Communication is not something that I am particularly good at, which makes me seem awkward to some. Not in the way that I do not like to talk to people or be around friends, it is just that I am a person who chooses to say few words throughout the day. Solidarity and silence have been two concepts that have been with me for many years, and I feel that I have honed in on mastering these them. I know that I am introverted; it is something that I observe about myself everyday. I have learned to live with not being able to always say my thoughts out loud unprovoked, or without somebody interrogating me to speak up. Not only have I done that, but also, what I observed on Saturday, and everyday, is that I have learned to use my personality in an effective way.
Being so introverted and shy can actually, I have learned, bring out a lot from yourself and from others who interact with you. People who know me know that whenever I say something, it will be what I am actually thinking, because I won’t, and for some reason, can’t, expend the energy to say more than what I am comfortable with. Along with being introverted, I also have a problem with eye contact and where to put my hands.
As people came up to me on Saturday, I noticed that as I talked to them, my eyes always began to wander. I do make eye contact, but as conversations grow deeper, I feel uncomfortable staring into somebody’s eyes for too long of a time. My hands go from in my pockets, to at my side, to fixing my hair, to even faking fixing my backpack. These are things I did with almost every conversation that I had, and it happens on a daily basis. As far as content of conversation and what I actually say to people, people always say I’m too polite. My voice is always soft and low, and I always walk at the same pace, no matter what kind of rush I am in. I observe too many things in my mind: what the clouds look like, how the trees are blowing in the breeze, which bricks got stolen the night before, and what I’m going to do after class is over. Many times I’ll be so caught up in observation that I won’t even hear people who are calling my name.
My best format of communication is silence, which may sound weird. Silence is powerful, and when used right, can speak louder than words. Most of my friends gravitate towards me when they need to talk, and when they do, silence is all they need to hear. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to who will not interrupt or say anything, someone who can just be there to bounce things off of. And when the time is right, what ever you say after silence, after thought, always seems more sincere then just shouting it in their faces or spelling it out for them in bright, neon colors. People feel comfortable in a silent and sincere setting, and that is where I feel most comfortable. I still don’t say many things in that setting, but with silence, there is a special way that you can connect with people so that you need not say many things, but what little you say is not just sufficient enough, but can sometimes be more than deep conversation.
This even happened on Saturday when one of my friends wanted to talk about something in her life. After about twenty minutes of her besieging me with her strong words, I let her cool down for a couple minuets, then just said how I felt and didn’t say only what would be easiest for her. I don’t have many conversations throughout the day, however, the ones that I do have, I make them count.
As a student leader on campus, sometimes the upfront, outgoing leader is not going to notice the little things that people like me go through or show through facial expressions, such as subtle sadness in the face or secluding themselves from conversation and from the group. On trips, like the climbing trip I went on Sunday, I can pick out those kids, relate to them, and use what we are comfortable with to help them out.
As far as texting, I do text, but what I noticed is that I don’t say much. I try to use as little words as possible, just out of personality and habit. The same goes with Face Book; I only go on to see if someone has contacted me, then I do other things with my life.
For my one hour, I chose to do something that makes me feel comfortable: music. Music is a way that I can express my feelings and think about important things in my life. I didn’t listen to music electronically, but I played my acoustic guitar for an hour. Writing and playing music has always been my way of getting out feelings in me. I relate to myself more than I do when I’m out and about. I’m able to think about inner feelings and relate my mood and thoughts into notes on a fret board: fast, aggressive when I’m mad, jazzy when I’m happy, and slow, melodic when I’m feeling down. And when people talk to me while I’m playing, I’m always myself. I don’t change just because I don’t use technology, without technology is actually where I am most comfortable. Going back from not using technology, I still don’t make any changes. Technology is not a necessity for me, just used for efficiency and communication, so my actions around that technology never change. Being an outdoor leader, things like solidarity in nature are among my favorite things in the world, and sometimes, coming back into civilized world takes me a few days to acclimate back to its chaos and demands. I am still that shy kid who doesn’t know where to put his hands during a conversation.
Silence and solidarity are two very undermined concepts for communication, and they concepts that I have learned to accept and use effectively. It is not possible for me to put myself out there and be outgoing, and I have accepted that because it is not comfortable for me. So I will continue to observe how I interact, and in doing that, I will understand myself better, and learn that being introverted isn’t a disadvantage, or think of myself as awkward, but just another way of effective communication.