Fake It Till You Make It: Reflections on Congregational Awkwardness
I’m an introvert by temperament. According to the well-worn (at least among seminary types) personality inventory, that means I find energy in being alone. Interacting with other people, on the other hand, sucks energy from me.
Being an introvert, on this account of personality types, does not necessarily equate to shyness. Shyness has to do with feelings of awkwardness around other people, while introversion has to do with one’s temperamental preference for the inner-world.
But I’m shy, too. My default response to new situations and new people is awkwardness.
Being introverted and shy, as you might imagine, is a difficult combination when it comes to my line of work. Ministry requires me to be around people more than I would normally choose, if the choice depended upon my natural inclinations. In fact, in seminary the Pastoral Care professor who reviewed my Meyers-Briggs type said, “Derek, less than one percent of ministers have your personality type. So, if you want to go through with this, you have to be aware that ministry is always going to be difficult for you.” Because, you know, people.