After thinking about why I’m such a weirdo, look what I found while I was browsing in the bookstore: Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. For the longest time, ever since I’ve noticed that when I was younger, I was always so shy and quiet when it comes to socializing. I’m fine if you leave me with family and stuff, but the moment I know I have to deal with someone new.. I’m already comparing myself in my brain to how the other kids (my close cousins) react to those kinds of people. I was never quick to like someone enough or trust someone enough to be spontaneous around them. I alway measure, measure, measure. I’m gauging their actions, their words, and how other people react to them. I always thought of my younger self as an outsider; always observing, barely participating. It literally felt like I was watching life happen in front of me. I’m actually very thankful for that because I learned (and I’m still learning) a lot through watching and listening to others; it made me more conscious of good and bad decisions, of personal opinions and intentions. It was eye-opening to live that way and yet at the same time, it felt like there was an invisible barrier between me and the life around me. It felt like I was poring over every small detail and because of it, I was failing to actually live life the way everybody else around me were living.
Since I started reading Cain’s book, I realized that this is how I am and it’s ok to be like this. I am an introvert. It’s very liberating to finally be at ease with myself. I used to feel so bad for declining invitations to socials and parties and even just to hang out. I get stressed out even with just the thought of having to spend hours with random people that I don’t truly know and having to talk and talk and talk. And talk about what? ‘Oh, your nails are so nice. Where’d you get it done?’ I honestly find it hard to start conversations, because I don’t usually care about those things, and when finally (after 20 minutes lol) someone gets to a good topic, I can’t help but want to listen and absorb the useful information. To everybody else, I know I come out quiet, but to me, it’s just that if I don’t have anything useful to contribute, I’m not inclined to talk. You should see me try, though! I can pretend to be an extrovert to some extent! And at some level of comfortability (often with family and close friends), I am totally at ease with spending an outrageous amount of energy, and if the situation calls for it, I can try to emulate this version on myself towards other people. This is also good because let’s face it, our society favours the bold and the outgoing.
Just thinking about the extroverts around here is tiring me out, hahaha! I do try every now and then, and I’m slow to get myself worked-up for these things. If a friends asks me out of nowhere to hangout later that day; the first emotion I feel is dread because I was looking forward to a quiet night of reading, or just staying at home. LOL When I was younger and I didn’t know any better, I blamed my mom for letting me grow up so quiet; I had associated my quietness to her strictly authoritative disciplinarian style (“I rule, you follow… Or else!”) and I even started thinking I was anti-social or a hermit. But now after absorbing most of the book, I now know, the “buzz” for the extroverts are just not the same level required by the introverts. In the book, Cain shows that if extroverts need a party to get that happy feeling, then introverts need a long walk by the beach. The difference is that extroverts are into “jumping into” an activity and introverts are into “analyzing the activity.”
It’s really interesting when I see a friend of mine who is always ‘Go, go, go!’ kind of a person and they tell me that if they’re stuck at home (let’s say the car broke down) for a day, he/she would not know what to do with themselves. I have a lot of interests that keep me busy even though technically I’m only at home. For example, I write, I study languages, I read, and I draw, etc. That extroverted friend of mine thinks I just sit at home and lounge but that couldn’t be farther from the truth; I hate the feeling of being bored. When I’m not productive in anyway and not accomplishing anything, no matter how small, I get restless and I go find something to do. It’s just I find that I recharge my energy better when I don’t have to deal with so many people all at once.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? =)