The smile of an introvert

There are a lot of unwritten rules, so called norms. One of these is smile. I you get good service or buy a quality product, you are expected to give a smile. Smile is wonderful thing and it is a part of customer service. As a customer perspective it could be hard to smile, if you are not a person who is used to smile as thank you. What lies behind a smile of a slowly warming up person? Is it even real?

One day in a market I saw so great smile from the clerk that my full face turned into a very big smile. The smile just took over me and I felt it inside me trough the heart to the toes. Once I got in to my car where my family was waiting for me, I needed to tell this. I got so good service! Only thing that was different was the clerk’s smile – but it was enough. I wondered that did the clerk had very good day or had she learned that wonderful smile. Can I learn one also?

I’m a strong and authorative introvert (link to my figure). There was a trend in Finland to see more blog posts about introverts in summer ’17 and I wanted to tell my version. As said, introverts do have a world inside their mind. A lot is happening under the surface but only few things gets trough. Being among another people consumes introvert’s energy. For extrovert it gives energy. Introvert wants to get the personal space at the end of the day. Introvert needs rest and load mental battery. This is something that extrovert cannot understand, instead label introverts as unsocial creatures. It is very hard to understand how being among others makes one super tired.

Introvert needs to act something that one is not. Introvert reacts inside the mind, not with the face. It is like acting a role, giving the external experience to others. It is very consuming. Many introverts likes to let the face has the basic tone and focus on the matter. In normal meetings and interaction this is not possible. In online meetings it is possible. Once one has acted some role a long time, it get’s easier. The role becomes part of yourself. Introverts need to do this in groups to survive and get accepted – to fulfill the norms of social codex.

Yes I’m smiling. I will get smile in a fracture of a second if you tell dirty joke or a story that needs ability to reason for understanding it. I get very big smile, when adrenaline is going tough my vains. Alcohol gives the same effect. I need very strong stimulus. New and sudden (social) situation does not do the trick, instead the opposite. It takes all the energy from me to understand the situation. I have learned a smile. First it looked more like grin but nowadays I think it passes the Turing’s test. It is survival skill that I don’t look like a ghost in the middle of an important situation.

When I smile, I think about your feelings. I want to be polite. If I ask how are you and my face goes to basic mode – it is only because I’m concentrating what you are saying. I concentrate so much that I forget to maintain the smile. I care even if I don’t always smile. And when you know me, you can see my real smile – no matter it was on my face or not.

Originally written in Finnish 2.6.2017