Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Introvert or Extrovert?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I don’t think most people are strictly one or the other.  I am sure there are some cases that are, like the unabomber or someone like him who lives the life of a hermit.

I am 70% introvert and 30% extrovert.  These are not scientific numbers, simple my own perception of myself.

I have always been shy.  If I know you or feel very comfortable with someone I don’t really know, I am very much an extrovert and you can’t shut me up generally.

People that know me, however, tend to disagree with my self-assessment as shy.  They only view me as they see me: loud, chatty, friendly, silly, fearless, etc.

It is interesting to me that others see me in ways that I don’t see myself.  Of course, some of the things they see I see as well, but things like being fearless or extroverted are not how I see myself.

I am definitely not fearless.  I have more fears than I care to share, but that is precisely why they see me that way.  My feeling is like someone in war: do not show your weaknesses or they will be used against you.

Therefore, very few people know my fears.  I keep them to myself.  Aside from my fear of spiders and heights, most people do not know any of my other fears.  Those two are hard to hide as I cannot even walk near the railing of a second floor staircase, balcony or in the mall.  Spiders I am better at hiding a little, but if it’s a big one or particularly gnarly, I will screech like a little girl while flailing around.

I definitely do not see myself as extroverted.  I live inside my head.  I process everything in my mind and do not usually discuss my thoughts.  This is a huge part of why I communicate best in writing.  My thoughts simply flow “on paper” more than they do from my mouth.

I am perfectly content to sit back and watch or listen in a social setting.  For starters, as I said earlier, I am shy if I don’t know people well.  I also do not like to shout in order to be heard.  If I have to compete to be heard, I just won’t speak.

My extroverted side comes out randomly.  I will have moments or days in which I am withdrawn and completely introverted and others where I am a sudden social butterfly.  There are days that I am silent.  It isn’t that I have nothing to say, I just do not feel like sharing.  There are days I won’t be quiet.

One setting in which I am always an extrovert, which explains why some of my friends see me this way, is work.  When I started working way back when I was 16, I started working in a service industry.  I spent several years working retail, which requires interaction with customers.  Then I worked as a receptionist, which requires interaction with clients.  Then I worked as an assistant teacher in a day care, which requires interaction with both children and their parents.  Then I worked as an independent consultant for one of those companies that you have demonstrations in your home and you get free or discounted products (I won’t name which one here), which requires a lot of interaction with people.  Then I worked as a receptionist and in customer service, etc….

You get the idea.  All of my work experience has consisted of some kind of customer service.  I have been trained to be social and friendly and people pleasing in these settings.  Even if I am just shopping, I have the instant flashback to retail work and smile at everyone, pick things up that have fallen, help people reach or find something they cannot reach or find.  It is weird, I know.

I wonder how many people are more introverted than extroverted or if I am in the minority.

No comments:

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP