Which are you?
As a card carrying introvert, it took me a few decades to realize
there is nothing “wrong” with me. Weeeeeeellllll…allow me to rephrase that…ahem:
While there are many things wrong with me, the fact that I’m an introvert is not one of them.
It’s been estimated that upwards of 70% of the population leans toward extroversion…so you can see how as a significant minority, we introverts could begin to feel a little like outliers whose salvation finally came with Susan Cain’s 2013 book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
So what is all this anyway? Intro- vs extro-? It’s easy to fall into the trap of generalizations and oversimplifications, e.g. →intros- are shy and extros- are “people-people”…
Not so fast, Chic-a-dees; in an ‘egg’shell, let me clarify:
This personality differentiation has to do with how we connect to the world, not only with people, but with our thoughts, our environments, and the sort of cosmic energy, starting at the atom level, that creates the universe.
→Pause for personal anecdote (a cue for those who aren’t interested to skip on down the road)…
In college, Chickens, I discovered beer.
Oh, it was ‘beer’witching!
Just a few drinks and I became an entirely different person …gregarious, quick-witted, open…the life of a party I came to love. It allowed me to become someone unrecognizable to myself…easily talking-small, meeting people, moving from one group or place to the next with gleeful ease.
Until I saw any of those people the next day and ducked into the landscaping for cover. The butterfly can’t go back into the cocoon!?! And so I went for years, living a sort of double-life…introvert by day, extrovert at night.
Alcohol helped me feel more “normal,” more like everyone else. At the same time, I realized it wasn’t sustainable…I couldn’t spend my life ducking into phone booths with a 6-pack (mostly because phone booths have gone by the wayside)...
It was this awareness that motivated me to learn more about why I was not “naturally” social…why everyone seemed to thrive talking, interacting, keeping up with who was who and when and where and what…and I had to consume a couple hundred liquid calories before I even started to care…
And so I learned about Jung and Myers-Briggs and personality types… learned that we introverts may be a minority, but we are not broken and do not have to “fix” ourselves with alcohol, Facebook, or cabi parties…we do not have to punish ourselves with situations that leave us feeling sad and spent.
And because, Chickens, learning and growing is our business…we understand the question has now become:
Innie? Outtie? OR Ambi?
An ambivert? A constant and fluid movement along the continuum? That depends upon the day, the circumstance, the company? Well! I. Will. Be. Isn’t this interesting? It is, indeed, all relative.
The key to our happiness, well-being, success, seems to be in identifying those situations, environments, and people that nourish us…that stimulate us to observe and reflect and also those that motivate us to explore and interact. We can be one and the other, from one day to the next…w/o even touching a Bud Light.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
If you’re an extro- or if you’re an intro- having and extro- day (AKA=ambi-)…share your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll be writing more about these personality types soon…