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Alberto Turégano for One Beyond

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Become a chameleon thanks to introversion and shyness

How did it all start?

The title of this article might intrigue you, especially if you are shy or you are not quite good at handling uncomfortable situations.

My interest in this subject came from distinct times in my life, the most recent one might sound familiar to you, starting in DCSL GuideSmiths.

I consider myself quite reserved, sometimes the vision that people have of me is similar to a wall when they don’t know me or I’ve not given them the opportunity to know me better. When I jumped into DCSL GuideSmiths obviously I should not have provided this appearance.

Here's something to consider: how could I have joined DCSL GuideSmiths with this attribute?

Well, I became a chameleon.

Human relationships are quite difficult and really tough. People who don’t know each other have to interact despite their current sentiment. For instance, sometimes a worker might be pushed by his job position, his role or the feeling of making money or he can be in an undesirable moment either.

Usually when you are inside a group of new people you will find a lot of new personalities, most of which you will have interacted with in the past. For example, the person who always tries to help you, the person who needs to talk about themself, the one who always forgets something… Make the exercise about finding distinct types.

However, depending on the situation you can be with people who don’t know anybody there or they’ve already met.

I’m going to touch on both situations in the next paragraphs but you have to keep in mind one thing:

At the beginning of this article I started telling you that I had put up a wall, if you became familiar with it too, It’s important to break down the wall and make a difference by being accessible when you must be.

That’s the secret, you don’t have to be always open or talking all the time with the new teammate or feeling the obligation about interacting with someone, you have to time it right, you must become a chameleon.

Case 1: people you haven’t met before

Let’s step into a situation where nobody knows each other. It usually happens when you are entering a new group or you are talking to someone for a specific purpose.

The best way to make an approach is thinking about the other/others, trying to figure out what they are thinking or what they are expecting from you.

Empathy here is your best ally, you can feel the emotions and adapt yourself to the situation. You could have in front of you a shy person or an extrovert and you should know it.

A common case is a job interview, you don’t know the interviewer at all but you have to know as much as you can to earn the opportunity to continue in the selection process. Their mission it’s to get to know your personality, to get to know your skills and you have to adapt yourself to the questions that they will ask, obviously without lying.

Sometimes recruiters can seem uninterested in getting to know you as a person you should notice that and not waste energy and false hopes. But in the case you feel the interviewer is doing the best they can, open the door and show yourself.

The interviewer's mission is to emit their judgement based on the things they are looking for. For that reason you should be prepared to answer. Anticipate them, try to figure out the answers that they want from you. That’s the main point, to know their motivation and consequently change the chameleon’s color to overcome the situation.

Case 2: people you have already met

Now, let’s move forward to case number two where people have already met before.

There are a lot of situations here actually, but in the end you should keep one in mind. People always offer their best self. People want to show a facade, especially in job environments; always kind, some people are more open, some are more closed but they are trying to protect themselves from appearing weak.

You can detect this, you must stay focused and be safe about yourself. Don’t show anything you would regret, you are you. When you find the right teammate there to show the best of yourself to, do it. You will feel better doing it rather than trying to be “the perfect teammate” with all the people.

As I said at the beginning of the article, human interactions are really complex therefore you need to show your best when it’s the right moment.

I always like to observe people and it’s really easy to find a common personality. This personality can be described as extroverted, talkative, with a lot of friends (is something said by them), always open, agitated... I’ve to say, not all the people with these attributes are equal. Some of these kinds of personality really need to do that. Usually, they don’t have self confidence, they have feelings of which they regret and at the end, they show the opposite characteristics that I’ve told you before, so it’s quite easy to take them as a mirror to not look at.

Putting everything together

To summarize, the key concepts here in both cases are: empathy, self-confidence, adaptability, open-mindedness, emotional intelligence and yourself.

And with all the previous concepts, I would like the last one: the layers (or the onion).

Imagine you are in any of the previous situations: you would like to show your chameleon form and you could change between these states. That’s perfect, but you can not switch from one personality to another, you should take away layers like when an onion is being cut.
This will provide you the flexibility which you were looking for, it will give you the chameleon spirit to stay calm and focussed in the moments where you probably don’t feel comfortable.

For instance, in case 1 you wouldn’t like to switch instantly between states. If you do that the person in front of you wouldn’t know what was going on. Therefore, when the situation advances ahead of you, you will take out the layers from the onion.

As we come to the end of this article I would like to mention how much time these tips take to apply to somebody. Obviously, nobody really knows, it’s something that depends on the person.
Being able to scan the situation, adapting to them, choosing the right layer is an error-proof thing. Don’t be scared to try different approaches, when you’re in a new situation, try to show something new or something different, explore inside you to know which chameleon part fits better in each environment.

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