Can an introvert do PR?

Suanie, Reta and me Omnia mutantur, nihil interit – Everything changes, Nothing is lost

It’s been a rollercoaster week. As my spiritual mentor says, sometimes it’s better to jump first and fear later. So I’ve pretty much immersed myself into PR and taken the 180 degree turn in stride.

There were comments I was unnaturally super-perky and happy at the Nokia 5800 event, one I attended as a guest instead of media.

The thing is, most people who know me know I’m very much introverted. I do like people, and have a tendency towards empathy and compassion but to be honest, crowds can overwhelm me and I value my solitude. Which can confuse people who’ve seen the quiet, reserved me and then have to deal with Ms. Suddenly Sunshine. Really I’m just a dog in a cat’s body – I’ll be skittish as a cat at first but when my guards are down, I’m as affectionate as a golden retriever.

Again I find the MBTI my best way to explain my duality (bold parts are my own):

“ (INFJS)… sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long- term friends and family…at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers". As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood.” – from the INFJ profile by Marina Margaret Heiss.

It’s just my inability to pretend to give a damn about people. I never pretend. I can’t fake insincerity to save my life; yes, I can be snarky and have an evil sense of humour. But when I ask you if you need a drink, and if you’re feeling all right, it’s because I really do worry if you’re cold, tired or hungry. And if I don’t ask you, doesn’t mean I don’t care either. I could just be feeling tired, preoccupied or emotionally overwhelmed at that precise moment. Faked politeness and niceties aren’t built into my DNA, unfortunately.

When I ask you how you are, I really do want to know. But I’ve been around enough to understand that most people ask because they don’t know what else to say. So my default answer is “Doing OK, thanks.”

And to answer the question and Nigel’s qualms…I really was happy at the Nokia event. Had been waiting on the phone to launch forever, a lot of my friends in tech media and the blogosphere were there, I love Nokia’s reps who have always been warm and fun to talk to and of course, I love the Texties. Not to mention it’s been an amazing week where work is concerned.

I have God, my loved ones, my health and a lot to do and be excited about. So maybe my heart still bleeds a little in the middle of the night. But I can’t dwell on loss forever; in the darkness, I can still smile at the stars.

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