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An introvert.Rather an extroverted introvert.
I am a what?.... extroverted- introvert. Who? Well, me.....
Bah! I hear a few of you pushing off that as though I have just made a wrong statement.
This might come in as a surprise for those who think they 'know' me. Well, to be honest, I did think that way too. After all, the Myers-Brigg tests as a young adult always told me I should be an extrovert. Did it really? Well, no. It was because I tried really hard to answer the 'way I was supposed to react to different situations' and not 'how I actually reacted'. That always got me the 'Extrovert' status. Plus the stereotypes we have for introverts and extroverts are usually like common knowledge. Since I have always been labeled as being talkative since childhood and also a person with a great knack to start a conversation even when I did not know a person made me feel like an extrovert too. Even though that part is true, I am usually comfortable only with myself and the closest circle. It is not today but has always been so. I know that even though I managed to 'look' gregarious in a large group, I was actually always lonely and lost. I probably was very stressed after such huge gatherings and always preferred the intimate settings. Today, when I try and take that same test, I only answer what I actually think and actually do. And yeah, I am an introvert in almost all tests. I am not saying these tests are a be-all and end-all for all this but they do indicate the reasons for why I felt so every time. However, the test indicates I am more towards introvert end of the spectrum but still am not entirely one.
We love to understand the human psyche and thus, research is always making progress by unraveling new and interesting facts. The same goes for our understanding of introversion and extraversion. However, just like every other pseudo science info that circulates in our society, the ones about the introverts and extroverts are also stereotyped. For instance, these are a few of the traits we associate with a typical introvert and extrovert: Introverts don't really open up about themselves vs. extroverts are like open book. Introverts do not talk much vs. Extroverts are very talkative. It goes on and on. Well, yes, I agree I am a friendly person and can enjoy a good conversation with a stranger. You need to read it as 'good'. It doesn't mean I connect and relate to a whole group of people easily.
The shift to the US of A has taught me a lot more about myself than I ever knew. It could be because of the transition, or the PhD program, marriage, or even the years I have added to my pages of life. I don't know which helped in what, but I surely do recognize a lot more about myself than I did back in India. One such important discovery is that I am an introvert.Yes, I am still comparatively talkative (or should I say, I can manage to talk to strangers), but if you ask me how I enjoy that 'space', I must say I am usually stressed going to larger parties. I think my talking and conversations are a way to hide that discomfort. I am not socially awkward (yet) and probably that knack to smile and just 'be' gives across a feeling that I am extrovert. But these large groups drain my energy so much that it disturbs my 'aura' and doesn't really add positivity. However, in an intimate setting, I am more comfortable, happy and rejuvenated.
Yes, I HATE large parties (I always did, but this change reiterated the fact), I do not like to have a large group of guests to host and instead prefer an intimate gathering of friends. This attitude does not really bode well in this far away land as I am finding it as a hindrance to meet friends. But I should say, I am comfortable with the handful of good ones and family. Yes, had I been an extrovert, shouldn't I have had a whole group of friends?
I also realize that I have always been this way - I am comfortable in my own cozy home and with the company of books, good music, and great cinema. I used to enjoy that solitude and the company of my family back in India too. I think my motivation helps me write and read more along with binge watching Netflix or television (guilty pleasure!). I love the calm walk at a beach, hot coffee or chai conversation over happy hours.
I have also come to realize that I am not a really big 'keep in touch person' as much as I assumed myself to be. I did try and force myself to that initially but didn't really enjoy that phase. Yeah, for a few it fell flat because of lack of reciprocation and most others it was intentional.I am not saying I totally detest my friends or don't like talking to a lot of them. I think I do but it is hard to find that connection. A lot of times the connection seems to be a broken one and I do not enjoy extending it over a dinner or lunch. I also like the silence in my car as I drive or even when I am with my hubby. It is funny, right?
I had this conversation with a friend, Soumya (school friend) after almost 8 months, just a few ago. While talking we were discussing about how we have come to realize our own true self after we have moved to this country. She also agreed with the same fact that she has realized how much of an introvert she was in every sense. I am not sure if this is a way I am evolving as I grow but if the fact about introverts were to be true, I do fit one most important thing- conflict. I have conflict with conflict. As in, I am never comfortable being in a conflict and that agrees with the introvert nature. As much as I love to host people, I think I enjoy a smaller group than a large group. Well, interesting finding right? I am sure, this post might make you wonder if I am really one as I have gone about yapping about a simple topic this long... Remember writing is a great way that I enjoy my 'me-time'. This writing is to my close audience who read my page and to myself as I talk to my journal :)
So, are you an introvert or an extrovert? Whatever you think you are, give it sometime and also don't think about the stereotypes. You will see your true self :) By the way, also remember none of us ever fall into just one of this, I do agree that I do have a few EXTROVERT qualities in me but it is just that I largely fall under this end of the spectrum.
If these links were to believed, I totally fit the bill: