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In addition to lacking an exuberantly social personality, I am also the reluctant host of a thing called depression (Dexter would probably call it my “dark passenger,” but I can’t say that without giggling). If you’d like to understand more about what “a day in the life of” looks like in a melancholy world, take a gander at my blog about depression (complete with really cool visuals).
Being the daredevil that I am though, I married an extrovert. He’s not an extreme extrovert, but his idea of a good time shoots me way out of my comfort zone. As I mentioned in my 16 Personalities post, the quiz results stated that I am 83% introverted to his 28%. Let me give you an example of how we differ:
Hubby’s idea of a good time: Going to a party at a friend’s house (or club), having some drinks, meeting new people, and chatting with pretty much anyone in the room. Toss in some dancing, many belly laughs, and exchanging of phone numbers with new-found friends. Wrap it up by driving home exhilarated by the experience and enthusiastically recounting all of the great conversations he just had.
Wifey’s idea of a good time: Other than sitting alone writing, reading, or watching Netflix—a visit with one or two people wifey is already familiar/close with. It can be dinner, or just a home visit, but familiarity is the key to an enjoyable evening.
Obviously, the good time definitions are extremely different. When wifey is faced with a “hubby good time” situation, she wilts like a cut lily in an empty vase. The thought of such a situation fills her with sheer terror and dread, and she spends the evening trying to blend into the walls or clinging to her hubby (but not after making multiple attempts to get out of going to the event altogether). It’s not a nice experience.
Oftentimes, I wonder if I’m just being melodramatic about my feelings, but the other night, I realized that my other “dark passenger”—Capitana Introvertina—really does have her clutches deeply embedded in my tender psyche.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve with Ryan Seacrest. That’s when I realized it.
We were watching the twenty minutes leading up to the countdown, and I sat in silent wonder over the behavior of the performers and hosts. They were so alive, so excited, so… so… gawd… so NOT me. Watching Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy’s bubbly and vibrant personalities actually made me feel uncomfortable. I could not compute how anyone could carry him/herself that way. How do they do it? How do they turn it “on” for millions of people to watch?
Despite the fact that I’ve always known I am introverted, the sensation of panic and embarrassment watching people be extroverted on TV, really drove that home. It’s not “all in my head,” it’s real. It’s a part of my genetic make-up.
A colleague of mine knows I am an introvert, and commented that I fake it well. Yes, I do fake it well. I explained that my personality at work isn’t necessarily fake, but simply that I do my best to adapt to my surroundings. I further stated that I can be extremely extroverted with strangers too (like at my new chiropractor’s office earlier this week), if our personalities click. Sometimes I click like I’ve known them for years, other times I struggle to even make the slightest bit of cordial conversation.
At work though, those people are my family (some of whom are the cousins I can’t stand to be around… but family, nonetheless). They are in my “home”—my safe place. I can be goofy. I can be vibrant. I can have fun. Also, I can fake it enough to make them believe I am semi-normal, and not cause them to feel uncomfortable around Awkward Annie. I refuse to take the elevator though. Being trapped with a random colleague can oftentimes be a punishment worse than death when the only thing you can think to say is, “Boy, your lunch sure smells good.” I always take the stairs.
Don’t take “faking it” the wrong way when it comes to an introvert. We all wear masks for the various roles we play in life and, sometimes, I personally have to put on my Oscar-winning acting outfit so the lion doesn’t target me as the weakest of the herd. It’s about self-preservation. Socializing must be on my terms in order for me to survive.
Are you an introvert? Are you a left-handed, redheaded introvert like me?
If so, maybe you can help the people close to you understand your personality a little better instead of silently going along on their extroverted joy rides. Maybe one year, instead of dressing up like the Pebbles to his Bam-Bam at a crowded Halloween party, you can invite your favorite couple over, make a batch of Morgue-A-Ritas and mummies-in-blankets, hand out candy to the four kids that live in your neighborhood, and play a nice game of Parcheesi.