Monday, July 29, 2013

Extremes: Introversion vs. Extroversion

It's funny, even though I've been completely incapable of writing for the last month -- mostly because I was simply overloaded with stimuli from being constantly "on" thanks to being surrounded by family and friends while traveling -- it never occurred to me that I might be an introvert.

Sure, I've joked for a long time that I am an "extroverted introvert", but I had actually never looked up what -- exactly -- that meant. Sure, for quite some time, people -- myself included -- had commented on my "extremes": my extreme extroversion, hosting nonstop, socializing nonstop, putting myself out there nonstop; and then my extreme introversion, not leaving my house except to walk my dog, refusing to socialize, barely being in contact with even long-time friends. And yet not once, not once!, had it occurred to me to look up why this might be.

Me! The "Queen of Looking it Up"! Never, mind you, to prove myself right per se, but to find out what was right. But. Look. It. Up. I always did. And yet, and yet. Here I did not. Go figure.

So karma threw it at me. Call it a bitch slap if you will. But a friend posted a link on Facebook today called "Ten Myths About Introverts" (which, mind you, is a re-post of this original post by "Carl Kingdom), and well, slap me silly, call me stupid, mark me dumbfounded. Apparently I actually am an introvert. Who knew???

Hate small talk? Check. I actually got banned by my sorority in college (yeah, I was in a sorority, that's another story) from Rush Week  as I found the small talk so annoying, I would make up bizarre questions to test the rushees. What? You mean asking, "If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?" is not appropriate for a sorority rush?

Not shy? Check. Seriously. Have you met me?

Doesn't believe in social pleasantries? Check. Seriously. Have you met me?

Intensely values the few friends they have? Check. Without arrogance, I can say: test it. Talk to my friends. My true friends. If you've shown you're a person of substance in all matters, you earn my respect, and my loyalty forever.

"Gets it" immediately and needs to recharge? Check. Long periods "in pub-LICK" is not necessary to understand life or anything else. Trust me.

Happy with myself but does actually crave an authentic connection with someone to share things with? Check. Um. Need I say more? Of course I will though! Seriously. A night by myself is one of my favorite things. Even better though is having that one or two people who really get me, and being able to share things with them. My father once explained to me that a beautiful sunset is just that, beautiful. But it is made even more amazing by having someone with whom you can share it -- and with whom you can share the memory with for years to come, multiplying that original experience.

Doesn't make most decisions based upon what is popular or trendy? Is unique? Check. I won't even go into the fun examples, I'll just point out that, why yes, I do still have and wear clothes I owned in high school, and why yes, I did end up never getting a tattoo simply because it became too popular when I was first considering one.

Inner world much more stimulating and rewarding? Check. Seriously. I'm a writer. What do you think???

Not a thrill seeker or adrenaline junkie but instead about home or nature, not public places? Check. Where can I be found most days? Hiking or sitting at home. And I love it. What's better?

Can fix one's self? Well, on that I fail. Not check. I actually have and do try to "fix" myself. It is not that I see introversion as a flaw per se. But I do recognize it in myself and try to, well, force myself to be more extroverted.

Is this healthy? I don't know. I used to think so, as I thought it was "smart" of me to recognize a characteristic in me and work to offer "alternatives". Now? Well, perhaps just read what the article says:
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

All I know is that extremes are never good. Whether in politics, life or personality.

And God knows that I've really started to notice the extremes in personality. It can't be good to go from being "Ms. Outgoing" to "Ms. Won't-Leave-the-House". So.

So. Apparently Ms. "Queen of Looking It Up" needs to look it up; needs to spend more time reflecting upon introversion and what it means -- and who I am. Odd to think I've lived my entire life without fully realizing that several of my quirks could be related back to a personality division.

Certainly explains a lot!