Say what? An extroverted introvert? What the heck is that you ask You’re in luck. I’m going to give you a bird’s eye look into the mind of one: mine. And yes, extroverted introversion is a real ‘thing’. Go ahead and Google it to see for yourself. But do it in a new tab please. I don’t want you to get so enthralled with your reading that you forget about me and can’t find your way back. I’ll wait for you …
Back already? That was fast. Or are you so curious you’ll just trust me [for now].
So anyway, yes it is a legit thing. And it’s not an oxymoron either. Introversion and extroversion are merely two ends of a spectrum to measure and classify personality types. But it doesn’t mean a person is one OR the other. They simply tend to display more thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of one versus the other. It’s kind of like the left-brain, right-brain classification. Most of us are dominant on one side, but that doesn’t mean we don’t use the other side. A celebrated visual artist can still balance their chequebooks and a stats nerd can still write a romantic haiku for their partner.
And I my readers am an extroverted introvert. I’ve taken many a personality tests in my day and they all score me very high on any introversion-related dimensions of personality. I’ve done the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® three times, and each time was classified as an INFJ – Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging. I am rare being a part of only 1-3% of the general population. I’m cool with that.
I am also cool with being just enough extroverted to make my otherwise introverted life exciting. So exciting, I feel I have cause to share some of that life with you in this post. Hold on tight. You’re about to get into my head and like I said, I’m rare so I hope you’re cool with that too.
I’ve been married twice plus engaged one other time. I’ve been single now for about 9 years and I love it. I am very chill with the idea of living out the rest of my life alone. Apart from spending time with my 3 kids of course, but on my schedule. Do I get lonely sometimes? Hell yeah I do. But it passes. Just like my cravings for Hershey chocolate kisses and salty chips at the same time. And even when I do cave to those cravings, there’s nobody around to laugh. Or complain about the crumbs in my bed.
Speaking of beds, it’s mine, all mine. Every glorious queen-size inch of it. If I don’t want to make it, I don’t. If I want to hog all of the blankets, I do. It’s probably better that way anyway. I’m in early menopause and I get those things like night sweats and the waking up at 5 am for no damn reason and can’t get back to sleep. Single males of the world, you can thank me for not availing myself to be a mate for you. You wouldn’t want to sleep with me, in the literal or the figurative sense of the phrase. It takes more energy for me to get ready for sex than to partake in it. Oh, and to my kids – thank you for getting all growned up now and not wanting to sleep with mommy anymore. I won’t tell you how many times I cursed God for thunderstorms during your childhoods.
Being a wallflower is my modus operandi. I do it on purpose, not because I’m not popular or anything. Heck, people love being around me. Just ask the 3 friends I have, they’ll tell you. But really, put me in a crowd of folks and you’ll find me at the back of the room or off to the side of it. It’s partly because of the introverted side who always needs to have an escape route. And it’s partly because of the extroverted side who really does love observing and listening to people. I’m not trying to ignore everyone. I just prefer to watch everyone interacting than be a part of it.
Yep, sure did and I like it that way thank you kindly. Apart from my teen years when somehow I managed to be an integral part of three different social circles at school (the popular clique, the brainiac nerds, and the parking lot rebels), most of my life I’ve been able to count on one hand those I’ve honestly considered friends. Right now they are my gal pal I call “Lovely”, my BWAT, and my sponsor. While I’m sure many others will go to my funeral, I’m pretty picky about who I let get close to me. It’s a compliment, trust me.
Even from those 3 friends and umm, uhhh, yes even from my beloved children. Dang, did I really just make that public info? Guess I should start following some “good mommy” blogs in my Reader eh? If it’s just a quick back’n’forth, I’ll reply promptly. But if it involves any ‘conversation’, then likely not. Or anything about spending time with the person. I may not know today if I’ll be feeling extroverted enough then to get together. Seriously, that’s what crosses my mind. Hence the featured image pic I chose for this post. The downside of my wait and see approach is sometimes I forget about the calls or the messages. Then I feel bad.
Every year, I go the mall on Christmas Eve. Even if I don’t have to be there. Not because I like to spend 15 minutes looking for a parking spot. And not because I’m a lover of the crowds. But it does make me feel connected to the world at large without having to say anything more than “excuse me” or “double-double please … thank you” over a two-hour period of time. And because I get a kick out of looking at the horrified looks on husbands’ faces as they start their Christmas shopping for the wife. Their misery is my source of entertainment. Beats caroling in the streets with other people any year.
And my kids don’t like shopping with me, unless I’m paying for their purchases of course. They say I’m rude to the clerks who are simply doing their jobs saying hello, telling me about the sale of the day, or asking if we need any help. I don’t mean to be rude. I just don’t like the small talk [more on that one coming soon]. I have actually pretended to answer a non-existent call on my phone to present some sort of socially acceptable reason for leaving a store to get me the heck away from all of their chatty kathy’s without having to say “leave me alone.” ‘Tis a sad life we introverts lead at times I know.
The two careers I’ve had thus far have been in government services and my current field of trade, the hospitality sector. Both require a lot of talking to people, mostly complete strangers. And I’m damn good at it. I’ve even given seminars on the art of networking to hundreds of people and have written a couple of training manuals for restaurant customer service excellence. I can walk into a church basement, tell my drunkalogue and story of recovery to a room full of people I don’t know. But as soon as I’m done at the podium, I want to bolt. Don’t anyone dare come talk to me after to say thanks or ask me a question on the topic at hand. I’ve just given a week’s worth of my social time energy in one very long to me hour, isn’t that enough?
I have what the young folks these days call a ‘resting bitch face’. Please don’t take it the wrong way, it just means I’m thinking about something or trying to really focus, hence my accompanying silence likely. And it’s way worse when I’m stressed or already feeling hyper-anxious about being in the social situation I’ve found myself in. I tried to curb it before, by getting a “bitch buddy” at work who would sarcastically smile at me in passing if she saw that I had the look on. It didn’t work. Awareness improved, but just stressed me out more so it got worse anyway. Now I think the only thing that would cure it is botox. But your impression of me and my face isn’t worth spending that much money on, thanks anyway.
Well, writing this post was easy. I know the subject matter well. But I’m starting to worry that some of you may actually have something to say about it and well, that means you might comment on it. And your commenting means I will have to reply to it. And I’m not sure if I’m ready to interact with you just yet. So I think I’ll just get it over with, hit publish, and then go off into my Reader and explore what you all have been writing about. Maybe I’ll go find me some of those good mommy blogs out there, or some posts about how to smile more. Or maybe I’ll head on over to TED and re-watch the talks below to remind myself that being an introvert ain’t such a bad thing after all. Of course, with some Hershey chocolates and a bag of chips, sitting on my big bed alone but not lonely.
In somewhat of an anti-response to today’s Daily Prompt: Solitude