How Do You Get An Introvert To Participate? Just Ask The English

Given my social media absence, many of you might think I fell off the face of the earth. Sorry to disappoint, but I didn’t. I did, however, fall off the face of North America.

Good to see there’s some reading material at Stonehenge.

Good to see there’s some reading material at Stonehenge.

Mr. Rubin, youngest teen son, and I spent ten days east of the Atlantic, the first seven of which were in England, a place I am now convinced houses the nicest people in the world. (Look out, Canada and Minnesota, you have some competition.)

Though most of our time was in London, we detoured to Cardiff for a day as well as to Stonehenge. We then spent three days in Paris where I put my rusty French to poor use

carrie eiffel tower  with sheldon 1

Eiffel Tower selfie

So many great places we saw, including a visit to the Cardiff Castle where a cordial staff member named Dean achieved the impossible: he engaged this introvert in conversation.

Which leads me to today’s topic:

Q: How do you get an introvert to participate?

At the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales.

The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales.

A: You don’t give her any choice.

Picture this:

You’re below ground, near the London Bridge, in a dank and dark room. Around you, fellow tourists shuffle in. In front of you, a blood-spattered tour guide describes how suspected witches were bound thumbs to ankles and thrown off the London Bridge.

Without warning, he swivels to you, stabs a finger in your face, and says, “You, madam, what’s your name?”

You look around, praying he means someone else. “Um, Carrie.”

“Carrie? Well, ‘at sounds like a witch’s name, duh’nt it?”

Laughs around the stifling room confirm that it does.

Emboldened, the tour guide carries on. “E’rybody point your finger at Carrie and yell, ‘swim the witch, swim the witch, swim the witch’.”

And so they do. All the while you smile and laugh and long to be an extrovert. You also long to smack your husband and son who appear to be chanting the loudest.

But truth be told, I loved e’ry bit o’ it, even my imaginary witch swim. And later, when the tour guide told everyone to join him in singing “London Bridge is Falling Down,” I dived right in. Why? Because if we didn’t, he said he’d make us sing by ourselves “in fron’ o’ e’ryone.”

And that, my friends, is how you get an introvert to participate.

Paris catacombs

Paris catacombs

Have you been to any of these places? Are you good at joining in?

A big thank you to England and France. What a treat to visit your beautiful countries.

*     *     *

Rubin4Carrie Rubin is the author of The Seneca Scourgea medical thriller. For full bio, click here.    

281 Responses to “How Do You Get An Introvert To Participate? Just Ask The English”

    • Carrie Rubin

      He did, and he was such a fun travel companion. It was nice to see him so interested. The oldest chose to stay in New Hampshire with his grandmother. He had some things he wanted to get done, and it was nice he had some good bonding time with his grandma. You have to take those opportunities when you can, and she loved having him. He was her chauffeur and errand boy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. pegoleg

    Only you would be so polite you would thank entire countries. I hope you don’t think this lets you off the hook from sending thank you notes…to each and every resident.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time – I’m jealous!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Oh man, thank you notes. You’re right. Must get on those soon. Hmm, I suppose an email thank you would be tacky?…

      It was wonderful. Can’t wait to go back. Maybe when the youngest is in college in a few years, the hubs and I will go again. The trip is cheaper with just two. 😉

      Like

  2. memyselfandkids.com

    Sounds like you had a good trip. It also sounds like you got out of your comfort zone.
    I have been to the places you mentioned. However, I don’t remember seeing that book at Stonehenge. Interesting changes. Ha ha.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, the book is a new addition to the historical site. 😉

      We had such a great time. Can’t wait to go back to England and see even more of the country. Maybe when the youngest is in college in a few years, hubs and I will go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Léa

    Fun post Carrie! I was so hooked on France at first sight I went back to Sacramento, sold my house and moved here. That was over seven years ago and I have no regrets!
    While I adore Paris, the Mediterranean is amazing and I call it home. 😉 Léa

    Like

  4. Exile on Pain Street

    London is my favorite city. I’m an old Anglophile from way back and I love that stuff. I’m about to partake in a five-hour play about Henry VIII based on two books by Hiliary Mantel. While most people would shudder at the thought of a five hour play about a British monarch, I. CAN’T. WAIT. Hope you had a nice trip. Did you see any shows? What neighborhood did you stay in? Maybe this incident will be the thing to break you out of the “I am an introvert” corner you’ve painted yourself into. Stop calling yourself one and you might be surprised at what happens!

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Ha, I wish. Sorry, but the introvert thing is a lifelong companion.

      Yes, London has become my new favorite city to visit. Loved it! We stayed in the Hyde Park area, but with the Tube it was so easy to get around. The only show we saw was a mentalist show in Dartford (Darren Brown). My son, the magician, was thrilled to see it. We did visit Shakespeare’s Globe though. That was pretty cool.

      Like

      • Exile on Pain Street

        Hyde Park is fantastic. Rats. I should’ve gone with you. That wouldn’t have been too strange, right? I mean…we’re both Buckeyes and all.

        The tube system in London is better than the subways in New York. Hell…everything in London is better than New York. And that’s really saying something! Would you go back? I would. If I could, I’d go to JFK right after posting this comment.

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        • Carrie Rubin

          We definitely want to go back. We’d like to take an extended tour through all of the U.K. See some of the more rural areas too. And, of course, visit a few more of those awesome pubs. 🙂

          Like

  5. Zen A.

    It sounds like you had such a fun time! I’m so envious you visited London and Paris – they’re on my list of must-visit cities.

    Also, your tour guide sounds like a hoot. xD Definitely did a good job of drawing you out! I would’ve been mortified if I had been forced to sing in front of the entire group!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, he was the guide at The London Bridge Experience, which is an underground, interactive tour detailing the history of the London Bridge. Was fun to do with a teenager. The other places we visited had great guides, too, including Shakespeare’s Globe. That was cool to see, too.

      London and Paris are great cities. Hope you get there someday!

      Like

  6. talesfromthemotherland

    Well… you know I’m not exactly an introvert, and I have been to each of those places– though never Stonehenge! I can you assure you, I will remember this trick, when we finally meet one day. 😉 “Excuse me, what is your name? Are you a witch?”

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Ha, yes, quite the ice-breaking opening line isn’t it?

      Stonehenge is worth doing simply because of its history. It was cool to say I was there, though I doubt I’d go again. We had a nice sunny day for it too. That was a treat.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Carrie Rubin

          We were lucky not to have any rain the whole time we were in London and only one day of rain in Paris. The weather was a little cool, but I didn’t mind. I prefer traveling in the off-season, even if it is a little colder. Much shorter lines!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Marti

    They did the same kind of thing to me (but I don’t mind the limelight 🙂 ). I think it was the London murder tour (had Jack the Ripper and that person who baked pies with human fingers). Makes you wonder how they pick their targets.

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    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, what about us says “pick me”? 🙂

      We took the walking murder tour too! Was pretty fun though it was a bit nippy in the evening. My toes were numb by the time we were done. But at least they didn’t get baked in any pies…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. char

    How exciting! I’d definitely sing too if it was between that and singing by my lonesome. My 2nd grade teacher tried to make me do the solo thing once and that’s the only time my sweet self dug my stubborn feet into the floor and told her no straight up. I didn’t care if she sent me to the principal’s office or what! I don’t sing alone! No way! Even back then, I was smart enough to know better. Hope you had a TON of fun! Your trip sounded jolly amazing!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Haha, now I’m picturing you as a tough little cookie standing up to your teacher. Too funny.

      And yes, we had a fantastic time. I can’t wait to go back. I’d like to see more of England, and Scotland and Ireland too.

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      • char

        That was my one and only tough cookie moment, which shows how strongly I felt about not singing alone. I’m a people pleaser, but not when it comes to THAT!

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        • Carrie Rubin

          We all have our limits. Mine would be dancing. I reserve my dance moves for the privacy of my own home or on occasion, at a family wedding. 🙂

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          • char

            Teehee. I think singing and dancing go together–they’re both musical and both frightening to do alone.

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            • Carrie Rubin

              I sang with my family as a kid in church and nursing homes, so that didn’t terrify me as much. Although it certainly would now since it’s been years since I’ve sung a solo!

              Like

  9. moylomenterprises

    I used to sit at the back of the class in hopes the teacher didn’t notice me with my head down. Then someone to me that’s the first place they look and I should sit up front instead. Well being upfront made things worse… I became the teacher’s unexpected assistant! Eventually I decided it was just easier to participate – – answer a question here and there and that took the heat off. I’m still an introvert by nature but I know a few work-arounds. Great post!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I learned the same thing. As difficult as it was for me, I’d volunteer an answer when I knew it. Then I wouldn’t get called on when I didn’t. That was the hope, anyway.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Let's CUT the Crap!

    Sounds like a wonderful time. A fabulous time to get away.Lots of interesting things to see and do. We want pictures! And stories! 😀 😀 Maybe?

    Like

  11. Pam Huggins

    Awesome! So glad you had a great time.
    Sounds like you were a great sport doing witch duty. Good for you! That’s what time away is about… doing something different.

    Like

  12. Polly

    Great to see you had a wonderful time in England, Wales and France, Carrie—welcome back.:)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you. I can’t wait to go back. I’d like to do a more extensive trip through England as well as Scotland and Ireland. Maybe when the youngest is in college in a few years we’ll go. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Polly

        That’s something to look forward to…perhaps you could look up Worcestershire, it might persuade you to come and see me! I’d promise you a walk on The Malvern Hills 🙂

        Like

  13. Silver in the Barn

    I had to laugh about your reference to Canada and Minnesota….you bet! Spent part of a long layover in Minneapolis yesterday reading “How to Speak Minnesotan” in the airport bookstore and “you bet” is about as hostile as they get. No, never been to Cardiff or Stonehenge and always feel goofy joining in on these things. I do it and nobody would know it, but I would sooo prefer to be left alone.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, if only they knew what we were thinking on the inside! But we put on a good act, don’t we?…

      I grew up in North Dakota right on the border of Minnesota. My husband still has family in Minnesota and every time I return there, I marvel at how friendly they all are. It’s such a nice treat. We don’t always get the same in Cleveland.

      Like

  14. aFrankAngle

    I’ve only been in UK air space, but I look forward to the day I am there as it’s on the list! Nope … also not Paris. My wife was there for a week many years ago, but I’ve only been to the airport (CDG), which doesn’t count.

    Way to join in with the fun! … and welcome home. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit some day. Something tells me you’d love London. So much history there. Plus, all those cool pubs with tasty pints!

      CDG airport on the other hand is one strange place. We flew out of there and made the mistake of going through security before we got something to eat. Didn’t realize all the food places were BEFORE security. Nothing by the gate except for a small kiosk with croissants and a few other pastries. Not good before a nine-hour flight…

      Like

  15. Sue Archer

    I’m glad you had a great time, Carrie, even though you were between a rock and a hard place. 🙂 I have yet to journey across the pond, but I hope to make it there someday!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It was a wonderful experience, and going this time of year meant less tourists and much shorter lines. In fact, at some places there were no lines at all. The weather was a bit cool, but we lucked out and had no rain in London at all and only one day of rain in Paris. I’ll take it!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. gerard oosterman

    They would have trouble fastening my thumbs to ankles and swim at the same time. You go on some weird attractions Carrie.
    I too have been to England many years ago and visited Whitby with its smoked kippers and lonely castle.
    I also stayed in London for a week or so during the year Holland won the world cup soccer or was it the Euro cup?
    Some one made bread pudding and yorkshire pudding and that’s about the best I can remember.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Ooh, bread pudding. I love that but sadly didn’t get the chance to have any there. Maybe next time.

      Yes, the London Bridge Experience was a bit odd, but my 14-year-old loved it, and it certainly was a change from the Winston Churchill Museum and St. Paul’s Cathedral! Nothing like a fake-blood-spattered tour guide to get the party started. 🙂

      Like

  17. jmmcdowell

    Well, as you know, my husband and I were in England last September, but it looks like we took in different sights. Of course, there are a few there to choose from, aren’t there? 🙂 We would love to get back there someday ourselves and see more of the country. How can you not love a country that makes introverts feel comfortable?!

    Did you get to meet up with Vanessa while you were there?

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Vanessa did seek me out beforehand (she has a memory like an elephant; she remembered seeing my comment on your FB post about possibly going there!), but unfortunately our dates didn’t line up well. She had to plan and hold a conference that week, and the only days she had free were the two we went to Cardiff and Stonehenge. Next time, maybe. And I do hope there’s a next time. Like you, my husband and I would like to see even more of the UK.

      Having our son with us meant we took in different kinds of sights, but we also toured the traditional ones like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Winston Churchill Museum, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, etc. We had such a great time. And even though it’s been over two decades since I’ve been back to Paris, it was like it was only months ago. After having spent a year there as an au pair, I got to know the city well.

      Like

      • jmmcdowell

        Aw, too bad you couldn’t meet up with Vanessa. You really would have had a great visit together, I’m sure. But we’ll think positive and say there WILL be a next time. 🙂 We just won’t mention how many decades it’s been since I’ve been to France. Some days it’s hard to believe high school was that long ago…. 😉 I do remember the Palm Sunday mass at Sacre Coeur—so different from the Catholic Church in my home town! Maybe someday I’ll get back to France, too. Sigh. So many places to see. So little time. And limited funds!

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        • Carrie Rubin

          Paris is such a visual feast. We did manage to make it to Sacre Coeur. My favorite view of Paris is from there, so I wanted my son to see it. Plus, the cathedral itself is gorgeous.

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        • Carrie Rubin

          By the way, I hope the settling in is going well. Always so exciting (and exhausting!) to move into a new place!

          Like

          • jmmcdowell

            Slowly but surely we’re getting there. We should have the last bits out of the old place by the end of this week, and then we need to clean it. Sometime in April we should be fully unpacked here. Then it’s fine-tuning where we want things. Where’s Scotty with that transporter when you need him?!

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