Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Confessions of an Extrovert

We live in an extroverted society.  It's kind of hard to deny that.  From the youngest ages, kids are encouraged to be social.  Whether it's at school, church, or summer camp, kids are looked down upon if they don't fit into the social mold.  Lately it seems to me that a lot of energy has been entirely focused on letting introverts and others know that being that way is ok, especially on social media.  And I love that!  I love that we are allowing these people to feel like they are ok just the way they are!

Here is one of my favorite TED videos that describes this well:

Several of my closest friends are introverts.  I love being around introverts.  I love learning from introverts.  I love engaging in conversation with introverts.  My roommate is an introvert, and so are most of the guys I have been interested in.

But alas, I am not.

I am very much an extrovert.

I used to think I was an introvert in high school.  Then I got to college.  I started realizing that I can't be by myself for huge amounts of time.  I can get depressed if that happens.  I discovered that I love meeting new people and getting to know them.  That interacting with my friends is often what I need to brighten my day or mood.

I love being social.  I love being an extrovert.  But go with me for a second.... it does come with its challenges.  It's not easy.  There are many times a week, maybe even in a day, when I find myself wishing that I were more introverted.

Why is this a problem you ask?  Welllll, let me tell you:

It begins with an "S" and ends with a "you're-gonna-fail-school-if-you-don't-do-this".  Yep folks, it's studying.  First of all, I think I have a tad of ADD, and that has been an ongoing debate between my mom and I for years (although she recently told me that she actually thinks I have had it since elementary school...).  However, I think it is more than that.

Here is my dilemma:
I like to study in quiet.  It helps me to focus better.  I also like to study with people around who are also studying.  That feeds my extrovert-ness and helps me to focus.  So a lot of times I study in the lobby of our library.  I like to study here because I get to overlook Baylor, study, listen to jazz, folk, or classical music, drink my chai tea, and see people I know.

The problem comes when I know people... which inevitably occurs.

One saturday afternoon I went to the library, sat in my usual spot, and discovered one of my close friends sitting nearby.  I went over to talk to him for a couple of minutes, and then hurried back to begin the studying process.  Over the course of a few hours, my friend observed as my old roommate and her boyfriend came and talked to be for over half an hour.  Then these girls came up and I started making small talk with them.... but I couldn't remember their names.  He observed me seeing friends I hadn't seen in years, and my accidental spilling of tea on my computer.  Yes, I got work done... but it took much longer than it should have.  And Carlos was laughing at me quite a bit by the end.

There are so many times a week when I wish that I had the will power to sit down with a pile of books by C.S. Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Claiborne, and a variety of other authors and theologians.  I wish that I could just devour them without even thinking about moving.  I wish that I didn't feel the need for human interacting every like 30 minutes.  I wish that I didn't start thinking about something random and go off into my own little land (that may be the ADD...).  But really, there are so many times when I wish I was a tad more introverted.

Maybe this is the whole "the grass is greener on the other side" phenomenon.... but maybe it's not.  I think that I can be happy in where I am on this spectrum and still long to grow in either way.  After all, developing ourselves to be productive demonstrates how we work as humans, doesn't it?  If we are completely stagnant in how we approach life and all the aspects of it, we miss something.  Seems to fit into Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest.

So here's to the introverts!

Here's to the ones who inspire me to read, to learn, and to focus.  Who teach me that it is okay to be alone sometimes.

But let's be honest... I wish you were here.

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