to warm up to the fiance and nothing.

Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I'm an introvert. I'm 37, a pathologist (medical doctor), and I HATE talking to people I don't know, and most of the people I do know. I don't know what goes on in the heads of other introverts, but I just freeze up. I'm anxious, I worry so much about saying something stupid that I think and rethink everything before I say it, and often end up not saying anything. It sucks. Be grateful you don't have social anxiety. Interviewing for jobs in the past was awful for me, and I'm great at what I do. I am just slow to warm up.

I don't know what was going on in this situation with your family, but some people truly are just not skilled at social banter. It's not always rudeness.

Anonymous said...

As an introvert, I can attest that brain freeze is not rudeness. Remember that social interaction is exactly that, an interaction. Even if your perception was that the person was rude, his probably was that he was in a cop station under the spotlight and being interrogated! The more the interrogator pushed, the more he withdrew. Someone else may have had better luck than the interrogator. I have trained myself well on one-on-one interaction for my practice but avoid parties etc like the plague. It took 5 years of practice before I could get enough nerve to begin presenting for my AGD mastership after finishing my fellowship, even with only 3 persons listening and an area where I was an expert. It is a characteristic that I would change if I could, but as I get older, it becomes even more pronounced. Please remember that not all people have had good experiences with social interaction and that one conversation at a party that is probably their worst nightmare is not a fair evaluation of them as a person. Time to practice tolerence and patience! Catch them again in an almost alone situation where they feel confident and you will probably see a totally different person. Cindi MAGD

gatordmd said...

I always enjoy your comments.
I feel your thoughts are always very thought out and you articulate them.
I feel like social interaction is something I take for granted.
I so appreciate where you are at.
Thanks for the comments

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