15 Struggles Only People Who Aren’t an Extrovert or Introvert Will Understand

I guess I should get this out of the way upfront. This isn’t actually a listicle. I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve been baited AND switched.

The idea for this post started with a tweet that I laughed at way too hard.

TwitterBuzzfeed has mastered the art (using a loose definition of that term) of creating quizzes and listicles that provide little or no actual content except gifs that make people go: I remember that or that has happened to me.

One type of article (again using the loose definition of that term) I often see shared on Facebook or Twitter is “XX struggles of an introvert” or “XX reasons you might be an introvert.” Here’s the thing, I’m not saying my friends and family are lying…I’m just saying.

I’ve seen people post an article about being an introvert, but I’ve seen the very same person drunker than an Irish pirate, singing “Piano Man” off-key at a crowded bar with a group of strangers. (It should be noted that’s not exactly something I’ve seen, but a close facsimile as not to put any of my friends on blast).

Now that it’s socially acceptable to like video game and comics, it seems like a premium has been put on being an introvert. Only, when some people say they’re introverted, what they really mean is that they have some sort of quiet brilliance unappreciated by the masses.

But in all seriousness, read Saga

I should stop and say this isn’t some take down of the social media industrial complex or introverts, though. Sorry, if that’s what you were hoping for.

Really, this is about my surprise that so many people can strongly identify only as an introvert or extrovert. There must be some middle ground, right? Or, at least a Buzzfeed quiz for people like me…

I’ve always felt I’m more of a ZOMG than OMG.

I’ve never felt comfortable completely claiming either camp. I have to think there are others like me who straddle the line between reserved and outgoing.

As a kid, I leaned more toward reserved. As an adult, I realized that I relied on being quiet when I wasn’t comfortable.

I wasn’t comfortable a lot.

However, as I got older, I became more and more content and found it easier to express myself. Both parts of me still live on, though. Even now, in new or formal situations, I can seem very reserved. It’s not that I’m always like that. I’m just observing and assessing things before I open my mouth. I try to make my words count.

I’m quite comfortable being alone, too. A stack of magazines and a glass of whiskey often sound as appealing as a party or a pub. That being said, I’m also the sort of person that will cancel a night of Netflix at the drop of a hat if you want to head to the bar.

Or both?

In the last few years, I’ve found myself organizing nights out and dinner parties with friends and co-workers. I relish the opportunity to have a few drinks and tell stories until the small hours of the night. That sort of interaction is sorely missing in our screen-saturated world.

I’m also quite comfortable on a stage, which is surprising to some. My girlfriend’s family was shocked to learn that I wanted to, and did, try stand up comedy. And I was okay at it for a beginner–not Louis C.K. or anything but I got laughs. I performed regularly for about three to four months until I realized I couldn’t dedicate enough time to it. I’ve also done karaoke several times.

Friends have asked me how I could do that, and my reply is simple. Everyone may be looking at you, but, when you hold the mic, you’re the one in power–not them.

All this is to say that I’m comfortable by myself and with others. I know that might seem strange or wishy-washy to plant a flag in the middle ground, but I can’t imagine living one way or the other.

So meet me at the pub or my apartment. To me, it doesn’t make a difference.

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4 thoughts on “15 Struggles Only People Who Aren’t an Extrovert or Introvert Will Understand

  1. Gwen Ragno says:

    I think the problem is that there’s a difference between the pop culture definitions of introverts and extroverts and the psychological meanings. If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs test (or known someone who has and can’t stop talking about it), the distinction they use (supposedly based on Carl Jung) rings more true for me — and helps explain people who identify as an introvert but have more outgoing lifestyles. http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/extravert-and-introvert.htm

    Basically, an extrovert draws energy from the outside world i.e. being part of a group, and an introvert gets more energy from his/herself and in one-on-one interactions. So being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re a hermit, it just means you tend to be more engaged in smaller groups and having a super social week can be kind of exhausting.

    And like most things, it’s a spectrum — not an either-or thing. But, I mean, pageviews!

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