Extrovert vs. Introvert. The topic is so widely publicized these days, its hard not to get sucked into the debate. However, I think a debate is unnecessary. Why do we have to go back and forth about what personality type has a harder time functioning in normal society? Or which personality type is more likely to be successful? Or more in touch with their feelings or emotions? Truth: it really doesn’t matter. More of what matters is that you figure out what your personality type is, and how it plays into your daily life.
I never really thought about this topic until Will. When I met Will originally, he came off as this outgoing guy. This is still true. He is not shy, at least not to me. But as time went on, I realized he wasn’t exactly who I thought he was. I was so offended by his some of his behaviors, until I really explored the personality type. He enjoys spending time alone. This was one of the most confusing parts of our situation. As we were getting to know each other, I figured we would spend more time together. Truthfully, we spend a good amount of time together, but I compare it to past relationships, in which I would spend ALL of my time with my significant other, especially in the beginning. When he would tell me he just wanted to go home, sleep in his own bed, be alone, I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand why he would ever want to be alone, instead of be with me. He also gets quiet. For no reason sometimes. Although his quietness could cue me in that something may be wrong, I’ve found that he just needs to be quiet sometimes. I would go over and over in my head about what could be wrong, always assuming it was my fault. I would apologize, and there was nothing for me to apologize for. I remember one night we went out to the bar. All I wanted was for Will to spend the night on the dance floor with me. He would have rather spend the night posted at the bar, drinking with his fraternity brothers. I was crushed. I mean, why wouldn’t he want to dance with me? I mentioned Will’s behavior to Amy. She suggested he was probably just an introvert. I came across an article about “caring for your introvert” soon after that. Once I read the article, my entire mindset changed. I realized Will’s behaviors had nothing to do with me. I mean, yes, he does get quiet sometimes when he is genuinely mad at me, or he wants to go home because I’ve been a bitch. But mostly, he is unapologetically an introvert. It’s actually something I admire about him. Not the fact that he is introverted, but that he doesn’t try to pretend he isn’t. He does exactly what makes him happy. I don’t know if that’s due to past relationships and experiences, or if he has always been adamant about being true to himself. But as frustrated, offended, and hurt that I get, it’s still an aspect of him that I respect.
After learning so much about introverts, I decided to explore the other side of the spectrum. That’s when I realized all of the quirks about me were due to my extrovert personality. Growing up, teachers always told my parents how sweet I was, that I was a happy child with a lively spirit. But then they always suggested that I be educated on not being so talkative while in class. I couldn’t help it. I still can’t. I will ramble on and on. I just don’t know how to be quiet. I’ve always been social. I don’t mind being the center of attention. In fact, I usually enjoy it. But then there’s that one part of me that I wish I could change. Extroverts get recharged by the energy of others. I thrive off my interactions with people. I need human contact to be happy. Otherwise, I’m just too lonely. And lonely is when I get sad. I’ve never really felt this way before, but I’ve never really been this alone. When I went to college, I was surrounded by students in the dorms. I had roommates for a few years. Even when I lived alone, I had an entire sorority to hang out with when I needed someone. When I moved to Northern Virginia, I had David. He was always there. It wasn’t until I moved out that I realized how sad I get not being around someone. I find myself leaving my apartment, with no rhyme or reason. I will end up at the grocery store, the gym, anywhere with people. I don’t need to talk to them. But there is something about having them around me that’s comforting. It makes me feel whole again. Often I know that I need to stay home, be productive, or study. But if someone asks me to go out, I go. I go because it’s an opportunity to be with people. Sometimes I just need someone to hear me, let me ramble. I noticed this morning when Will left that I felt so empty. It’s not like I won’t see him in a few days, or even talk to him in a matter of hours. I just get sad, because I know for a period of time I will be alone. Since my personality type revelation I feel like I’ve been doing better with being alone. I’ve found that I’m occupying my time with studying, watching movies, listening to music, or just snuggling with my cats. I realize why people say extroverts are “needy’ or “clingy”, because sometimes I feel like that’s what I’m doing. When I feel it happening, I try to take a step back and figure out how to manage on my own. I will always need people. I enjoy people. I love that my energy comes from the people around me. Maybe I can work on being unapologetically extroverted.