The Extroverted Introvert

IMG_2801Growing up, I was always the extrovert, while my sister was the shy one. I loved people, social events, and generally dominating the room. I was bossy, full of ideas, and determined to ensure that everyone was on my wavelength. I made friends easily, and despite my social dominance, people tended to like me.

After a confidence-blowing high school experience (and thus a foray into introversion), I resumed my outgoing ways in college and beyond. I was so busy. I kept up with school, jobs, extracurriculars, family responsibilities, and still had time to party like a rockstar. I was hardly ever alone, and enjoyed the company of anywhere between 1 and 3 roommates.

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But these days, I feel a bit like a hermit. Once I’m out, I have a good time and I enjoy the company I’m with, but I have a hard time motivating myself to get out in the first place. And really the only reason I go out at all is because I have serious FOMO (that means “fear of missing out,” for those of us getting old.) While I used to be fairly energized by the presence of people, I increasingly prefer the company of my cats… even though I am married and not quite 40 years old just yet 🙂

IMG_2806Seriously, I actually miss my furballs when I’m out or away. I fret about them being lonely. I wonder what they are up to (sleeping, Chuck always says.)

It’s still fun to be around people for a bit, but it can also be exhausting. I like to show up, enjoy, then come back home. I like unwinding in my own space. Sleeping in my own bed. Eating my own snacks. Wearing my big glasses (and not wearing a bra!)

IMG_0075I think these things are okay, so long as I don’t allow myself to become completely socially lazy. This weekend, Chuck was away and I had every opportunity to hang around and not see a soul… and that’s almost what I did. But I socialized three times! I shoved aside quiet time – blogging time and job application time and yoga time and kitty time – to nurture some budding friendships. I even went to the local Women’s March, where we stumbled across this fitting demonstrator:

IMG_4789In all seriousness – I am not a true introvert. More like an extroverted introvert. I still enjoy socializing, but in smaller doses, and I’m happier and more content with my own company – rather than pining about loneliness.

In Okinawa, I was so anxious to make friends, and quickly. Here in Cali, I’m taking it slow (and making some great progress!) But it’s amazing how priorities (and personalities?) change, isn’t it?!

How I’ve learned to make the most of friendship…

It seems as though a lot of my fellow Tumblies are dealing with loneliness, and the depression that comes with loneliness. They wish they had more friends, and more things to do on the weekends. They wonder if it’s them, or if it’s the world around them. I’ve been on both sides of the popularity spectrum – the smart nerd with no friends, and the social butterfly with tons of friends – and I can safely say that both experiences were isolating in their own way. I felt bad about myself (and in some cases, about those around me too) in both scenarios. Even when I had lots of friends, I still often felt very alone.

I think this means that what it all really boils down to is the relationship you have with yourself – which, of course, is a continual work in progress for most of us. I know it’s cliche, but I think it’s true. The more I enjoy time with myself (which I like now more than I ever used to), the more I enjoy time with other people, and appreciate what we bring to each other’s lives.

I am more comfortable these days with some of the deeper aspects of myself, and the obstacles I face. As I get better at that, it matters less to me how many or how few friends I have, or how many options of things to do I have on the weekends, whereas before, I was rather defined by my social life (or lack thereof.) If you put that much stock in what other people can do for you, they will always disappoint you (and you will continue to disappoint yourself..)

I am probably not making much sense – and I don’t by any means want to take away from the incredible value of friendship – but this is just random food for thought on a lazy Saturday evening, as I read what some others are going through…

” ‘Copper, you’re my very best friend.’
‘And you’re mine too, Tod.’
‘And we’ll always be friends forever, right?’
‘Yeah, forever…’ ”

– Fox & the Hound on Netflix. Why do I do this to myself?

Goodbyes are never easy, but friendship really is forever @katyrobinette @emilyfulp…

…NC neighbors are moving to Key West! I’m not sure how sad I can really be with a destination like that though 😉