Monday, April 20, 2015

Extroverts are not Evil

Hello, I am an extrovert and I am not evil. Nor am I out to ruin your day, make you feel uncomfortable, or bother you.

When I first found out that I was, indeed, an extrovert I felt...bad. Aren't extroverts the topic of many memes? We are often accused of accosting the personal space of others, talking loudly and flamboyantly and acting in otherwise obnoxious ways. We bother people. We are annoying. Is that all being an extrovert is?

Honestly I spent several months feeling bad for being an extrovert. I didn't want to be one. I thought it wasn't something to be proud of. I thought it was something I should hide so I wouldn't bother or inconvenience others.

I think a lot of what the media and society reports on is the negative aspects of being an extrovert, and this is why I used to think it wasn't a good thing. But, while we can be nosy and easily excitable and have some issues respecting the personal space of others---being an extrovert is fun! At least, I enjoy being one.

So then I started to wonder--what are the good things about being an extrovert? I threw off the "just a clingy loud person who needs to sit down and behave herself" label but, what, exactly does being an extrovert mean? And is there room for both introverts and extroverts to exist and discuss their own wants and needs without personally shaming the other?

For instance, I love being the center of attention. Love. It. It's not a narcissistic need for self assurance. I just enjoy it. It's fun. I feel energized. This doesn't mean I want to steal the limelight from everyone, I'm willing to share. I also don't enter conversations or group settings with the singular desire to be front and center. It just happens sometimes. No one else seems to mind, so why should I?

I also love talking. I could talk all day. Which is why I have a blog and a youtube channel and perhaps an unhealthy addiction to facebook. I love talking and socializing and bouncing ideas of people and getting feedback and interacting with what people are doing and hearing about others lives and choices and, yes, even browsing pictures of their current food consumption. I get excited just thinking about talking to people. I'm not kidding. And I totally think of this as a strength and not a weakness. I will not be bottled, people!

Anyway, I finally came to the conclusion that introverts need to stop moaning about what a problem us extroverts are to them all the time. I know, I know, we all have to try not to bother each other as we rub shoulders in a coffee shop, and I'm not trying to say extroverts shouldn't at least realize that introverts exist and need space (I do know this, I'm married to one). I'm just saying I want equal acceptance and understanding for each personalities vast differences and struggles.

Because, boy, do extroverts have struggles too. Don't believe me? Here are just a few I thought up while writing this post:
  1. Everyone always thinks I'm flirting. Nope, not flirting. Just happy, talkative, and also an optimist. (I lucked out--I'm a optimist and an extrovert. I'm basically Dorri from Finding Nemo when you add in my short attention span and attraction to shiny objects)
  2. I'm interesting! Really! I'm tired of hearing introverts described as deep, philosophical, misunderstood, quirky unicorns. I am special too, and also capable of complex thoughts.
  3. Ear-buds annoy me. Don't you want conversation while waiting in line to buy your groceries? I know I do.
  4. I blurt things out sometimes without thinking. This used to happen in a classroom setting when I was in college classes and most of my teachers hated it. I hated it to. It really was mostly involuntary, I swear.
  5. I am always willing to hang out. Always! Unless I'm sick. Not many people are...
  6. I'm comfortable in large groups, I'm comfortable having green hair...I'm just comfortable being the center of attention. People find this weird. I don't know why.  
  7. I have a hard time sitting still (I know, total first world problem here but hear me out). I always want to be doing! I will doodle when listening to a lecture, I will knit while watching tele. Why does this bother people or make them think I'm not paying attention?
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Anyway, this basically describes my personality.


Beth Ewing said...

Woo hoo! Samesies

Jane Eyre said...

Love your post :) I love that you're an extrovert! Honestly, having an extrovert friend really helps the introvert in me "come out of my shell." I guess I'd call myself an extroverted introvert: I love people (usually), I love to talk, but people and doing things can be really draining. But having extrovert friends is awesome! :D And, like you, I married my opposite. Brandon is indeed the quintessential extrovert :P I think good relationships need a balance of both, and God created us all as "special unicorns" ;)
Love you!
Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre said...

Also, I would like to add that both personality types can be misunderstood when you first meet someone. I know my first impression of Brandon was way off! haha

Tori Steelman said...

Agreed! People have SO many misconceptions about what it means to be an introvert or an extrovert. As an introvert, I'm very grateful to have some extroverts in my life. It's nice to hang out with people that don't expect you to do all the talking :P Also, I can relate to number 7, so I don't think that's just an extrovert thing. I just can't pay attention if I'm sitting still doing nothing. I have to be involved in some way, or have my hands doing something else so I can listen :P

Michelle said...

There's nothing at all wrong with being extroverted! I admire so many of those strengths, because I just don't have them. I am absolutely as introverted as you can be, and my mom is extremely extroverted, which caused a lot of butting heads growing up.

I think introverts are all INTROVERT POWER lately because a lot of us were misunderstood, so to speak, growing up. People would think there was something wrong with me growing up because I just didn't like to socialize as much as other people, and I've never been very talkative, but that's just how I am. And then we all grew up and realized there are other people like us, and that we're just wired that way. Being quiet and doing your own thing is more or less frowned upon when you're a kid, so I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief to discover there's nothing wrong with us. Extroverts help pull me out of my shell. They're a good thing.

Kristin said...

It's interesting that you think people react negatively to extroverts, because I've always thought that the world is biased against introverts! :) Ha. I know that lately everyone seems to be focusing on introverts, but for most of my life I felt bad for being introverted and wished I was an extrovert. I was the girl who dreaded homeschool social events in high school because a lot of the other homeschool kids were really confident and talkative and open (basically the opposite of the stereotypical homeschooler), and I was so shy. I always thought that there was something wrong with me and that I needed to make myself change.
But in the past few years, I've become comfortable with the fact that I'm just an introvert, not anti-social (well, most of the time...ha). I've finally accepted that it's okay that I don't like being the center of attention, that I'm a homebody who'd rather be knitting than going out on the weekend, that long social events drain me, and that it takes me a while to be comfortable talking to new people. Reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain was really eye-opening for me.

Cliff Coates said...

Yay! As a fellow extrovert, I also get excited just thinking about talking to people! :)

BTW, when I met you in church three years ago, and you walked up to me and introduced yourself, I just thought you were being friendly, not flirty...

Carolynn said...

wow, that is a totally different perspective! Very interesting. I am so not an introvert. I remember my husband telling me "WHY would you throw me a party???" on his birthday. And that was kind of when I totally realized he was an introvert. I love birthday parties. my husband just wants to relax by himself with maybe 1-2 close friends!!

Carolynn said...

I see! I love introverts as well, even if I sort of don't understand them. My mom is a major major introvert. We must have been switched at birth! My mom won't go anywhere by herself! I go out to eat by myself all the time (okay, maybe this isn't a introvert/extrovert thing, I just love being around people!) But my mom is an introvert. She totally relates to my husband who is also a major introvert!

I am loving your baby posts on your blog by the way. It makes me anxious for my future.