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:
- 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)
- 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.
- Ear-buds annoy me. Don't you want conversation while waiting in line to buy your groceries? I know I do.
- 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.
- I am always willing to hang out. Always! Unless I'm sick. Not many people are...
- 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.
- 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?