I’ve had a falling out with Mark this weekend. You see I’m an introvert and he is an extreme extrovert. We perceive and partake in life from complete opposite viewpoints. And often times those different needs for quiet vs noise cause conflict.
I have been introverted my entire life and I’ve tried to change that about myself. I’ve viewed being an introvert as being synonymous with boring, uninteresting, depressed, flawed, weak. I’ve apologized time and time again for my less-than-party-worthy personality. But no matter how many social events I organize, or people I reach out to, or efforts I make to be louder and less inhibited I ultimately still desire a good book and some peace and quiet.
I try to compromise and can usually agree to attend an event for a specified length of time but I really am ready to leave after that said time is up. My energy is drained and I need to be refueled with the comforts of just me and those closest to me.
Mark on the other hand is an extrovert. Extroverts are liked by everyone. They have a kazillion friends. They can laugh out loud and get energy from people, parties, new experiences. Mark will go, go, go until somebody literally kicks him out. And I’m slightly jealous of his ability to gain energy from those situations and his ability to make an idiot of himself wherever he’s made the center of attention. But mostly I find people like Mark to be giant energy suckers. It’s nothing personal against him. It’s just simply my inability to consume too much stimulation. I can only tolerate those levels of excitement for very short periods of time.
And thus the ugly cycle of intro vs extro begins. The introvert wants to leave the social event as planned. The extrovert is sucked in to the excitement of what comes next. And thus the two end up in disagreements about who is giving more, who is unaccepting of the other, who feels denied their freedom to be an intro or extro and who needs to compromise their wishes.
I feel that being an introvert is disadvantageous. I get lost in the crowd. I’m easily forgotten. I’m the wallflower hidden behind the party act. I’m the lesser of the 1/2. Nobody hears me because I can’t compete with those damn extroverts. I leave feeling defeated and somehow less human. Plain and simple, being an introvert sucks.
I doubt the extrovert ever thinks, “I wish I could be more introverted.” I doubt the extrovert ever has regrets about people not understanding them. I doubt they ever leave social functions feeling like they may as well have been invisible. I doubt they ever cry because even their spouse sometimes can’t see or hear them. They’ve never wondered what it’s like to be noticed or been inadvertantly bullied to be more outgoing.
So you see it seems to me that somehow I need to accept that I am an introvert and probably always will be. I need to accept that there’s no way to “fix” me even though I so badly want to be “fixed”.
And I need to accept that Mark is so far from where I will ever be and quite honestly I can’t imagine that I’d ever want to be that extroverted. I don’t need to be the life of the party. I just need to be seen. I’m still here and even if I can’t do stand up comedy, or dance on a table, or freely make a fool of myself all in the name of fun, I do still exist and I do still matter.