Last week one of my best friends (who also happens to be my blog editor) wrote a piece called The Introverted Extrovert: A True Story. If you have not had the chance to read this here is a link.
Now. This is a counter-post to his piece. I read through this post and felt as though we get along so well, as friends, because I am the exact opposite. I even made the point to post this on his link because simply that us. He is an introverted extrovert and I am an extroverted introvert.
Following along similar lines as his post I also found some important tips for taking care of the extroverts in your life.
I believe I am partially this way because I am an only child and because of the environment I grew up in. So basically it’s your classic nature vs. nurture argument. It’s no secret I am extremely independent. My mom likes to entail anecdotes about how I would make her upset because whenever she dropped me off for Sunday School or Preschool I took on the attitude of, “Sweet! People like me! Peace, lady,” and would charge towards those similar to my height and age and not even glance back. When she would come to pick me up, I would become extremely upset, which made her feel like I didn’t want to be with her. I still feel extremely upset at times when I have gotten the chance to be with colleagues or friends and then have to fall back into my routine of going to work and studying by myself. The Arizona Music Educators Association Conference (AMEA) and Spring Break this year are two perfect examples. I enjoyed my time spent with friends, catching up with everyone, and sharing ideas—then suddenly I was thrown back into solitude. It took me a few days to be comfortable again with being by myself all the time. I enjoy group dinners, parties, seeing movies with people and of course hiking in a group. I enjoy being around people and like to ensure everyone is having a good time. I have been known to introduce people (who have already met) several times because I want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. I enjoy being around people and like to ensure that everyone is having a good time.
Now here’s the kicker. When I’m thrown into a larger group of people I don’t know I close up. I become extremely shy and withdrawn. This I believe stems from being the youngest on the extended side of the family by six years, so all of my cousins were in their teen years when I was eight or so. Believing they were much cooler than me and feeling I had no idea what to say to them, I would act the same way I do in large groups. I study the situation and hold back a bit. I’m not quite comfortable with people knowing I’m quirky right off the bat, although you find out soon enough so I really should just get over this fact.
And then there are times I enjoy being by myself. Which lately feels like a lot. I just grab a season of Gilmore Girls, saunter on up to my room and watch an episode, or read on the roof. As much as I enjoy being around others I am extremely comfortable with being by myself. I like to cook a large dinner for just me, pop in a movie and curl up. I think this is an only child factor where I’ve been by myself so much I enjoy it a lot. I have fun with me and that’s all there is to it. Even at times when my roommates are home I’ll curl up in my room because I just simply want to be quiet. And there were times in undergrad that I yelled at myself thinking I needed to go out and be around others, but I simply came to the conclusion of, “Why? I’m not enjoying myself. I’d rather hang out here and have some good ol’ fashioned me time then force myself to go to a party and not have fun.” So I simply settled down for the night and watched Jurassic Park, or Gilmore Girls, or whatever was on TV that weekend.
But there are times I am lonely and want companionship. As stated earlier, the AMEA Conference and Spring Break were prime examples. I had the opportunity to see a fantastic group of friends, or hang out with one particular person I care for several times in one week and then suddenly they were gone. And that’s hard because I get used to something and “comfortable” so to speak, and when change happens I’m thrown a little bit. So I go around in a funk for a few days before settling back into my routine and being “comfortable” with being alone again. Inevitably though I begin to enjoy being by myself and settle down.
However, I’m extremely happy and ok with both versions of myself. I feel I need to balance because too much of something is never a good thing. Sometimes I want to spend more time with people and visit, and other times I want to be by myself. And that’s certainly ok. Because I seem to go through seasons and stages that bend and flex with me. I remember advice given to me once that there is not a right or wrong way to live life. It’s different for every person. I just have to decide how I want to live my life.