I’ve been accused of being an extrovert before. I don’t blame them. After all, I do work in the service industry where I deal with people on a daily basis providing the best customer service
ever (I’m serious about this….ok maybe not but I do pride myself in my customer service abilities and the rarity of my gift). Moreover, I’m the president of a student organization (University of Florida’s
Student Planning Association), and I love to get on stage (any stage…for those of you wondering, yes the shower most definitely counts as a stage) and sing my heart away. So it’s not really a shock to me when I shock people with the declaration that I am an introvert. But make no mistake, an introvert I am…(Yoda
must be playing mind tricks on me).
So what makes me an introvert?
Let’s take my daily routine of catching the bus for example. Let’s say that I am sitting at the bus stop and the only other person nearby is sitting right next to me (as was the case a few days ago…until the bus arrived…then she sat across from me.) you would think that given my familiarity with people I would be able to say hello, good morning, or something a long those lines. But you’d be mistaken. My mouth would fight my attempt with an army unwillingness…a very powerful army indeed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to talk, per se….ok maybe not at 5 am….or 4pm… Or…ok maybe I’m not the best person to hold a conversation with. But it’s not because I think I’m so good that having a conversion with you or anybody else is below me. Quite the opposite, I continuously ask myself, what about me is worth having a conversation over? I mean there are many people who are exceedingly more exciting than I. For example, I have a friend who does tons of work for Haiti. And he plays rugby, and he has a bucket list from which he is constantly scratching things of like hang gliding, hiking. Etc. I would say, he’s fun to talk to because…well he is.
But don’t read me wrong. I do not mind my introvertness (is this even a word?….well it is now 🙂 ). Not at all. Quite the opposite, I love it! This however wasn’t always the case. But I won’t bore you with that moppy episode of my life. What changed? Everything and nothing at all. Everything because of the way I saw this change in its completeness, nothing because I’m still who I was back then. You see, an introvert is predisposed to do things that extroverts find it hard to do (this is not to say that extroverts can’t do
Lime-light (Photo credit: TC .)…get it? my friend the extravert and the limelight?…:)
these things…it just easier for us intros) . For example, I had a friend who was the quintessential example of extroversion. People flocked to him! I swear he should have been a politician. An he thrived in this scenario. So much that he needed that kid of attention…often. For him to be alone was borderline torture. On the other hand as in intro, I don’t mind being alone. In fact I prefer it. It enables me to think…a lot.
Something else that makes me an intro is energy expenditure. (Huh?) Yes energy expenditure. When I talk to a lot of people I get exhausted pretty fast. The irony to this fact however is that I don’t mind public speaking. Ive done it often and am quite comfortable doing it. However if I’m with a group of friends and we start talking I will usually be exhausted at the end. An extravert
won’t have this issue, quite the opposite, social interactions renews the energy of most extraverts.
Now before you go on thinking what a prude I am here me out. Intros are not anti social people. There’s a clear difference. I prefer to have tons of “me” time, but this does not mean that I hate people or that I forcibly create distance between me and humanity. Quite the opposite, intros tend to sympathize a lot easier with humanity in that they often identify with the deep issues of humanity Since we get so much alone time to think about them. You know those friends who are probably not entirely all that fun to talk to, but if you want someone to talk to about something serious you know they are the best ones for the job? Usually, the “deep conversation” friends are intros. (and I say usually because this is not always the case, there are plenty of extras who are good “deep conservationists”.)
Make no mistake, I like being an intro :). But for those of you who, like me, are intros let me give you a few cautionary advices.
1. Don’t alienate yourself. We like to think, by ourselves, a lot. But time with friends and people you care about is crucial. It’s good for your mental health and it increases your quality of life. As an intro, its ok to have 2-3 close friends (as oppose to like 20 for the extras lol) but just be sure to make it a point to spend time with them).
2. Find an outlet. One of the reasons I like blogging so much is that it provides an outlet for all these thoughts!. So find an outlet. It could be a blog, or a journal, or maybe art, drawing, song writing, whatever, just be sure that what’s in your head comes out in some form.
3. Step outside the box…often. Its easy for us to be comfortable with routines. The problem with routines is that they
World famous whitewater rafting in the Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
prevent growth. You need growth as an individual. So always look for ways to step out of your box. Do something different like karaoke maybe? How about white water rafting, or sky diving. Maybe things that are even scarier like….giving a public presentation :). Or maybe volunteer at your local food bank or other organization that needs help. Whatever your boundaries are, seek to step outside them. This will be a bit scary and at first, maybe a bit stressful. But the opportunity will enable you to grow, and thus become more holistic 🙂
So go forth you introvert you. Go forth 🙂