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Posted by: scg73 ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 10:20PM

I never served a full time mission; but I realised recently that the best reason not to have gone is one I never considered at the time.

I am an introvert.

In my job, I have to interact with people nonstop. So after the workday, I have had my absolute fill of human contact. That's why I'm grateful to live alone.

Even if I would have been fine with all the other rules, This one aspect of my personality type would have created a stumbling block as far as having to be joined at the hip w/o the someone 24/7.

Any introvert RMs? How did it work out for you?

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Posted by: Aloysius ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 10:50PM

Introvert here. I can say, without reservation, that my mission was the absolute worst experience of my life.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 14, 2019 11:10PM

And worse you would have been made to feel very guilty for not wantingto get out there and be in people's faces trying to convert them at doors, father contacting etc.

I had one friend on my mission who was a greeny when I had been out about a year. I went on several splits with him and he was extremely introverted, a very nice and dedicated missionary, but the whole experience was so bad for him he went bald in the first four months of his mission. When he would do door approaches he looked like he was being tortured and he confided to me his hair was coming out in clumps. We had a nurse set up an appointment for him to see a doctor, and the diagnosis was extreme stress. Remember this was in the 70s and the only way to come home early from your mission wasin a coffin.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 12:14AM

I was with a companion that was more introverted and socially awkward than myself. We literally had a staring contest as to who was supposed to carry the conversation when tracting/teaching and meeting members. I ultimately gave in and had to do all the talking. It really wore me out and then came the evening. Instead of quietly recharging after dealing with "forced" missionary selling the church all day, I then had to spend another hour on the phone talking to spiritual leaders (district and zone leaders) that didn't like me or my companion.

One positive thing came about this. I developed an alter ego that handles all the uncomfortable social interactions. Today, this alter ego helps me have a successful career that requires interaction with many types of people. I also have to make presentations with public speaking and I usually do just fine.

However, I still have a strong aversion to talking on the phone.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2019 12:18AM by messygoop.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 03:00AM

I'm very introverted, in the sense that given my druthers, I prefer being alone, with Saucie. I can handle completely'alone' just fine.

Los mormones helped me to develop the alter-ego defense, too. This, along with not believing mormonism and ghawd were a 'thing', I had no trouble with rejection in the mission field. It was the preferred response. And once I became a Sr. Comp, I faded away from missionary activity. My last companion was totally on board with this and we spent 3-1/2 months together and never once tracted or taught.

I ended up in a career where getting in people's faces, just like in the mission, was primary. I didn't have any trouble doing it, but being alone is my preference. Surveillance was a breeze...

At gatherings, parties, etc., I pretty much find some way to be alone, even if it means hiding in the crowd.

And there is no way I would ever pay money to attend a crowded venue. The few times we've been to a movie, it's been at a time calculated to provide an empty theatre. I have a photo somewhere of Saucie seating in the only occupied seat in a movie theatre. I recall that another couple came in as the movie started.

Silence is golden.

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Posted by: CL2 ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 12:14PM

and my son is an introvert. When my son was age 2, my disabled intellectually and physically brother came home from his mission. He never should have been sent out. He has never been the same. I started telling my son then he would never go on a mission. Well, we were out by then anyway, but he said he used to think in primary how glad he was he didn't have to go when they'd sing about missions. He hated school. On-line school would have been good for him. Too bad it came along just after he graduated.

I also like to be alone. I do like to go to movies as I was raised going to movies, but I go on Sundays here in Utah. We also have been the only 2 in a movie many times. I keep Xanax with me in case someone picks a seat next to me or in front of me (why is it people sit next to you when the theater is half empty?), but I always pick the end seat.

I don't like crowds. I hate planes--HATE planes. I took 4 Xanax flying home from Alaska.

Mormonism isn't even for introverts. I went to church to worship, not to socialize, I always sat in the back.

AND after reading one of the temple threads, what about the temple for the introverts?? I hated the temple and this was one of the reasons. Mormonism is about being around people, a lot of people and PARTICIPATION.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2019 12:47PM by cl2.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 15, 2019 01:14PM

I'm an introvert. Statistically, I guess about a quarter to a third of RMs should be some level of introvert. I was not particularly good or happy at being a religion salesperson. Interestingly, I think I was less introverted in Portuguese. Not sure if that was true or just my perception. In any case, I survived.

Introverts and Mormonism is not a very good match. :-/

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Posted by: Dr. No ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 12:07PM

is it just that I sure do like space and value my own company, finer points being
("trigger" warning, language)

scg73 Wrote:

> Any introvert RMs? How did it work out for you?

Well it sure was a long two years, but thankfully it sucked

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 10:51PM

fascinating topic. The consensus I see is that everyone prefers to be alone. We have this concept in society that there are extroverts and introverts. I question the validity of this. The trouble seems more that introverts haven't developed interpersonal/interpersonal skills for a variety of reasons. Children who grow up in big families have many advantages, are constantly socialized and have opportunities to practice leadership, and team work. The best character a person can have is to be social, it's what we should all strive to develop. It should be something everyone should work towards, overcoming awkwardness.

Extroverts generally have greater verbal skills and may have higher intelligence. With it families get their kids involved in highschool clubs, sports, performing arts, community activities, not because it's fun but because the upper class want their kids to be normal. Missionaries have to have good interpersonal skills, that should have been developed long before.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 16, 2019 10:59PM

...where to begin...??

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 02:39PM

Yeah, so much misinformation in two short paragraphs.

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 02:30PM

But it's not funny.

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 06:44PM

I grew up in a family of 9. I'm an introvert, and always have been.
I despised the noise, and constant togetherness. There were few places to escape. I spent a lot of time in my childhood hiding out in a hollowed out hedge in the back yard. I'd stay there for hours reading books. Nobody ever asked where i'd been because they didn't notice I was missing.

I moved out when I was 17. There were a lot of reasons, but that was a big one. It was much easier to have room mates and my own bedroom. No crying babies, fighting teenagers, bitching adults. Finally, peace on earth.

I mostly lived alone except for some roomates here and there until I was 29. That's when I had my first child. I didn't mind staying home with the baby. It was peaceful to me. I only had two kids because I knew for sure I didn't like the chaos that came with having more. Two was plenty.

My kids are now grown and on their own. They also are somewhat introverted. Even when we're together, things are relatively quiet.

IMO, being an introvert isn't a bad thing. I was never a good fit for Mormonism because I wasn't social enough. I especially despise social group events where you're expected to talk forever to people you don't normally associate with. UGH. I hated ward parties with a passion.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 05:32PM

scg73 Wrote:
> Any introvert RMs? How did it work out for you?

I'm not but I can sympathize. Basically in Mormonism introverts and not very socials are resigned to the Terrestrial Kingdom on earth. You just can't hack Celestial glory in their great MLM in the sky — 'Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. ' (J.M. Barrie)

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Posted by: Pathway ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 06:48PM

As a general obbservation (I am certainly no expert) Introversion and Extroversion are not about whether or not you like people, it's more a function of where you gain your strength. Introverts look inward for strength, do well one on one, but are drained by extended time with large groups of people. Extroverts tend to be energized by others.

I'm an introvert. As a missionary, I HATED tracting, stopping people for surveys, talking to people in the streets, public events, standing by a dumb poster with a table of books in the middle of the park, large ward activities where we brought investigators, zone conferences etc...

but I greatly enjoyed small intimate opportunities to teach and felt even more confident the more I would get to know those I taught.

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Posted by: cuzx ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 07:36PM

A photography friend was at a party recently. As an introvert, she wasn't really keen on being in the crowd but she brought her camera along and it literally broke the ice for her. She was able to take several pictures of people there, relax, and enjoy herself.

I got into landscape photography as a serious hobby the year I stopped believing. Sundays became my time to get out of the stuffy church environment and go outdoors, where I truly enjoy myself. What a godsend that was for me as I was broke away from the suffocating religion of my youth through midlife. Don't get me wrong. I love to be with friendly, thoughtful people; I just don't go for large crowds and forced social interactions.

For me, the most difficult part of my mission was getting through the language barrier. It took about three months before I began to understand people and could make myself understood. After that, I enjoyed most of the members and the people we spent time with. Truly, I never liked canvassing neighborhoods or asking random people on the street if they wanted to "hear our message."

I've recounted the story on RfM about asking a drunk guy on the bus if he wanted to learn more about "los mormones" and his response, basically asking if I wanted a punch in the face. Ha ha. I tempered my golden questions from then on. In fact, I probably stopped making nonsensical goals for the last half of my mission.

Midway through the mission, someone told me you could get out early to meet a college enrollment deadline. I applied for the winter block at YBU, got accepted, and actually left three weeks early. Looking back, I can't believe they let me do it. What a gift!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/2019 07:44PM by cuzx.

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Posted by: Eric K ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 09:17PM

Serving a mission as an introvert was the most significant catalyst in creating this site. Being an introvert and convert "serving" as a missionary was for me an extremely painful experience. The worst mistake of my life.

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 10:42PM

I was not only an introvert, but I craved occasional solitude (still do). The thought of being with a companion 24/7 was terrible to me.

I got through it, but it was far from “the best two years of my life.”

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Posted by: hgc2 ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 10:26PM

Amen to most of what has already been said. It took me through my mission and long afterward to realized I didn't have to be trying to move up in the Church.

I finally realized that I am a very good "Indian" and a lousy "chief". I tried so hard on my mission to be an extrovert and it just didn't work.

Like others my life work was with people, but one on one and I did pretty well at that. Big groups? Forget it. I hate cocktail parties.

I love to be alone to read, watch Youtube and the Great Courses and tinker in my woodworking shop.

The 25 years since I went inactive have been so much better than before. To all you introverts - embrace it!!

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Posted by: scg73 ( )
Date: September 17, 2019 11:37PM

What's interesting is that I'm an introvert when it comes to dealing with people one on one; but thrive on speaking or performing in front of a crowd. I've come to realize that an introvert trying to be an extrovert is like a gay person trying to live a heterosexual lifestyle.

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