Citizens Talk 15.0

“Are you an introvert? Or an extrovert? Or an extroverted introvert? Or maybe an ambivert? Why so many labels? Why so many questions?

I’m a human being, I like to talk to people but I don’t particularly enjoy going towards a person and talk to them. However, I have no problem whatsoever talking to people who come to me. For example, sometimes I see people who are obviously looking for their way around the city and I wonder if I should ask them if they need help. Usually I end up not helping them because I am too uncomfortable to start the conversation.

The situation is quite different though when a stranger comes up to me. Then, I will gladly talk to them, help them figure out the road to the place where they need to be. Just recently I met two men in Brussels who were looking for the road to the Grand-Place. They had a slight accent while speaking English but I couldn’t figure out which side of the world they were from. So I asked. It turns out they were from Kosovo, they had come to Brussels for a meeting at the European Commission. They were interested in visiting the city but they feared they wouldn’t have enough time. I reassured them by showing the most interesting places on their map and showing that Brussels isn’t really that big.

You may wonder what the difference is between those two situations. The difference is that when another person makes the first step, I know I’m not bothering them in their busy schedule, I know that I am not making them uncomfortable, and I know that they speak a language I also understand. I also don’t like to break the ice because there’s the risk that I will say something wrong. What if this person in fact doesn’t need help? What if I make the wrong joke?

My point is this, why do we need labels? Why does one need to know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert? I ask that question because I wouldn’t know what to answer since it would depend on the situation. I’m Cara. That’s the only label I will accept. “

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