that hits you like a truth bomb you weren’t expecting. FB memories threw up this post I’d shared two years ago. A link to this piece about the struggle of having an outgoing personality but being an introvert. Two-years-ago-me seemed to think every single point in the piece was applicable to me. And it was true. Then.
Some stuff has changed, but a majority of the list still holds true, though. And some of it is so succinctly to the point. Like point #1 on the list that is so spot on, and so me at the moment.
You’re not anti-social, you’re selectively social.
Point #4 talks about being the life of every party. I was never the life of every party, but I did enjoy socialising when the mood and right opportunity aligned. Now, the will to do that has faded and I find myself retreating inwards even when an opportunity that I might have jumped at even just 6 months ago presents itself.
The next point though, still holds true, post any hectic engagement.
…You then retreat into three days of complete solitude to recover.
And then there’s #8 which is still the reason I get myself into a lot of trouble.
You’re accused of being flirty with everybody, which is hilarious, because in reality, you can only tolerate like four people.
It’s not so much flirty as much as it is just exceptionally affable, which has been taken as flirty, mistaken as not-single-but-ready-to-mingle, and open for service on more than one occasion. Usually it hits me when I’m already too far into the friendship and I have had to do a lot of damage control in recent time. This is fatiguing to say the least.
The diametric opposite of “flirty” behaviour mentioned above is the cold ice-princess air that I have been told I exude. It’s entirely unintentional. It is mostly me just keeping to myself because I am either feeling inadequate or don’t have anything to contribute. But it’s almost always misunderstood and taken to be snobbery. Like it says in in point #9.
You retain an air of mysteriousness about you, completely unintentionally.
Points #12, #13 and #14 are all me. To the T.
You’ve never really understood the whole “introvert vs. extrovert” dichotomy (can we call it that?) Because you’re… both…
You’re always thrown into the wringer because people think you’re best suited to be the one who gives the presentation, confronts the boss, gives the speech, etc. Meanwhile, you’re practically throwing up over the thought of it.
You ebb and flow between wanting to be noticed for your hard work, reveling in the attention and achievement you receive, to sinking and panicking over the thought of somebody else paying more than 30 seconds of attention to you.
I can’t tell you the number of times my being lively, outgoing, social, wanting to engage and be in the company of people has been taken to be a good reason to assume I’m ready to throw myself in front of a group of people to make a presentation. I’ve found myself in this position in the past. It sucks infinitely. Especially when I’m told things like “but you’re so good with big groups” and then you have to try and explain, in vain, the absence of the connection between the two.
The remaining list has points that apply at some times, some points that no longer hold good – like the bit about being the life of the party dancing on the table and doing body shots, the point about indecisiveness and the bit about avoiding people but making it look like there’s nothing in the world I’d rather be doing when I do meet them. I was never the loud life of any party. Never. I used to be fairly indecisive, but that has changed noticeably and significantly in recent times. I still go out of my way to avoid people when I don’t feel like meeting them, but I don’t make efforts to cover it up. I am fairly honest about wanting my space and solitude. And when I take it, I am quite unapologetic these days.
Possibly the most fitting point on this list that’s applicable today is the very last one. #18.
It’s taken you years to figure out that you’re shy. Literal years. And when you tell people, even your closest family members, that you’re “actually just shy” they pause, and then their eyes go big, and they go: “Oh my god you so are.”
It has taken absolute ages to realise the fine differences and that gradient, between what we think are two polar opposite states to exist in. It is possible to be both an introvert and an extrovert and have phases where you linger in the grey areas in between, sometimes indefinitely.
It’s also entirely possible for things change. Drastically. They keep transforming. Rough edges get smoothened, new angles emerge, you may soften up about some things that you cared deeply about, and you may develop new non-negotiables. The few tendencies of extroversion I once had, may have gone into hiding in recent times. My inability to sit still and be with myself from a decade ago has somehow vanished entirely.
If there’s one thing I’ve realised about myself in recent time it’s that I no longer enjoy hanging on to my aversions or to hang on to anything so tight that I’m left lost and unanchored when that state ceases to exist. It’s the only way to move through change with as little tumult as possible.
So yeah, it was interesting to see that virtually every single point on this list was applicable to me just two years ago, before a time when I fully understood that I was actually am ambivert leaning towards the introvert side of the spectrum. Before I realised there were sufficient anomalies to the general rule, to keep me out of the water tight compartmentalisation of one or the other. And long before I realised that that was perfectly okay. And today while so much of it has changed, so much still remains.