I've been thinking a lot lately about the scale of introversion and extroversion and where I land in the gradient and how to live with my various super-powers and impediments. Before I began to read about the topic and have deep conversations , and back when I barely knew the words, I really thought of myself as an extrovert. I was/am very loud and outspoken (most of the time) and I love being with people and feeling included in the crowd.
Definitions-ish: These words are hot topics right now and I don't really think there's any cookie-cutter box to file people into. I am certainly no professional psychologist or whatever, but from what I've learned, in GENERAL, extroverts are energized by social interaction, while the same social time exhausts introverts. They can look the same on the outside, act the same way during the party, but when they get home, the extrovert's battery is full and the introvert's needs some serious recharge time.
Where I think I fit in the spectrum: I'm definitely between the two, but I think on the most basic level, I fall under the introvert tree. I'm becoming more and more aware of how exhausted I am after people and how my social anxiety tugs on me nearly always. I've always always always loved going to movies and plays by myself. I love going to a restaurant and whipping out my book in one hand, with my fork in the other. Today I went upstairs to eat breakfast with Game of Thrones in hand, but there was already someone in there with a coffee cup, ready to chat. In theory, I want to share all moments with other people and have the cute Instagram photo to prove it, but I often find myself getting bored or stressed about what to say/do once I am actually WITH the other person. I love love love conversations and hearing new points of view on the world, but I find basic small talk (and even good conversations, but that I've had a million times) dull and frustrating. It depends a little on my mood and the person I'm talking to, but I develop these kind of "talking points" over time for common topics and I end up just spitting out the same words every time, often in a brusque tone. Like, "why I don't like LA" and "the difference between NY and LA and Chicago", for example. But I love smiling at strangers walking by on the street and the occasional elevator quip. One of my favorite things to do / my awkwardness defense mechanism is to find something really specific to compliment people on. Whenever I can't think of something to say, I compliment. When I'm in my element, dinner parties are my favorite thing. I love floating around, and having little deep conversations with people and sharing a laugh. Those are my extrovert days. I feel like the Energizer bunny after those kind of parties.
I'm pretty controlling and working/being with other people is tiring because of the air of compromise. I hate group projects because I either try to push too hard for my way and end up annoying people/myself or just giving people the space to join in and judging internally. Being bossy is exhausting. I'm working on it, but it's nice to be alone sometimes. (That part doesn't really fit into the intro/extro talk, but whatever.)
Mini non sequitur: I'm having a hard time socially right now. The way I describe it is that I have tons and tons and tons of really really great and loving and wonderful acquaintaces, but no friends. I love the people I have in my life and I would consider many of them a number one in my circle, but I don't feel like I'M the number one to anyone. There's no one who calls me first with the news, or no group chat that everyone dumps their lives into. I mostly notice what I'm missing when I witness that kind of interaction all the time between my different friends. I'm really good at jumping into a group and having a jolly good time, but I'm not really a part of it, and it's obvious, at least to me. There are the obvious signs, like inside jokes and old stories, but there's also just the basic history and familiarity, like the way to cuddle and how to eat together and the best way to talk about the new episode of this or that show. I'm in a shitty transition period right now. I've never really had those kind of friendships and I really want them, but they don't sprout out of thin air immediately. They take time and spontaneity. I once had lunch with one of my best friends (He is really a number one. So busy, so we hardly see each other, but we definitely are two slices of the same brain and heart.) and he told me about this article he had read about "best-friend"ship. He told me that there were essential elements needed for that kind of bond that simply can't be manufactured. The main thing is unplanned experiences. There needs to be a common denominator of time and space--usually school or work--where spontaneity flourishes. You can plan all the lovely lunches and slumber parties and deep talks you want, but the bonds and memories of true, deep friendship are forged in the walking together to the next class or joking about your boss or whatever. That really hit home for me, cause I've tried so hard for so long to plan and plan, but it never got me where I wanted to go. I CAN'T CONTROL EVERYTHING. Listen, brain!
The Ultimate Tug-o-war: Allow myself the time and space I need to recharge (i.e. introvert) OR push myself a little to try a new thing or build up stamina (i.e. extrovert). It's a daily push and pull. It's especially prevalent in my life right now because I'm in Paris for five and a half months to immerse in the language and explore and discover the world! Everyday I say to myself: "IMMERSE IMMERSE NO COMPUTER TALK TO PEOPLE STUDY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BEAUTIFUL CITY" but then I'm also like, "Woah, I'm tired and I want to talk to my family/friends and maybe rest my brain by watching a TV show or reading a book and that's OKAY". I think both are totally valid, it's just about finding the right balance. Cause it's easy to fall into the trap of staying in bed and living life like normal, and miss out on time I could've been discovering a cute little café in Saint Germain or experiencing the awe-inspiring amount of art and architecture the streets and museums have to offer. But at the same time, I really want to learn to listen to my body and not wear myself out, because then I'm just a zombie who can't enjoy or remember any of it. So anyway, welcome to my brain. I haven't found the solution, not even a little, but I think being conscious about it is an important step. And to cut myself some slack, no matter what happens, I'm pretty sure I'll have some good mementos and life lessons to look back on from this period. It's a good battle to fight and I'm doing the best I can to live my with choices and not be guilty about lost time. I'm here. I'm soaking it in. Life is good.
I think one of the main reasons I'm so exhausted all the time is that my brain is a living contradiction with millions of options and too much stress to decide on one solution. I live in the grey area and it's a landmine. It lends to a rich, yet frustrating, decision process.
I got a little off topic, but I'm learning and thinking about all this stuff day by day, and I'm not sure where to go next with this post. I'm posting it as is, so it doesn't camp out in my drafts folder like so many a phantom blog post of the past.