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Inverted at Work? - a plea for advice


Curti

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10 hours ago, CassieQ said:

If I was in a sales job, then I would ask something along the lines of "Have you heard about such and such product?  Let me tell you some more about it."  If someone catches me off guard with a question (my boss loves to do this too) I usually repeat it back to them to give myself from extra time to think about it and compose myself.  

 

I have a very extroverted guy at work who I admire for getting people to open up.  He always opens up with questions that invites people to talk about themselves.  People LOVE to talk about themselves.

 

I will sometimes script a conversation if I know I have to talk to someone important and I recite it to myself or to a friend.  Also if you don't like face to face conversations, use email or phone calls if it is appropriate.    

 

A lot of my job is in sales... and it’s a very high intensity, everyone can see you at any moment. I mean we have visitors the likes of Anna Wintour or Alessandro Michele. It’s a lot of very powerful people in an industry that I’m dissanchanted with. I think the loss of passion derives partly from the job, but has been coming on for a couple years so it doesn’t get full credit.

 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of scripting in my head prior to interaction. I do this when I need to make a speech and I’ve been told I’m a very captivating speaker with a vat of knowledge. In a spur of the moment speech, however, I flounder. 

 

I admire excellent conversationalists.

I guess i dont get is how? How does he ask the question? When? And what question? And why that one? And what intonation does he ask it? And how does he listen to the response? And how does he follow up with interesting things to say? How is the dialogue continued from the question? Or am I just over thinking it? And how do I get my brain to stop analysing every shift of a foot, every influx of a sentence? Every moment of silence so I can just say something! Conversation is a very taken for granted skill set.

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8 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

I'm a fellow introvert, so I feel your pain.  

 

...rather a more quiet type who knows how to call a meeting to order and tell people to quiet down when needed.  I'm a good delegator and organizer and know how to make matter-of-fact statements with confidence, even if I don't feel it.  This was not always the case.  ... I've since learned how, even though it still causes me a lot of anxiety.  

 

Asking open-ended questions designed to get people to talk about themselves is a great idea too.  As Cassie said, people love to talk about themselves.  

 

 As far as your second question... I'll tell you what I tell my students.  Fake it.  You may walk into a meeting feeling like you don't know anything and it's going to be like walking a gauntlet, but keep your head up and speak with confidence and authority, even if you don't feel it inside.  I know... easier said than done.  And I know how exhausting it is, too.  But you may need to do that until you find your ideal job where you won't have to.  

Introverts Unite!!!

 

Im always impressed with the ability to make statements and do things even if you don’t feel confident. It’s not anything you can learn other than grinding. You just have to do it. I just have to stand tall and make those statements and I recognize the value in that.

 

Like... would it be weird to memorize open ended questions I can fall back on just in case? Like not silly ones like What are up to today? (I can’t ask another person what they thought of our wet Sumner. I just can’t.) But more divulgent. I always fear that I’m diving in too deep. Like... not everyone wants to tell me their Theory or experience with Block Chain or even care? Or How their Pot Stocks are doing. So What have been some universally good Open ended questions? 🤔 

 

Sometimes... my ideal situation is to tell the boss to shut up because she’s running the employees like cattle. Moral is down, Performance is soft, customers are disenchanted. This is all coorelated! And if you want to improve anything stop talking about day to day numbers (the employee doesn’t care and they don’t benefit from your stores performance, they benefit from their own) sooo start talking about how your employees can feel empowered enough to do their job without the stress of details or unnecessary policies. I’m not quite sure that’s the best way to go about faking it... but I do think you have a point.

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8 hours ago, MacGreg said:

It sounds like you've got a lot of this figured out already. You know your personality traits, your strengths and weaknesses, and you recognize your introverted tendencies. Introverts can be just as beneficial to a company as an extroverted go-getter. However, it's imperative to be placed in a position where you can be most effective. As you said, you excel in areas of analytics, numbers and motivating others. Most introverts have an intuitiveness about people that far exceeds an extrovert's skill at being a "people person". Corporate leaders (real leaders,  not just bullies) understand differences in personalities and use those differences to advance employees, rather than cut them down. The managers you speak of are not leaders. It's time to find a better place of employment. May I ask what your field of study is at college?

 

Val and Cassie both offer great examples of how to cope with being an introvert in an extroverted work environment. This article has some good info, too. I know countless introverts, I have a vested interest in many of them, and I deal with my own introversion. Don't consider it a negative trait; this type of personality is a strong force in society. It's where creativity and compassion reside. Like ying and yang, introverts and extroverts complement one another.

 

I'm studying Economics. I'm very interested in Development Economics and International Economics. In particular Trade Theory. I love understanding how each country plays a part in the global scale. I'm going to start taking a few computer science courses for application purposes and to be more marketable as well as better adapt to creating economic models. I have years to go before I'll be finished. I am working on getting scholarships and school funding because in an ideal world I could drop to just part time at work/find a much less stressful job. At the moment however... It's full time work and 16 credit hours in school until I can figure out a better option.

 

I LOVE this article. I'm going to save it and reference it further in the future. I don't think it's negative... I guess I need to learn how to communicate my strengths better or in a way that minimizes my weaknesses.

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9 hours ago, Curti said:

 

A lot of my job is in sales... and it’s a very high intensity, everyone can see you at any moment. I mean we have visitors the likes of Anna Wintour or Alessandro Michele. It’s a lot of very powerful people in an industry that I’m dissanchanted with. I think the loss of passion derives partly from the job, but has been coming on for a couple years so it doesn’t get full credit.

 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of scripting in my head prior to interaction. I do this when I need to make a speech and I’ve been told I’m a very captivating speaker with a vat of knowledge. In a spur of the moment speech, however, I flounder. 

 

I admire excellent conversationalists.

I guess i dont get is how? How does he ask the question? When? And what question? And why that one? And what intonation does he ask it? And how does he listen to the response? And how does he follow up with interesting things to say? How is the dialogue continued from the question? Or am I just over thinking it? And how do I get my brain to stop analysing every shift of a foot, every influx of a sentence? Every moment of silence so I can just say something! Conversation is a very taken for granted skill set.

Working full time while taking 16 credits is a lot of work!  Sales positions are tough, so I feel for you.  :hug: I have a friend who's what I consider the perfect extrovert.  She's not overbearing, but has an outgoing personality and can walk up to anyone and have their life's story within five minutes.  It's quite amazing to watch.  

 

I think part of the problem with introverts in general, is that we don't like small talk.  We tend to like meaningful conversations that have purpose.  So engaging in small talk can be tantamount to torture sometimes, because we just don't see the point.  I work on improving social skills with a lot of my individuals, and part of that is improving conversation skills.  Your questions at the end are exactly on point.  Being a good conversationalist involves a lot of observation--visual and auditory.  Did they mention going out the night before?  Where?  Are they wearing something that identifies an interest... a tie with spaceships on it or something like that.  Make sure to comment on or acknowledge the other person's statements.  Ask questions to keep the conversation going, or if the topic is dead, introduce another topic. Keeping abreast of current events, movies, TV shows, sports, and having a good, general world knowledge helps with conversation.  I'm not into sports, but I keep up to date on the major things happening with our local sports teams because so many of my individuals are into sports.   Starting with "What do you think about...." is a good way to get someone talking.  Keeping an eye on the other person's reaction is a good thing, since you can gauge their interest level.  If they look bored... end that topic and move on to another one.  Pauses in the conversation are perfectly fine, as long as they don't stretch into awkward minutes.   You can always fall back on talking about the weather. ;) 

 

I hope this helps.  :hug: 

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This may sound a bit odd but think of life as improvisational theatre/comedy. In improv the major concept is "yes, and ...". Your goal is to listen and hear what the other person has said and add to it while also providing them the opportunity to respond in kind. I suspect you already do this with your team without being aware. We call this conversation. Consider that the well known people in your field are far more appreciative of the quiet competent individual than they are of the in your face person because it's the quiet one who is listening and learning. Recognizing a kindred spirit.Many, not all, true extroverts fear being overlooked. Those people you admire for their ability to interact were quite likely just like you. What they have going for them is experience. Your pushy bosses may actually view your quiet competence and success with your team as a threat. They may not have the same knowledge/passion/creativity and so cover for it's lack with "noise" to be successful pr at least feel successful. Relax, and just be yourself. If your team is happy you're golden. What your bosses do or don't is largely out of your control stop worrying about them. Chances are they will remain managers you have a different goal. Focus on that. You want to be the person that others will look at and say ... "I knew him when ... and he was always a great guy. He deserves his success".

I hope I've expressed myself coherently. I'm in the throes of a migraine and sometimes my thoughts become jumbled.

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I think you've gotten a lot of good advice already, so I just thought I'd add my own personal, introvert experience. 

 

It took me quite the while to realize I was an introvert. For a long time, I thought I was shy (which I actually am, but this goes deeper). It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned it's part of who I am. I will never be the life of the entire party, but in a more intimate setting I can be hilarious and reduce people to tears (of happiness). When I feel safe, I can do anything. If I'm in my field of expertise, I can be more assertive than most and have no problems arguing my case. So being an introvert doesn't mean you will never be able to command a room or be the boss.

 

I've been in management for the past five years and I love it. It gives me the opportunity to have one-on-ones with people to help them grow, and  that is so much fun. I can guide them on their way through their work life and perhaps even life. So don't think introversion is an obstacle. It doesn't have to be. That intuition is a powerful thing. 

 

When I hire, I try to find a balance between extros and intros. We all complement each other and a good boss knows this. Though extroverts have an advantage in this world of ours, even here in Sweden (where most are more or less introverted...). So, my advice would be to find your field where you feel at home and a place to do it in. Then you will shine. It sounds as if you already know quite a lot about your preferences and strengths. Build on that and don't let the douchy extros get you down. You have so much to offer and if someone doesn't see what you've got, it's their loss. 

 

Go wreak that quiet havoc!

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You and me sound like we have very similar personalities. Like you, I'm a somewhat introverted person. Like you, I'm not shy and don't mind attention sometimes but not always. At work, a lot of people think I'm more introverted than I really am. I work almost exclusively with married, middle-aged women with kids. Not exactly a demographic a 26 year old guy can relate to easily. Ironically the person I am closest to and relate the most with is a 57 year old, never-married woman with a brash, in-your-face personality of sorts. I don't get it, but we click for whatever reason. Luckily my relatively reserved personality at work doesn't preclude me from showing my competence. When I'm surrounded by friends, at a bar/club, or brunch I'm a much more outgoing and personable person. 

 

For you, you live in a city full of hyper-competitive, brash people who view others as a threat to their own survival. New York is a tough city to survive in, let alone thrive in. I may not live there but I spend enough time up there to get what it's like. You say you're about to leave the job, so my advice would be to just survive until then. You've realized you can't thrive in that kind of environment so it is definitely time to start looking for something new. But....as you know entry level jobs are incredibly competitive in New York because everyone and their mother is applying for them as a way to get a foothold in New York. So if I were you I wouldn't quit until you had a guaranteed new job lined up. And you probably know too, entry level jobs treat you like a slave, and that is doubly true for New York. They know they have you by the balls and can replace you in a heartbeat, so finding one that will accommodate a student schedule is probably slim to none. You can pick between money/grades/having a life, but you will probably only get two of the three. 

 

I got let go from my first job after college within a year, and I was basically forced to take another job with lower pay and a much lower level of responsibility. I sucked it up for a year and used that job to survive until I landed at the amazing job I have now. It was competitive and exhausting getting into that job, but it was worth the struggle to get there. There are plenty of jobs that value introverted and analytical people. Part of the reason I thrive in teaching is because I have both those traits. You just have to find what you're interested in and compete like hell to prove they should give you a shot. You're going to be competing in the most competitive job market in the country, so do something that makes you stand out. :)

 

Welcome to life in BosWash. It can be a real tough bitch sometimes.

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I am an introvert. I prefer to watch from the outside than be involved in the middle. But I’ve shocked my therapists when I’ve described standing up for myself and being very openly Gay when I was homeless and staying in shelters. They could never quite grasp why I was able to do that in that one area, but not in other areas in my life. I did not feel like I could not be Out while homeless (even when I stayed at an extremely conservative fundamentalist-run rescue mission).  ;–)

 

But in other areas, I have never felt it was as vital to me.  ;–)

 

 

I used to work in retail sales. For most of my life, I worked in stores that did not have commission. But my favorite job was selling Macintosh computers in an Apple-authorized chain that wasn’t owned by Apple. We had commission, but it was based on how well the store did, not the individual employees, so things were very cooperative. When that store closed (the holding company decided that, although we were profitable, we weren’t profitable enough and shifted money into a sister company and closed all our stores), another company bought the rights to the name. They opened stores in some of the same locations the previous company operated in. The second company paid commission based on individual sales. Things were much less cooperative and some did not do their share of the grunt work, somehow managing never to shelve incoming merchandise.  ;–)

 

This second company was much less fun to work for even though the work was nearly the same. I could never close sales the way my more aggressive coworkers did. I was much better at helping people figure out what they needed, not just what I thought they should buy. I’m sure I lost most of my sales to the internet.  ;–)

 

 

Basically, what this all boils down to is that if it’s important, you can almost certainly stand up for yourself. The question is whether your current job is important enough for you to make the effort. Only you can decide.

 

And slight changes can make a huge difference in how your workplace feels. Are there similar employers that you could work for? Do you know anyone who already works there? Networking is often the best way to find a new job.

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On 10/19/2018 at 8:04 AM, Valkyrie said:

I think part of the problem with introverts in general, is that we don't like small talk.  We tend to like meaningful conversations that have purpose.  So engaging in small talk can be tantamount to torture sometimes, because we just don't see the point.  I work on improving social skills with a lot of my individuals, and part of that is improving conversation skills.  Your questions at the end are exactly on point.  Being a good conversationalist involves a lot of observation--visual and auditory.  Did they mention going out the night before?  Where?  Are they wearing something that identifies an interest... a tie with spaceships on it or something like that.  Make sure to comment on or acknowledge the other person's statements.  Ask questions to keep the conversation going, or if the topic is dead, introduce another topic. Keeping abreast of current events, movies, TV shows, sports, and having a good, general world knowledge helps with conversation.  I'm not into sports, but I keep up to date on the major things happening with our local sports teams because so many of my individuals are into sports.   Starting with "What do you think about...." is a good way to get someone talking.  Keeping an eye on the other person's reaction is a good thing, since you can gauge their interest level.  If they look bored... end that topic and move on to another one.  Pauses in the conversation are perfectly fine, as long as they don't stretch into awkward minutes.   You can always fall back on talking about the weather. ;) 

 

Ugh... no weather talk. I'd kill myself. However... I do think you're right and I've weirdly been introducing topics that are outside of the traditional small talk tandem the past few days. Success stories? Well one guy I learned is super into the theory Kardashev theory and we talked about that for like an hour! And it was a great conversation. Granted I let him do a lot of the talking too... but isn't that okay? Finding ways to get the other person to talk more so that I don't feel like I'm having to supply the entire conversation.

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33 minutes ago, Curti said:

 

Ugh... no weather talk. I'd kill myself. However... I do think you're right and I've weirdly been introducing topics that are outside of the traditional small talk tandem the past few days. Success stories? Well one guy I learned is super into the theory Kardashev theory and we talked about that for like an hour! And it was a great conversation. Granted I let him do a lot of the talking too... but isn't that okay? Finding ways to get the other person to talk more so that I don't feel like I'm having to supply the entire conversation.

Good topics for conversation usually include family, occupation, recreation and dreams.  Some of my older patients will talk for 20 minutes straight if I bring up their grandkids.

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I used to volunteer with an AIDS organization. One of the things I decided to do was to make an announcement every week at the local Gay community center about the organization. It helped that I knew many of the guys in the audience, but I also felt like I was putting on my ‘AIDS Project’ mask on when I did it. The person making the announcements wasn’t me, it was that other guy, the volunteer!  ;–)

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11 hours ago, Curti said:

 

I've had a lot of success in the past knowing I was "acting" and not even trying. So I do think that's actually a great idea to kind of work with. 

 

I also tried something different yesterday where I preemptively grabbed my boss and told her I had a few hot topics to discuss with her and asked if she had 20 minutes today (which we scheduled out) we can sit at the coffee bar and go over my points. It ended up being extremely productive and I used my talents of being detail organized and planned out, and I didn't feel like I was reacting or playing catch up or defending myself because I was the one that initiated it.

 

I also like that you talked about experience. It seems so simple and I don't know why I have the hardest time getting this concept into my head... but maybe... just maybe... people that are good at interacting/socializing just have more experience doing it. And suddenly it doesn't feel like an impossible goal for me to achieve, but something I can work towards and track progress.

Good for you. None of are created a finished work. We need to grow into ourselves.

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On 10/19/2018 at 2:33 PM, Puppilull said:

I think you've gotten a lot of good advice already, so I just thought I'd add my own personal, introvert experience. 

 

It took me quite the while to realize I was an introvert. For a long time, I thought I was shy (which I actually am, but this goes deeper). It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned it's part of who I am. I will never be the life of the entire party, but in a more intimate setting I can be hilarious and reduce people to tears (of happiness). When I feel safe, I can do anything. If I'm in my field of expertise, I can be more assertive than most and have no problems arguing my case. So being an introvert doesn't mean you will never be able to command a room or be the boss.

 

I've been in management for the past five years and I love it. It gives me the opportunity to have one-on-ones with people to help them grow, and  that is so much fun. I can guide them on their way through their work life and perhaps even life. So don't think introversion is an obstacle. It doesn't have to be. That intuition is a powerful thing. 

 

When I hire, I try to find a balance between extros and intros. We all complement each other and a good boss knows this. Though extroverts have an advantage in this world of ours, even here in Sweden (where most are more or less introverted...). So, my advice would be to find your field where you feel at home and a place to do it in. Then you will shine. It sounds as if you already know quite a lot about your preferences and strengths. Build on that and don't let the douchy extros get you down. You have so much to offer and if someone doesn't see what you've got, it's their loss. 

 

Douchy Extros... hahahah. I love my extroverted friends because I idolize what they offer to the world. It's so amazing to see such an outgoing, want to be friends with everyone kind of personality. It's sort of like magic! I like hearing your experience! I have hope yet!

 

I've noticed I have to really defend the more introverted people on my team. My bosses also don't seem to see the value they provide so I will ALWAYS stand up for them whenever I can.

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On 10/19/2018 at 8:08 PM, TetRefine said:

For you, you live in a city full of hyper-competitive, brash people who view others as a threat to their own survival. New York is a tough city to survive in, let alone thrive in. I may not live there but I spend enough time up there to get what it's like. You say you're about to leave the job, so my advice would be to just survive until then. You've realized you can't thrive in that kind of environment so it is definitely time to start looking for something new. But....as you know entry level jobs are incredibly competitive in New York because everyone and their mother is applying for them as a way to get a foothold in New York. So if I were you I wouldn't quit until you had a guaranteed new job lined up. And you probably know too, entry level jobs treat you like a slave, and that is doubly true for New York. They know they have you by the balls and can replace you in a heartbeat, so finding one that will accommodate a student schedule is probably slim to none. You can pick between money/grades/having a life, but you will probably only get two of the three. 

 

I got let go from my first job after college within a year, and I was basically forced to take another job with lower pay and a much lower level of responsibility. I sucked it up for a year and used that job to survive until I landed at the amazing job I have now. It was competitive and exhausting getting into that job, but it was worth the struggle to get there. There are plenty of jobs that value introverted and analytical people. Part of the reason I thrive in teaching is because I have both those traits. You just have to find what you're interested in and compete like hell to prove they should give you a shot. You're going to be competing in the most competitive job market in the country, so do something that makes you stand out. :)

 

Welcome to life in BosWash. It can be a real tough bitch sometimes.

 

Thank you for giving me a little bit of perspective! I'm constantly reminding myself that I live in Fucking New York City. Like... you don't just walk out the door and have it all figured out without even trying. I'm surrounded by millions of starving people that are all trying to make it big... and... if I do something well, someone down the street can do it a million times better.

 

I think part of that means I have to embrace and access my aggressive side a lot more. Which I am working on as well.

 

And No... I am not leaving this job until I have a new one lined up. And I will not leave this one unless the new job is an internship in my chosen field AND I have enough funding to make it through the rest of my education without starving. In all reality, I may be at my current job a bit longer than I plan or would like to... So! It's time to start recognizing what I can learn from this experience and embrace the challenges.

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On 10/20/2018 at 12:49 AM, droughtquake said:

I am an introvert. I prefer to watch from the outside than be involved in the middle. But I’ve shocked my therapists when I’ve described standing up for myself and being very openly Gay when I was homeless and staying in shelters. They could never quite grasp why I was able to do that in that one area, but not in other areas in my life. I did not feel like I could not be Out while homeless (even when I stayed at an extremely conservative fundamentalist-run rescue mission).  ;–)

 

And slight changes can make a huge difference in how your workplace feels. Are there similar employers that you could work for? Do you know anyone who already works there? Networking is often the best way to find a new job.

 

It's pretty impressive that you are able to be out in such a stressful situation! Brava to you!!!

 

As far as networking... I have a lot of great contacts through the city that I've reached out to and told them I'm exploring the idea of leaving my current company. I mean... some of them can line me up interviews in a heart beat... but if I'm going to leave a management team in a luxury, high profile store, I'm not going to go just anywhere. I guess it's better to be in the right position than just any position.

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Seriously! Thank You everyone for the advice! It really did help and I sort of got a level head over the weekend to sort of calm down after the throes of the stress of it all. I've already put into action a lot of your ideas and I'm seeing mixed results, but I'm at least optimistic about figuring it out. It's not going to change over night and this job will probably never be the right one for me, but at least I can look at growth opportunity rather than just faltering. 

 

I can not express ENOUGH how appreciative of everyone for jumping in and helping out. Like... I wish I could do something in return? I hope, at the very least that you recognize you helped someone that was definitely sinking.

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45 minutes ago, Curti said:

I can not express ENOUGH how appreciative of everyone for jumping in and helping out. Like... I wish I could do something in return? I hope, at the very least that you recognize you helped someone that was definitely sinking.

I don’t know about anyone else, but just thinking about this topic made me think about how I’ve dealt with the issue over the years. I’ve realized that I’ve been very successful at times. But when I’ve had hostile or unsupportive managers, I’ve tended to be passive-aggressive and very unhappy. I work best when my manager trusts me to do my job without trying to micromanaging me.  ;–)

 

I’ve learned that I can function very well as an assistant manager, but being promoted to store manager was a disaster for me and my employer – I’m horrible at motivating others and my employees didn’t respect me enough to follow my directions when I wasn’t there to monitor them!

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1 hour ago, Curti said:

 

Douchy Extros... hahahah. I love my extroverted friends because I idolize what they offer to the world. It's so amazing to see such an outgoing, want to be friends with everyone kind of personality. It's sort of like magic! I like hearing your experience! I have hope yet!

 

I've noticed I have to really defend the more introverted people on my team. My bosses also don't seem to see the value they provide so I will ALWAYS stand up for them whenever I can.

 

Oh, there are plenty of very nice extroverts. I only meant you shouldn't let the not nice ones get to you.

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