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personality issue

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by thecalccobra, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. thecalccobra

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    I have a problem:

    I'm a quiet, serious type of guy. I tend not to engage in small talk and don't really have ''friends'' but rather acquaintances. I'm not outgoing. I stay to myself and just mind my own business. I'm really good at one-on-one conversations but tend to stay quiet in groups. Is this fine? I tried to talk more and engage in random conversations but it didn't really work. So now I'm content with the fact I am who I am.

    Can this type of personality be successful in the medical profession or will it lead to problems down the line?
     
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  3. cpants

    cpants Member
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    You will be fine, as long as you are able to function in a small group setting. You don't need a ton of charisma to be a doctor.
     
  4. OncoCaP

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    Sure you can be successful; just make sure you know what you are doing and you will be successful. You're content with who you are; go with it. Don't feel pressured to imitate others who talk more in groups. Not everyone is going to talk the same amount .. there will tend to be a distribution in just about anything, from height to how talkative you are, and you're one of the more quiet ones in a group.
     
  5. thecalccobra

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    Various times I have tried to be more outgoing and talkative but it hasn't worked because that is not me and after a few days, I'm back to the quiet, reserved person that I am.

    Thanks for the heads up:cool:
     
  6. Scaredshizzles

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    The personality/demographic range of physicians should match that of the patients....there is room for every kind of person. And being quiet shouldn't necessarily push you away from any specialty either, or push you towards pathology. :) You'll be fine.
     
  7. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    While you should try to practice social situations as much as possible, don't worry about it. A lot of people here are thinking: "Damn, he just described me!"
     
  8. Bartelby

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    As long as you're fine with it, I don't think it will be a problem.
     
  9. VoiceofReason

    VoiceofReason all i care about is money
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    basically. If that stuff doesn't just come to you naturally then thats the hand you've been dealt, but if you're ok with your hand then, although it might not feel like it, you're doin' a lot better than most.
     
  10. howelljolly

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    Yeah, thats me.

    But something that I struggle with is, how to "appear" interested and enthusiastic while on clinicals. While I am itching with enthusiasm to learn, its all up in my head. And Im not one to push someone else out of the way just to appear to be interested. So, to my residents, i might seem disinterested.....

    So, I think I need to get out of my comfort zone a little bit, just to get good evaluations and reccomendations.... and its a tough balance... and Im not there yet.
     
  11. confuse

    confuse Senior Member
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    You sound alot like me. I can go on forever in a 1-to-1 conversation but can't find anything to say in a group setting. I am consciously trying to talk and socialize more in group functions, not to change who I am but to gear myself for 3rd year.
     
  12. BoneTwister

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    Haha. When I read the first post I thought That i didnt remember posting here yet. My exact situation. I am glad that I am not abnormal and that there are more serious like people out there. Maybe we should all become friends...hahah

    :sleep:
     
  13. albe

    albe Junior Member
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    This describes me as well!
     
  14. CafeMed

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    I am pretty much the same way. I try to be outgoing in new situations, but then I find myself reverting back to being quiet and reserved. I used to hate being known as "the quiet one", but now, like you, I've just accepted it. When I try to force myself to change, it feels really awkward and uncomfortable. Glad to see there are others out there like me!
     
  15. swman

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    This in particular describes me to a tee. Something that helped me a lot was doing rotations at smaller hospitals where I am the only student on that rotation. You get a lot more one-on-one time with residents and attendings and there are no other students around to run their mouths. Now I get to do all the talking and look like a stud.:thumbup:
     
  16. howelljolly

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    What if doing rotations at a small hospital isnt an option. What can you do to "appear" interested and enthusiastic?
     
  17. themudphud

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    True that--like many others, that too describes me pretty well. Look, medicine is a social profession, something that is becoming more and more clear to me. But no matter what, you gotta be yourself because if you try to force something, it will be really obvious. I think the best thing is to do your own thang, hang out and if/when you have something to say, then say it. Otherwise relax, learn something and have a good time.

    Now, there are a few circumstances where it would be useful to have something to say--and in my experience, this tends to be with faculty members/attendings where you want to get something in there to sound smart, witty or whatever. These situations are actually quite rare and you can probably think of what they could be for your case. Just think of specific ideas/topics to throw out there for those situations.

    But overall, don't feel bad--just be yourself.
     
  18. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    It'll be fine in the real world and in most of medical school. However, you'll constantly be evaluated as "quiet and uninterested" in small group crap.
     
  19. howelljolly

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    um yeah! and all of your clinical rotations as well.
     
  20. solar3000

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    I am barely getting started on taking pre-med classes. but I was going to say that, as long as your happy with who you are and try your best, I think you should be fine. I guess from time to time you may have to get out of your confort zone (as in talking with others, meeting new people, etc) so I'd say, don't be afraid to try new habits and making new friends if you feel lonely. Ok this doesn't sound like much of an advise but I think this applies to life in general. be who you are but always be willing to learn new habits.
     
  21. Textuality

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    I'm kind of that way. I'm relatively quiet in a group if the others are natural outspoken, but I'd take the lead if the rest of the group tends to be quiet. I also tend to live in my head a lot, and since I'm engaged, I'm happiest spending weekends at home with him, so I don't socialize very much outside of class. Don't get me wrong, I love my classmates, but I've retired from the bar/club/single partying scene.

    I'm happy the way I am, we'll see how much I'll have to speak up during clinics, I tend to prefer that others answer and will usually only chime in if nobody else is talking.
     
  22. Textuality

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    I'm kind of that way. I'm relatively quiet in a group if the others are natural outspoken, but I'd take the lead if the rest of the group tends to be quiet. I also tend to live in my head a lot, and since I'm engaged, I'm happiest spending weekends at home with him, so I don't socialize very much outside of class. Don't get me wrong, I love my classmates, but I've retired from the bar/club/single partying scene.

    I'm happy the way I am, we'll see how much I'll have to speak up during clinics, I tend to prefer that others answer and will usually only chime in if nobody else is talking. I'm perfectly comfortable talking to others and in groups, I guess I just don't naturally gravitate towards it.
     
  23. WorkaholicsAnon

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    I see myself being described too, though lately i've been able to open up more if a group is especially friendly.

    During my med school years I was just like that though. And yes i got the same comments. "Be more enthusiastic." "speak up more," "be more assertive" was a very common one for me. What the hell is being more assertive???

    What i've come to realize is that you really cant please everyone. Medical training is full of situations in which you are judged. Actually, the entire medical profession is that way. All sorts of different ways of judging, all sorts of different preferences. For example, people with outgoing personalities might judge you according to what their understanding of "enthusiasm" is. A quiet person might recognize you showing enthusiasm in other ways. Or vice versa. It may have something to do with the Myers Briggs personality types. . .not sure. In any case, at times the evals and grades you get are just out of your control. The most you can do is be hardworking, involve yourself as much as possible, be easy to work with, and most importantly learn as much as you can, for YOURSELF to use in the future for your patients. Forget about the grades--med school clinical grades are subjective and a good number of them are going to be unfair. Also, many times your grade will come from people you barely worked with, while the people you worked with the most will forget to turn your eval in. An accurate reflection of your work? of course not. Also if your co-med student's daddy is a popular dermatologist in the area, and your attending is his buddy, who do you think is getting honors (unless that student messes up big time)? It's gonna take much less effort for your co-med student to get that honors than you, no matter how much you run your mouth. In fact, the attitude towards you will be different. This is prevalent in medicine, and there's nothing that can be done to change that. It's human nature.

    Same with patients, some like a showy, flashy outgoing doctor. Some patients actually hate that. It seems that many people want their doctor to be nerdy, intellectual, and on the quieter side. Listening skills are more important in my opinion.
     
  24. dragonfly99

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    OP,
    I don't think this will hurt you with patients, as long as you can make them "get" that you are sympathetic.

    Your personality is likely to hurt your grades during 3rd and 4th year clinical rotations unless you consciously make an effort to act/appear more outgoing. It's just the way it is. You should smile and say hi to the residents and attendings a lot. You should ask questions frequently, but in such a way that it makes you look smart. You should bring in research articles and try to find a way to work them in/bring them up on rounds; if not, at least make a copy for the intern and residents on your team. We (quiet people) have to try harder to get the same recognition. Life is the way it is.

    Consider reading books on communication and how to influence other people, such as the ones that salespeople read.

    This all sounds cynical but I think it's necessary, based on 4 years of med school and 4 of residency/fellowship.
     
  25. howelljolly

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    Any suggestions on books? I read Dale Carnegie's books. But those are kinda commonsensical.
     
  26. BrianUM

    BrianUM Future M.D
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    Hey OP,

    I am a 2nd year, and I am the exact same way as you word for word. I have a small group of friends and gf and a bunch of acquaintances, dont make much small talk, dont talk in groups much, keep to myself, etc.

    In my personal opinion, as long as you work hard and remain compassionate you will be fine. The problem becomes when you start becoming an @sshole, rude, etc. Sometimes being shy/serious may come across like that but when you see patients make sure to listen their story rather than just brush them away and try to smile when you 1st walk into the room. Other than that, no worries.
     
  27. Ana82

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    It's fine to have whatever personality you have already. Just remember that by being quiet, not only do you seem disinterested in the rotation, you also seem conceited and arrogant. (Not blaming you, this is just what other people think.) So just make sure to at least ACT interested, and you'll be fine.
     
  28. WellWornLad

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    Why would anyone assume a quiet person is arrogant or conceited? I don't agree that everyone (or even most people) would think that.
     
  29. BoneTwister

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    I get seen that I am conceited and arrrogant sometimes. I am also as quiet as the op described. Although it might also hurt me that I am ridculously good looking as well. Which kind of lends itself to being stuck up. Oh well!:sleep:
     
  30. WellWornLad

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    I don't usually ask, but I must know: are you joking?
     
  31. diabeticfootdr

    Podiatrist 10+ Year Member

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    Be a radiologist. Many are working from "home" now, or their boat in the Pacific off the coast of Australia. You have minimal contact with patients (depending on what type of radiology you practice), and phone contact with other doctors. If you're in a hospital you spend your day in a dark room lit up by screens. :)
     
  32. howelljolly

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    This is true. We're in a business where our colleagues will at least entertain the idea of the worst possibility....

    quiet and studious...
    shy and introverted...
    doesnt know medicine and flies under the radar...
    concieted and arrogant...
    schizoid personality...
     
  33. vasca

    vasca En la era postpasambre
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    I'm a very serious person (gotta be my bloodtype A personality haha), but I'm not shy. I'm usually that annoying classmate that's constantly asking the stupidest and most obvious questions when the class is done and because of me, nobody else can leave the classroom. Oh the drama!

    I used to ask really bizarre things to my teachers. I asked a teacher once what does CRL liquid taste like. In all seriousness. The teacher stared at me with a WTF look on his face and could not answer it. To this day I'm still curious...

    If a ward has no patients and there's nothing else to do, I just won't shut the hell up talking about whatever to the residents or attendings. I love asking what their worklife is like and how bad it can get, or where did they do med school or whatever.

    People (classmates included) say I seem shy and reserved at first sight, but they see that while I'm usually soft-spoken, I just won't shut up. :laugh: I once had a teacher in a round say I seemed disinterested and unmotivated to blend in with my classmates. I'm not a people person and it's different when you weren't born in the same country as everyone else. I also don't go to bars and party till I throw up like everyone else (partially because I just can't afford to buy the booze). There's a foreigner stamp placed on my forehead and it's not that easy to cross the novelty factor bridge. Plus, the teacher that told me that wasn't with me that much. He only saw me while we were waiting for our other teacher to show up and pass assistance, he only rotated with us like once.

    On most rotations I'm the most assertive student. I've driven residents insane with all of the talking I do sometimes. :smuggrin:
     
  34. Fakesmile

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    I have basically the same problem as the OP: quiet, reserved and no ''friends''. But even worse, I'm not good at both one-on-one and group conversations.
    One time I was at a social mix where everyone was naturally getting to know each other for the first time and talking with each other. I was a wallflower that stood by the wall and only watched others naturally socializing. It seemed like everyone was busy talking with each other and I was the only one being quite. Two people actually approached me and asked me about who I am and what I do. I answered them, asked the same thing in return and they replied. Then there was a painful, awkward silence. The two people looked at me like they were thinking "WTF LOL" and then they stopped talking to me and just walked away. No one else talked to me after that and I kept to myself until the end for the whole 30 minutes.. I felt like running away from that place.

    I try to come out of my shell and comfort zone but it doesn't really work. It's just not me when I try to be social.

    Can this type of personality be successful in medicine?
     
  35. howelljolly

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    Just some food for thought.

    As you progress in medical education, talking to people will probably become easier, I think. Even if you end up in a non-clinical specialty, in your third and fourth years you are going to get the hang of it whether you like it or not. Youre going to have to interview hundreds of patients, on your rotations, and this will become easier as time goes on. You'll eventually learn when you need to make a quick comment about sports, or the weather just to get your patient talking.

    Eventually, you might find that you'll easily be able to do this with random people. (unless you are a horrible med student who never gets anything out of patients, or are just really good at compartmentalizing)

    Or maybe its just me
     
  36. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    drink in the morning or become a radiologist.
     
  37. JeffLebowski

    JeffLebowski Just got Nard-dogged
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    I'm just suprised to hear that these socially awkward people are aware of their situation. I feel like when I get roped into a social interaction with an awkward person they're totally oblivious.

    I would say just be glad you're aware of your weaknesses (everyone has them), develop a few good friends, and just be pleasant & polite to people. You don't have to charm the pants off of everyone to do well & be well-liked, even. And practice, I think you can definitely improve through practice. I mean it's awkward talking to anyone at first, because you're not familiar with their conversation style, personality, social graces, speaking pattern, etc. And it's awkward talking to patients at first, too (for everyone, at least to some extent). You just get a feel for how to converse with patients as a doctor, which is a new role.
     
  38. Re3iRtH

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    All the pathologists and radiologists I know, at least at my school, are
    perhaps the most talkative out of all the docs. I actually think they talk
    to much.
     
  39. LadyMD2b

    LadyMD2b ... moment of silence
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    I don't think you will have a problem. Like the others said, people will sometimes mistake you for being uninterested. I would suggest asking questions here and there to show them that you are interested. I know exactly how you feel. I was once demoted from an asst. manager's position because I was "too quiet", even though all of my subordinates were doing their job and everything was in order. :confused: I guess you just have to be prepared and know how to speak up when necessary. You'll be fine
     
  40. howelljolly

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    On my latest clinical rotation eval....

    "...too shy.... need to speak up...seems as though you're disinterested and not listening...." :(
     
  41. Ana82

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    ...Or if you're really quiet, they mistakenly think you're snooty...especially if you're good looking...
     
  42. howelljolly

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    And I'm not, so that explains that.
     
  43. sprinkibrio

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    There are a few people in my class who are very nice, interesting, and socially skilled people who just TALK TALK TALK. I have to imagine that they too can be graiting, especially to the quiet residents and attendings. I'd like to hear that those kinds of people get critiques on poor teamwork, slowing the team down, and attention-seeking behavior.

    Anyone think that's common?
     
  44. jason3278

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    I was just going to say something about that post. My shadowing experience with a forensic pathologist was probably the most interactive and entertaining medical experience I've had so far. Well, interactive with the doctor and his staff anyway.
     
  45. howelljolly

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    I asked a very friendly, talkative Rads resident why she went into a career that put her alone in a dark room. She said that radiologists [and pathologists] are doctors' doctors. They dont have to take histories on patients. However, they get to speak intelligently (wouldnt that be nice?) to other radiologists, physicians and surgeons. She says that many radiologists like to teach, and get the opportunity whenever a clinician drops by with a question.... I checked my facts with another Rads resident, and that one pretty much echoed the same ideas, with emphasis on the opportunity to teach other clinicians part.

    Take home point... if you really dont want to talk to other clinicians, Rads and Path may not be a good idea. You might get by, but you won't be respected and successful. Ive come across antisocial radiologists and even cardiologists. Other clinicians avoid them, and will go as far as to do the prelim reading of the x-ray or echocardiogram themselves, and wait a day for the official report. Sure, you can live in blissfull ignorance, but is that really the way you want to be?

    Just wondering... how do you guys do in group sessions during clinicals?... like on teaching table rounds which are supposed to be interactive. What about when you find that your group is particularly talkative (I had some think-out-loud types in my group)? I'm kind'a miffed after my bad evaluation.
     
  46. neurolddoc

    neurolddoc SDN Lifetime Donor
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    Clinical practice is a lot different than training in regard to group dynamic. In training you are frequently rounding in a group. In clinical practice you are one on one. Patients appreciate thoughtful physicians who LISTEN. They are not generally concerned with your ability to BS in a social situation. If you really are good in one on one situations you will be very good as a physician.
     
  47. WellWornLad

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    As much as I hate to kick a sleeping thread, I have to agree. I worry more about those people who cannot shut up than those that are quiet, and there's good reason to believe that those social butterflies aren't listening to their patients:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/health/26doctors.html

    Just so we're clear, introverted is not the same thing as being socially awkward.
     
  48. Ana82

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    Actually, there is a grain of truth to this, joke or not. If you are a very beautiful woman, and you are shy and quiet, people will hate your guts for NO reason at all. It's really stupid. (Handsome guys too)
     
  49. bubabugster

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    I know everyone keeps saying be yourself, but it is important to speak up, otherwise it will hurt evals. I had the same problem my first year of med school in the small groups and was told that I looked disinterested etc. etc. etc. After that as a 2nd year, I made myself talk in every single small group discussion and now, it no longer seems scary and I actually hate not saying stuff or sitting quietly because I feel like I'm not contributing. (This is coming from someone who basically never contributed to group discussions in the course of a lifetime- I'm not exaggerating). If you think that being quiet is going to hurt your medical goals, I suggest working on that. It won't be comfortable at first but you'll definitely get over it sooner than you think!!
     
  50. The Angriest Bird

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
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    You will be a perfect surgeon :)
     
  51. Stephie3

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
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    Status:
    Pre-Dental
    amen. can't tell you how many times this has happened to me
     

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