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Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm an Introvert

Are you gasping in surprise? I pretty much did when I figured it out. I've always thought of myself as an extrovert...

Until I started thinking about it. The clues have been laid out in front of my eyes, and I just ignored them. Things like not liking the telephone (it's still evil!). Needing my personal space. Not liking hugs from people I don't know well (no touchy!). Feeling extremely awkward at social functions unless a close friend is there to anchor me.

So, to those of you who know me, it may not be a surprise. But I'm so outgoing. I don't mind public speaking. I love a party, getting friends together. I thought I was an extrovert.

And then I remembered grade school. All through junior high and high school, I was the quiet girl. I didn't do much to come out of my shell. I made good grades, sat in the back, and never spoke up. I envied those giggly, bubbly people who chattered non-stop and seemed to have more friends than I could count.

When I left for college, I decided to change. This was my chance to change who I was. To put on a different face and re-create myself. I put on a big smile and decided to be talkative and friendly with everyone. For the most part, it worked. But it also wore me out. I could only keep up the extroverted face for so long before I needed some major alone time in my room.

Another classic trait of an introvert.

Fast-forward a decade (give or take a few years), and I've worked so hard at being an extrovert that I thought I was one. It's nice, actually, to finally understand myself. And to know that, hey, I'm not the only one out there!

Introverts unite! What are you? Introvert or extrovert? (You might not know off-hand. Find a book/quiz/something and figure yourself out. It might surprise you.)

17 comments:

Amber said...

Alright, I took 3 tests. The first one said I was 50/50. The second one said I was 80% extrovert. The third one said I have an extrovert score of 24, which means I am more of an extrovert. So, I guess I'm an extrovert, but "with a healthy dose of introvert" personality. Nice. I'd say it fits; sometimes I just need my ME space and time. But I do like to be with people. :) I would never peg you as an introvert. Surprise, surprise! (and yes, we did make our blog private, just btw)

KarenG said...

I'm an introvert, something I've always known and never tried to change. It only bothers me when I'm forced into social situations that make me uncomfortable. When I can do my own thing I'm very happy being who I am.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

Introvert here. I'm a lot like you. People even think I'm extroverted sometimes because I can be really outgoing. (What they don't realize is that I'm only that way when I feel really comfortable in a situation.)

It really came home for me this past Christmas. I went to a candy making party because a friend invited me and I thought I should get to know new people in my new town. She ended up not being able to come and I ended up in the kitchen washing dishes (happily) while everyone else socialized.

Julie Daines said...

Welcome to the club!

A lot of people mistake introvert for shy and insecure. Like you, I don't mind public speaking and I'm totally comfortable with who I am. But, I'm 100% introvert.

Robin Weeks said...

I'm 70% extrovert. :)

Kasey said...

I'm the same way! An introvert who wishes she was/tries to be an extrovert. LOVE my alone time, don't usually answer my phone, hate sitting without a close friend at a social function. You're not alone!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

so funny! I think most people are introverts by nature.

@Kasey, I totally pegged you as an introvert the other night! I was like, "Gasp! Kasey's an introvert too!"

@Kayleen, that's hilarious. I can see myself doing that too.

@Karen, I should've known from my early behavior that I'm an introvert!

@Julie, so funny b/c I always thought introverts were shy. I'm not shy and I'm really outgoing. I just internalize things a lot more!

@Amber, yay you found some tests! I think I have good doses of both in me as well.

Isn't it fun to find stuff out about ourselves? :)

Jen Daiker said...

Definitely an introvert. I think it's worsened over time. However, when I'm out and about you'd never guess it. Most people don't know the anxiety I harbor until I find myself at the party faking it. Only my husband. Gah, he's amazing. Keeps me sane.

Elisa said...

For me it is TOTALLY situational. So I guess that means I'm both as well. But I'd say there are 2 huge determining factors for me: 1) how comfortable am I with MYSELF at the time. Even if I don't have super close friends in attendance, I think I'm kind of a social butterfly...IF (and that is a big if) I feel pretty and confident and generally good about myself. It doesn't matter so much who is there, as how I'm feeling at the time. and 2) how tired I am. If I'm tired, I never have the energy to socialize. It is just too draining and I'd rather be alone. Or one on one. I can't stand the 'me-monster-ness' of a lot of social gatherings. Why does everyone have to one-up each other or talk so loud? It kind of rubs me the wrong way if there is an extremely extroverted individual around. Tone it down a notch, ya know?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Elisa, girl, you're an introvert. Even if I didn't know you, that comment alone gives it away! An introvert doesn't mean you're not social. It means you do your thinking and processing internally rather than externally (i.e. verbally). And yes, very loud extroverted people can make you back away even more!

thatgoodpart said...

um...I'm the opposite of you, I think. I tend to be extroverted, and every test I took said so, but I wish I was more introverted. I always wanted to be mysterious...but I can't help my big mouth.

As I've gotten older, I've become more introverted - and it is a good thing. It helps to keep me out of trouble. It helps me to be more responsible (especially with kids and stuff). Being single was when I was first forced to be alone a lot, and I learned to really enjoy alone time.

I've always wanted to be less extroverted because I put my foot in my mouth all the time. And almost every time I get together with people, I have some kind of "talker's remorse" - I feel like I may have been offensive or come off too strong...

I have always admired the people who say almost nothing in a situation, and then when they do, It's always either super wise or super hilarious. I know that is what attracted me to my husband, and he is totally an introvert.
-catania

James Duckett said...

I'm an introvert. Bred from a family of extroverts, oddly enough. Throw on that the fact that I'm also shy... and maybe a little insecure (which I understand is not necessarily what an introvert is).

Quiz: I sat with you between breaks once, maybe twice, at Story Makers last years. I was the quiet one with the dear-in-the-headlights look. Do you remember me, or did I successfully blend into the background? :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

@Catania, ha ha! I can totally see the extrovert in you!

@James I remember you! But only b/c we were introduced. Unless I'm thinking of someone else. I remember my first conference. I had all these plans of going from table to table, handing out business cards with a smile and meeting everyone. In reality? I barely talked to those sitting next to me. sad.

Aaron and Emily said...

I believe that we change depending on who we're around. People don't like to admit they have two faces, but most of us all do. It has to do with the way people treat us too. Around certain people I might be shy, but around those I am more comfortable with, I might be the life of the party. I suppose there are some people that are always extroverts, or always introverts, but I think some of us are a mix of both. One certain sister in law things I am TOTALLY introverted. You know me better. Of course, she can't stop talking when we're together, so that probably has something to do with it. Maybe it's also that our self perceptions are skewed. What am I? I am really not sure. I would tag you as an introvert among crowds and strangers, and VERY extroverted among your friends!

Mary Gray said...

I am totally an introvert! Your blog makes sense. You HAVE done an incredible job at putting on the extrovert face. You're so good at talking with people!!

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm an introvert. When I teach and in certain situations, I can be an extrovert. But I'm pretty self conscious.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Mary, you probably remember at conference, all my aspirations to talk to everyone--and I never did! I dream of being an extrovert!

Emily, I think all introverts are outgoing among friends. An introvert can be outgoing! They just need downtime. Alone.

Theresa, totally get what you mean!

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