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I recently read a fantastic review on the book The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney. This morning I also stumbled upon this post, by Alexandra Corinth, thanks to WordPress’s Freshly Pressed. These posts have led me to give more thought about the intro- versus extrovert subject, and how it has played, and continues to play, a role in my life.
It took me a long time to come to the realization that I am an Introvert. Even now, I’m still trying to figure out what that means. I’ve always said that certain parts of my personality came from growing up as an only child. And perhaps, that did play a role in making me an introvert. But I also know plenty of only children who are extroverts and thrive on being surrounded by others at all times.
I require alone time. If I spend too much time around a bunch of people, I get anxious and stressed out. I prefer working alone. I would truthfully rather spend the evening at home reading a good book or watching movies than out at a loud, crowded bar. When I have too many events/activities on my calendar, I get worn out. I spend a LOT of time mulling over the details of a situation or event in my head. When I meet new people, I take time to figure them out before I put myself out there (which apparently often makes me come across as icy or snobby). I pride myself on often being intuitive to the emotions of my close friends and family. I like having my “space,” and hate when people enter my “bubble” before I’m ready for them to (seriously, don’t put your arm around me if we just met).
I found myself agreeing with Corinth as she described moving from extrovert to introvert due to various life events, except that I went from introvert to extrovert. When I joined a fraternity in college (co-ed), I was forced to become more outgoing. I was constantly surrounded by all types of people, all the time. There were social events on a regular basis, and duty requirements I needed to fulfill. Don’t get me wrong, college was the best four years of my life, and I have
friends family that will be a part of my life, for the rest of my life.
But looking back, those few years were also years in which I felt very lost. I stumbled around doing things I had never imagined myself doing, and I had no idea who I was anymore. The first year out of college, I was still very confused, and very unhappy. It wasn’t until I decided I needed to take charge of my life and find myself again that I started easing back into my introverted ways. Now-a-days, I’m getting better about find that happy medium where I can take time for myself but also interact with all the people I hold so dear. I’m more upfront with people about my personality, which makes meeting new people a little easier.
I think it’s important for introverts and extroverts to interact and learn how to understand and “deal” with each other. My best friend is an extrovert, and I love her dearly. But we have learned that there are going to be times when we just can’t stand each other, and when those times come about, we each need to take a respective step back and remind ourselves that we will never agree on everything. Nor should we expect to, because we both handle life in different ways.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What role does it play in shaping your world?
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