Personalities are fascinating. You live your life thinking and behaving a certain way, only to realize other people don’t and are therefore obviously complete lunatics. How we process social situations and how we make sense of the world can be traced to the inherent ways in which our brains are wired.
Apparently, people are considered either introverted or extroverted. Of course sometimes we toggle between the two personalities to fit the situation. As Carl Jung* once said:
It wasn’t until middle school when I realized which end of the spectrum I live.
My first big sign: I didn’t like to be around large groups of people. Hell, some days I didn’t like to be around small groups of people. I would much rather sit underneath a tree, stare off into space or read a book. Maybe sit on a park bench and have a meaningful convo with a pair of mourning doves.
I know you’re absolutely stunned by this admission. After all, I’m a writer**. Even worse, I’m a blogger. Not exactly known for being the life of a party. Especially once people at the party find out I’m a blogger.
If you’re extroverted, I honestly think you’re pretty dang awesome. You got it goin’ on, baby! I wish I could be more like you but I find it so mentally exhausting. My husband is more of an extrovert. We’ve been together 16 years and he still struggles to understand me.
This is the definition I found online for an “introvert”
noun a shy, reticent, and typically self-centered person
Whoa. Day-um! My guess is this definition was written by an extrovert. First off, I am not shy. Second, I am the opposite of self-centered. Sure, I might prefer my own company to others, but trust me, I’m always thinking of you in spirit. And third, what the hell does reticent mean? Anyone? I don’t have time to look it up because I’m too busy being self-centered.
So I thought maybe I’d clear a few things up for you extroverted guys. And for you fellow introverts, see if any of the following rings true for you.
- I am not mad. I always seem to have an intense look or frown on my face. This does not mean I’m angry or judging you, it’s the opposite. My brain is constantly racing and observing, trying to make sense of why you extroverted people keep bugging me to go group skydiving or hang out at a packed concert all night. I’m just trying to figure out what makes you tick and how to get you to leave me the hell alone so I can go read a book in silence.
- I hate small talk. Talking with someone about the weather is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I will do it, but I dread it. What excites me is discussing heavy subjects like religion or string theory or why when the bread falls out of the bag you can never cram it back in the same way again. I don’t shy away from controversial subjects, I live for it. Please for the love of god — let’s get down to what we’re really thinking people. You want to have a deep discussion about the theory the universe is one giant hologram? I will talk about that until the cows come home or the bread is properly stuffed back into the bag. To me, small talk is painful and meaningless. I’d rather sit in silence with the person.
- I don’t like big crowds. Any place with more than three people is hell for me. I will go to a concert, I will meet you at that packed restaurant, but I’ll become mentally drained after 30 minutes. But sit me down on a quiet beach with maybe one or two friends and I’m in heaven. I like to focus intently on one person at a time. This is probably why people consider me a good listener. Because I like to listen.
- I am not anti-social. I love people. I like to talk with people. I’m genuinely interested in what people are thinking or feeling, honest. Maybe too much. I think this is why I need downtime after socializing to decompress and organize my thoughts.
- I love the quiet. Some people have this need to fill in every moment of their waking lives with sound, like they need constant stimulation whether it’s a blaring radio or background TV noise or nonstop chatter. I have to sit in silence for large chunks of time. It helps me process things because let’s face it, I love to live in my mind most days. I know this might irritate you extroverted types, but trust me, we need this like you need lots of mental stimulation and excitement.
- I hate being the center of attention. Most of us crave recognition, we all like praise. But something happens if people are suddenly noticing me or talking about me. I get very uncomfortable. I feel like shielding my face with my hands and saying, “LOOK AWAY! I’M HIDEOUS!” I’m not sure why. I would love to say it’s because I’m modest but I’m much too arrogant to believe that’s true. I would rather be on the outskirts, lurking in the shadows of the limelight.
- I am not shy. When we first meet, I might not talk a lot. This is because I’m busy observing, taking things in, analyzing. Once you get to know me over time, you’ll regret letting me talk because I will not shut up. Especially if we start talking about things like which personality types we’re born with.
This is just a list about me, I’m sure other introverted or extroverted people might disagree with the above. Let me know if you’d consider yourself either personality or if you have any other traits you’d like to add in the comments below.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? Take this quick quiz I found by Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet.