Extrovert So Hard, It Hurts
Have you ever done a personality test? Like Myers Briggs or similar? Over a year ago, I did one. And the off the charts results that I am, in fact, a big fat "E" was no surprise to anyone. I am 100% Extrovert. I was in a room, with 7 others, hiding my nerves under the large conference room table with my clammy hands clasped tightly together in my lap. I normally don't mind talking about myself, but something about the formality of pouring out the details of my human make-up and discussing my inner workings had me all sorts of knotted up. So, I sat there in a puddle of my own sweat, waiting to be called on. I announced my results.... E for Extroversion, N for Intuition, F for Feeling, J for Judging. I was different from the group with my flaming E on show and what now appeared to be my solo result of being a HUGE emo FEELER, versus a THINKER like the rest of the room. No one gasped in astonishment. It was pretty clear to everyone that this is most certainly who I am. "Great", I thought. They all think I'm this chatty cathy, room grabber, who feels too much, all of the time, and has trouble holding it together. I felt the room nod in unison, as if to collectively say "Ah yes! This explains why she's always been the last to leave the parties and quick to have a tearful meltdown when asked how she's holding up during a chaotic work week." I was like a rare artifact behind a square glass case, being examined by museum goers. I felt even better about my results when within my interpretive report read the line “Practical - Are not seen by others or yourself as especially intellectual - Are relatively uninterested in knowledge for its own sake.” What the fork, Mr. Briggs! Did you just call me stupid?
It’s all good - I know my value and worth, Mr. Briggs.
When I've been asked 'what's your passion' or 'what do you get energized from', my response is always simple. PEOPLE. I absolutely love engaging with others and find so much joy in conversation. On the flip, here's where this hurts me more than helps me. I cannot say no, I have major FOMO when I am not involved or invited, I am constantly distracted by other's conversations and pry my way in if I'm in ear shot. I have multiple circles of friends, which sometimes overlap, but mostly do not. This ends up being a lot of work, if I'm being honest. And in the midst, I find myself lost in who I truly am. Each one of these circles offers my soul something unique and different. But each one also requests a different part of my make-up.
Can you relate?
A while back, I opened the conversation on Instagram via a honest post about being the big fat E and I was surprised at how not alone I really am.
We get butt hurt when uninvited
We get sad when not included
We yearn to be the funny one, the lively one, the one who’s talked about at parties and gatherings because we bring it to life
We just really want to be liked
We apparently think highly of ourselves…. ?
I leaned in to this, hard. The people-pleaser-always-needs-to-be-liked spirit in me was all "What? No... ALL people are my people, this is phony bologna." REALITY CHECK: Not true. I cannot possibly spread all my love and energy across all relationships equally. So, WHAT GIVES? I’ll tell you “what gives”…. extroverting too hard gives me anxiety, the inability to say no to anyone or anything, and it unfortunately gives the ones I love the most a half-ass version of me.
The beautiful thing with this whole concept, is that I clearly have an out. I have the opportunity to not try so hard because, to be honest, not everyone wants to be my friend or socialize with me, and that’s really okay. I can name a few people I don’t necessarily want to socialize with either. Do I dislike them? No, not really. I just feel my time would be better spent with the ones who energize me most, empower me, and encourage me most of all. When you dig deep and determine who those people are, it’s normally the ones you surround yourself with the most often. I’m not necessarily talking co-workers, because, let’s face it… we spend more time at work than at home, but these aren’t always “your people”, amiright? I’m talking about the ones who you seek out and they do in return. You make an effort to connect with IN PERSON, and when you part, your heart longs for their presence. Because they are SO. GOOD. FOR THE. SOUL. The ones, like your significant other, children, or childhood best friends, that you intend on spending forever along side.
So, maybe I’m not as mathmatically (can’t even spell it) intellectual as some, or will be the one to save us all from climate change, but I do now know my value and worth as a person who simply cares about the well being of others and, for me, that’s enough to spark change in the world. I do believe that I can make an impact in others regardless of my IQ or (lack thereof) college degree.
I have spent many years suffering in silence over my self doubt. That I wasn’t going to be something or someone notable and that my value would be determined by my job title or pay. I have compensated by overly socializing and relying on quantity of relationships over quality. But it’s come to my attention that quality is far more beneficial to my life and those I care about most. And I have come to realize that my personality type is needed in this world. And so is yours!
I have no intention of changing who I am, I am merely attempting to EXTROVERT with a softer, more intentional E.