Don’t be an introvert

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As we waited for the shuttle to depart from the airport, I said “hello” to the person sitting next to me. He said to me “I don’t speak English” and turned his back on me.

My biggest disappointment are the people who do not try to connect with others, especially overseas.

One of the benefits of travel is connecting with new people from different backgrounds. Moving out of your comfort zone can be extremely enlightening. Other travellers can give advice, tips or help. This guy may have been surprised to learn I spoke his language and I could have helped him with any questions he may have had about our destination! At least, he smiled and said “good bye” as I left the bus. I believe his actions were not from rudeness but shyness or fear.

I know it can take courage to talk to strangers but me saying “hello” has led to friendships that have lasted decades-even with people who cannot speak English!

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  1. While it is a good point that people should be open to conversations from strangers when traveling, you are mislabeling introverts/extroverts. Extroverts can do exactly the same thing that the person next to you did, and conversely, there are a lot of introverts that would probably be willing to engage you in a conversation during that situation!

  2. Some people are introverted some are extroverted, that is just life. You can’t make somebody want to talk to you 🙂

  3. Well at least he responded. I’ve had people looked at me like I had 3 heads because I spoke to them.

  4. This is such a sad post …

    Introverts aren’t necessarily trying to be introverts. Introverts are wired differently from extroverts. Telling someone “don’t be an introvert” is like telling a cat not to be afraid of dogs.

    Introverts (and I am one) get their energy from a different place. Extroverts love social settings, mingling with other people, going out with everyone after work, tailgating, Christmas parties, etc. These types of settings can be literally exhausting for introverts.

    Your implication is that introverts are missing out on something while we travel because we sometimes don’t seize the opportunity to speak with other people we encounter. This is unfortunate. We all benefit from travel in different ways. I enjoy taking pictures of new landscapes, walking down new streets and exploring areas that I’ve never seen, and walks through museums at my own pace. If I had to experience travel the same way that extroverts do, I wouldn’t enjoy it very much. And I would do less of it.

    Introverts still have friends. We just tend to have fewer, tighter friendships than extroverts. There is nothing wrong with that. You might make friends with everyone you meet. I don’t. But I cherish the friendships that I do have.

    Throughout my teenage years and into my twenties, I struggled to understand why I wasn’t happy in settings that seemed to make so many other people happy. I have been much more happy since I realized that it is because I am wired differently and get my energy from a different place than extroverts do.

    I appreciate the intent behind your post, but please understand that we all benefit from travel in different ways.

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