When I saw Hilary’s post pop up on my reader, I was immediately intrigued as to who Amanda is and what Thinking Out Loud Thursday was. A quick hop, skip and a jump over to Amanda’s Blog got me (a) instantly hooked on her site, and (b) incredibly inspired to partake in this weekly Thursday occurrence. Thinking Out Loud Thursday is a weekly celebration of quirks and randomness, as Amanda puts it. I can’t think of anything more perfect for me and this random blog of everythings!
On Monday, I had a rare day in which I had absolutely nothing planned. No work. No lessons. No coffee or lunch dates. I decided to take full advantage of this. I lay in until 10am, got up, had a shower, got into my house uniform (aka sweats and a hoodie) and decided there and then that was the most activity I was going to do that day. I wasn’t going to leave the house. I envisioned a day of drinking tea, reading books and maybe even watching a movie. And that’s what I did. I jumped straight back into bed, made myself comfortable and did not budge for the entire day. Later that afternoon, one of my housemates and best friends arrived into my room incredibly worried about me. She asked was I ok. Not satisfied by my answer she questioned if I was sure I was ok?! Again, I assured her, I was just fine!
It was then I decided that I’d like some more tea. So out of bed I got and I made my way downstairs to the kitchen. Here I joined said friend and our other housemate. ‘Oh so you decided to join us then?!’ they both joked. A hand was placed on my forehead and friend two asked me was I sick, and we all had a good giggle about it, because in all fairness, they have never seen me in bed in the middle of the day. I brewed myself a cup of vanilla chai, and went back upstairs to finish watching Divergent (which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way – does anyone recommend reading the book?!)
Anyway, Friend Two posted this on my personal Facebook yesterday:
I instantly smiled when I saw it. That is me in a nutshell, and me especially on Monday. I was even happier to know that my friends know me. They get it. They recognise that sometimes I just need to not talk, or to be talked to. Sometimes I need to not see anyone, and just be on my own. They know that if I am in my room with the door closed, generally I do not want to be disturbed or interrupted because as soon as I want company, I will emerge and become a social butterfly again. Because that’s what I am, I am a social butterfly, but I am also an introvert. They understand.
The moment the above picture was posted, I received several private messages from friends telling me that I was nowhere near an introvert; that I was the complete opposite; that it was a hilarious concept to even associate with me. Fair enough, we are all entitled to our opinions, but it got me thinking. Too often the words introvert and extrovert are thrown around to describe either very shy or very outgoing people. However, being shy or outgoing are simply characteristics of introversion and extroversion, and these characteristics do not accurately convey what these concepts actually encompass.
I’m not going to go into huge detail of the traits of introverts or extroverts, I would be here all day. But I think that Susain Cain put it best in her TED Talk when she says that it’s all about how you respond to stimulation. Extroverts crave large amounts of stimulation. They respond to high levels of energy which they generally get from being around people. On the other hand, introverts thrive in low-key environments and feel most alive when they are alone, reflecting or with a couple of people they are fully comfortable with. Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not all shy. Shy is a fear of social judgement. Instead, we just reenergise in a different way than extroverts do. And that’s ok.
In my job, I am surrounded by people every day. With a career in customer service, one has to be outgoing, have charisma, be a people person, communicate easily to customers and clients, be relatable, have the banter etc etc etc. And I adore what I do. I have also moved frequently, and in doing so I have discovered that I make friends very easily, and I actually quite enjoy change. I love meeting people. I love talking!! I am an outwardly (and inwardly!) very happy person and thrive off of making other people happy. I am generally very cheerful, and can be over excitable at times. I am constantly making plans and organising things to do with anyone and everyone. So I do understand why people would assume that I am an extrovert when they first meet me. However, social interactions drain energy from me and my way of recharging is enjoying my own company.
There is a video of me on my 5th birthday. I am standing on a chair at the top of the table and everyone is singing happy birthday. I am surrounded by family and friends. All attention is on me. I stand there, awkwardly smiling, visibly uncomfortable. All I want to do is go home. Ten minutes previously, I was running around with my friends, jumping around, yelling, looking for attention and playing up for the camera. Even at 5 years old, while I loved being around people, I couldn’t be around them for too long before I simply had enough. I needed to recharge again. Having said that, I was the stereotypical introvert as a child – painfully shy, very quiet, did not speak until spoken to, preferred being on my own, a complete bookworm.. 🙂 However, give me a platform where I could be creative and I was the most extroverted child you’d ever meet! I was into the performing arts and I couldn’t get enough attention when I was singing, acting or dancing on stage. I was in my element in front of a crowd, showing off what I could do. Maybe I wasn’t so painfully shy then?! 😉
It’s strange how people’s perceptions of you can be so different to how you perceive yourself. Maybe I hide my introversion very well, or maybe certain people just really don’t know me at all!! I could go on and on about introverts and extroverts, but for now, I feel happy that I had my little rant 🙂 Thinking Out Loud Thursdays are the best!!!
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you react to stimulation and ultimately reenergise?
Until the next time,