The library sector is filled with introverts.
And I am an extrovert. An extrovert librarian.
It can be tough being an extrovert surrounded by introverts and working with them every day. I am well aware that I scare the hell out of some people with my sheer presence and that some people actually try to avoid me (it’s true!). I don’t choose to be an extrovert, it comes naturally and I don’t apologise for it even though on occasion I feel as though I should.
Here is what I would like my introverted colleagues to know:
- I need my workplace to be fun. Yes that means sometimes I will sing, dance, stomp my feet and flap my arms, literally.
- I need social interaction and conversation to be productive. I find it boring and uninspiring to work in a quiet office.
- I want to get to know you as a person and will ask you questions about your personal life.
Here is what I would like introverts of the world to know:
- Extroverts still get nervous and anxious. Sometimes this manifests as being even louder/chattier/bouncier/crazier.
- Sometimes we have quiet days and this does not necessarily mean there is something wrong.
Being an extrovert surrounded by introverts can bring with it an array of situations that make me uncomfortable. Did you know…
- At every training session or workshop I get nominated by the group to do the talking/presenting. “You’re an extrovert, you do the talking.” Newsflash! Most of the time I don’t want to do this any more than you do.
- I get ‘picked on’ at meetings/training/workshops to answer questions when no-one else responds. I probably don’t have anything to say or I would have already said it.
- I get nominated to do a bunch of stuff no-one else wants to do “because you’re an extrovert”.
You should know that it can be very exhausting being ‘UP’ all the time and this means that I need down time too. Sometimes I hide away from people for days on the couch binge-watching Netflix and having no contact with anybody. It’s just the way I work and it has taken years for me to understand this pattern.
Finally, I would like to say it is OK to be an introvert, it is OK to be an extrovert and it is OK to be anywhere along the spectrum. The more we understand each others strengths the better we can work together.