Saturday, July 21, 2012

Being an extrovert

We all hear talk about extroverts vs introverts.  But I wonder how many people really know which they are and what the labels even mean.  Knowledge of what I am has helped me avoid depressions, which I have suffered from without the proper tools.

I am an extrovert.  Not because I am friendly and outgoing but because I am ENERGIZED when I'm around other people.  There are PLENTY of friendly introverts.  But unlike them, when I don't spend time with my friends, I start to feel depressed and lonely.  I learned that I need to reach out and spend time with people when I'm feeling this way.  Bad, bad, bad for the extrovert to retreat emotionally and wallow alone.  I also tend to go on Facebook more when I feel blah but online connections DO NOT FULFILL my inner need to connect with people.  I actually spend MORE time online when I'm blue because that deep need doesn't get fulfilled.  Only face to face contact really does the trick. 

I think out loud, as I'm talking.  Yes sometimes I say TOO much and regret it so I'm working on this BUT, when I have a lot in my head, it just swirls around with no words attached until I start talking to someone.  Til then, I am often tense and agitated.  Talking helps my thoughts become coherent and my anxiety lifts.   

When I'm talking/working through something that's bothering me with a friend, sometimes I have regret because what comes out in the processing stage can be inaccurate and not a true reflection of my final opinion.  I just think BEST when I'm talking.  My husband has teased me and suggested that I talk out loud to myself.  I do that too!  haha!  But it's different with people who give me feedback and help steer my brain.  

I also like writing.  I find it really helps to get my thoughts in order too.  The more that gets out, the less stays in and the less stressed I am.  But I have to read out loud, each and every post before I publish it.  Sounds different when I say the words vs reading them in my head.

If you look up qualities of an extrovert, I do have many, but I actually do not like crowds or being center stage.  I find one on one the best.  I like to get deep in conversation right away.  Skip the small talk and get on with it!  Again I realize this is part of my need to connect.
In the same breath I don't mind talking in front of a large crowd, but I don't need the attention to fulfill an inner need. And if there is another extrovert in the room who has the spotlight, I sit safely in observation mode.  I am not competitive in any way, contrary to what people might think of me.

Yes I talk a lot and fast.  I interrupt others and finish sentences. I jump from subject to subject. And I am animated when I talk.  Lovely extrovert qualities that some can only handle in small doses.  (Hey I'm VERY realistic!)  But that's the beauty of knowledge.  I am in my mid-30s now and this knowledge has given me a sense of confidence.  I know how to rein in a bit when needed and step it up when the party needs a little oop la!  I also don't doubt myself like I used to and better understand the expectations I place on myself and the people around me.

I felt led to share this with you and make myself a little vulnerable because if anyone else struggles with social issues, this fresh perspective could be just the thing that helps.  (Not to negate the serious issues that people suffer from.)  But understanding how you process things and how you react to things might help you overcome some hurdles in your life.

For more info on extroverts vs introverts, just do an internet search.  There are TONS of resources online.

Thanks for swinging by!


In Light of the Truth... said...

It's funny you posted this because just this week I've been thinking a lot about whether I am extrovert or introvert. I always thought I was introvert because I am shy in large group situations, crowds suffocate me, and then a few days ago someone said to me "You are an extrovert!" and it got me thinking about how much I DO absolutely thrive on being around others. ANY day I'd rather invite others to come have a playdate WITH us than for us to just hang at home by ourselves. If we're going to the park or anywhere else, I almost always invite others to join us. I'm the initiator of gatherings and events. Being with others, a small group of others, friends I'm close with, is exciting to me. And you're so right, online stuff just not fulfill in the same way at all! Hope you can still find a social balance next week with homeschooling! That's one of the big reasons I don't want to go that route!

Mary said...

Re: homeschooling that is one of my concerns and especially for one of my also extroverted children. But I am praying for wisdom when it comes to that and if we only do it for a year, I tried!

In Light of the Truth... said...

That's great, Mary! Almost everything we do as parents is trial and "error"! That's what life is about!

In Light of the Truth... said...

LOL, just realized I said earlier "next WEEK with homeschooling". Obviously meant next YEAR! oops!

IM said...

Finally someone puts it in a realistic light. I'm tired of all this clichees of extroverts as "annoying, shallow party people".

I'm - like you - a full blooded extrovert. I get energized by being around people. But not just ANYBODY. But people I like, I care for, I love speaking to. I don't get energized by meaningless small talk and I don't enjoy parties that much.
The best way to refill my batteries is going out for a drink with close friends or having a nice dinner. I just need a handfull of friends - but meeting them as often as possible is mandatory for my mental stability.

Since I'm also a Highly sensitive Person - believe me it's not an easy mix ;) - I get easily overwhelmed and need time to relax. I love being in nature. I love having a quiet atmosphere more than sound and noise everywhere. I love reading and I'm actually a librarian... most people told me extroverts are not meant to be librarians. But I am.

Thanks for putting it into perspective...

IM said...

oh and another think I usually NEVER read online:

Introverts say their extrovert friends should respect that they need their alone time. That's true.
But Introverts also should respect that their extrovert friends sometimes just NEED someone to talk to, to grab a drink with. It's not that they want to be annoying. It's not that they have plenty of people to choose from when they are blue.
I can get depressed if I feel that my batteries are empty and I just NEED to interact with a friend. And when this person lets me down - I not seldomly spend my evenings crying at home.
So, please, dear introverts who are reading this: Sometimes you, too, should come out of your shell and support your friends. If they seem to be annoying because they wanna hang out with you. Ask them, how they really feel... you can help them a lot if you just meet them for an hour or two and talk to them.

Mary said...

IM... Thanks for sharing! I am with ya! Good advice for our introverted friends!