Those darn shells we are supposed to come out of


“You need to live a little and come out of your shell.”

Have you heard that one? Of course you have.

We all have shells, not just us introverts. One of my hippy extrovert wife’s shells is to be with a group of people out in public doing stuff. She’s weird though.

We can’t come out of our shell any more than a turtle can survive without one. It’s our DNA. It’s our wiring.

It’s our protection.

It’s our comfort.

Our shells can be as different as a snowflake. For you, they may be sunglasses or headphones. For someone else it might be their smartphone or tablet. Most of us have multiple shells depending on the situation.

A few years ago I was at a conference down in San Antonio. Being from Montana, I have no issue walking around by myself at night, but I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I was there. Or should I say uncomfortable.

So out came my cell phone. I wasn’t on the phone with anyone, but I was having a conversation on it nonetheless. In fact, I was able to solve some issues back home with that conversation. Ok, I still had to deal with them but if anyone heard me talking they would have assumed I was really doing some good work on the phone.

No one asked me for anything as I walked through the crowds.

Another one of my shells is the official Taker of Pictures and Video. Those of us that don’t like having our pictures taken can relate to being on the other side of the camera lens. It can be a little empowering.

I also have another shell that may not be thought about too often. That is a microphone. You see, I tend to do a lot of public speaking. That’s one reason that people would not guess that I am an introvert. When I am on stage, in front of a group, talking about what I know about, I am fine. I am not vulnerable. I can anticipate what questions may be asked. I am in control. I am prepared.

But don’t expect the same person at a party afterwards…unless I am talking about the same things I talked about on stage.

Now I am vulnerable, naked.

I tend to hang on to an extrovert that can deflect to themselves. If that doesn’t work, I stuff my mouth full of food. I can eat that same piece of food for 20 minutes if I need to. One hour at a party is usually much more exhausting that speaking on stage for three hours.


So why would I want to “Come out of my shell?” I can’t be the only person who thinks that if I were to go to prison I would prefer solitary confinement over the general population. And not just because of that whole soap thingy either.

Anyway, what are some of your shells that keep you sane? Shoot me a message and I promise I won’t call attention to you.

Seriously…I promise.

~The Professional Introvert

One thought on “Those darn shells we are supposed to come out of

  1. “Official Taker of Pictures”…that was my Dad, though I’m sure he would be horrified if you were to call him an Introvert. He wasn’t great at being “part of” family occasions, but by God he facilitated them! Most years he took me and my brother on long walking holidays, did all the organizing and the driving, carried the heavy packs while me and my brother were walking and talking 20 metres ahead or 20 metres behind…he was in his element. That was the good stuff.

    Work can be a shell for me. Sometimes it makes me productive but can drift into “looking busy”…going round in circles doing the things that don’t really need to be done. Always seems to leave a good impression though! Smoking is one of my least healthy shells. You’re never alone with a King Size, and it’s a great way to look “otherwise engaged” at social functions.

    On the other hand, all of the hobbies and interests I have, even the time I spend reflecting, is well spent I think.

    That’s the thing. I believe some of my shells are defensive; little quirks I have developed to guard against the outside world when I don’t want to be in it. Those are the things I try to drop when I recognize them. On the other hand, my refuges are the things I turn to when I need to decompress or recharge my batteries…the interests and habits that come most naturally to me as a true Introvert. It’s a good thing to distinguish between them as honestly as possible, I think. Loneliness and solitude…shyness and Introversion.

    Maybe more than most folks, us Introverts need to spend time alone so we can better be with other people, and learn to be with other people so we can better be by ourselves.

    Thanks for the article.

    Liked by 1 person

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