Confessions of an Introvert
Growing up, I always thought I was an extrovert. I would float between the different groups at recess in elementary school, and in highschool I was always busy doing something with someone, taking the lead here and signing up for another trip there.
And then I got to college, and things changed.
First of all, new student orientation was excruciating. Embarrassing mixers and awkward icebreakers seemed to be the only thing they could think of to do. Did they get the job done? Yes—to a point. Were they fun? No. Terrifying, actually.
I began to realize that I was not an extrovert. Nope, not at all.
I met some really cool introverts, and even a few extroverts, who helped me understand that this was okay. One conversation sticks out in my mind:
Person I just met: “So, Emily, are you an introvert or an extrovert?”
Me: “Funny you should ask that…”
Person I just met: “You’re an introvert, aren’t you? Only an introvert would say that. I am, too.”
TLC for the Introvert
Sometimes we introverts feel lost in the American culture, where extroversion earns more money and has more important opinions. That’s why we spend most of our time with our books.
But I’ve noticed recently that introversion is making a comeback. In addition to the introvert-directed workshops I’ve been in and books I’ve read, last week there was an article circulating on Facebook: “23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert.” It’s secret because introversion can play a good extroversion game when necessary.
(In case you’re wondering, I scored a whopping 22/23…and if I was dating someone, it would be 23.)
All this talk about introversion brings a little smile to my introvert heart. Finally some love to the introverts! It’s about time.
Careful What You Wish For
But then I see my extrovert friends (mostly posting pictures of the party they went to last weekend and their new hair color) and think about what life would be like without them. At first, I confess, I picture a complete utopia. Then I realize that as fun as that sounds, it would get boring after a while. Besides, there would be no one to “people watch” because we’d all be inside reading (and/or writing), and have you ever watched someone read? I’d rather make small talk! (Oh wait, no I wouldn’t.)
So here’s to my extroverted friends: I’m glad you’re an extrovert! Thanks for being an extrovert so I can be an introvert. Thank you for being who you are, and know you are appreciated! You all keep being your extroverted selves and balancing our world. We’ll do the same.
And, here’s a shout out to all MY extrovert friends––Thank you for hogging that spotlight, and for keeping it off me.
In my whisper voice…..”loved your column, Emily.”
Ditto Darrell. I have always thought there was something wrong with me, but it’d becoming clearer everyday—FINALLY! (after 50-something years!)
Yes! What’s interesting is that if we lived in some cultures on the other side of the world, we wouldn’t be the ones who feel out of place!