Learning to Love My Introversion

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In many ways Tyler and I are a classic case of opposites attracting.

He's tall, I'm short.  He is and always has been a phenomenal athlete while I possess the unprecedented ability to sleep for 16 hours straight.  He laughs at my lack of math skills and I am constantly correcting his grammar.

Most of these differences are minor and have led to a sweet appreciation of the other (as well as the occasional tiff.) One difference, however, has often led me to terrible bouts of jealousy.

Tyler is a 100% certified extrovert. He thrives in any social situation and delights in meeting new people.  He's a life-of-the-party, first-on-the-dace-floor, dress-up-like-Elf-and-hand-out-candy-canes type of guy.

In that sense, he's everything I always wanted to be.  I've always been an introvert, and an extremely shy one at that.  Upon first meeting, I am often misinterpreted as being haughty or disinterested, when in reality I'm usually just so terrified of saying something idiotic that I just don't say anything at all.  This fear (and the accompanying "bi*ch look" on my face) has lightened up over the years as I've learned to fake confidence and remember to smile at people even when they intimidate me to the point of almost peeing my pants.  However at my core I still feel a sense of shame that mingling with new people can be so difficult (and exhausting) for me.  I envy Tyler's ease in social circles and his excellent ability to make small talk.  I have often thought my lacking in those areas was some sort of defect.

This is an actual photo of Ty trying to drag me to be the first on the dance floor
My senior year I had an internship with a local nonprofit and, as per Pepperdine's requirements, I was required to take a biweekly class in which we debriefed our internship experiences.  It was a class of four girls and our professor was a counselor and so we spent a lot of time delving into our personalities and talking about feelings.  One of the other girls in the class was someone I had known throughout our time at Pepperdine.  She, like Tyler, had a magnetic, outgoing personality that I was both intimidated by and incredibly envious of.

One week as we were going over our Meyers-Briggs results (and I was whining about my lame personality) she said something that really surprised me.  She expressed that somewhere down the road there came to be this misconception that introverts have more fear and insecurity than extroverts, and that just isn't the case. She proceeded to express some of her own fears and insecurities; many of which were- gasp!- the same as mine.  They just happened to manifest themselves differently.

That encounter led me to view my personality in a whole new light.  Rather than focusing on the traits I don't possess I am now able to think about the positive things my introversion has given me.  I am a good listener.  I form deep and lasting friendships.  And hey, if Mother Teresa was prone to introversion it can't be all that bad right?


  1. I LOVE this because I can SO relate!
    I married that fun, extroverted guy who's always go-go-go and I'm always pajamas-watching-ever-after-on-repeat. :)
    Yay for that delightful balance that can create such beautiful relationships.

    1. Thanks Caitlin! It's definitely fun to be married to someone who is so different in that way!

  2. Aww, as I was reading this, I was reminded of one of my best friends and roommates from college. Your description of the "b**** face" and "haughtiness" is something she dealt with a lot, even though she's one of the kindest people and just introverted.

    And yup, even people who are extroverted have the same fears that you speak of and insecurities. They just sort of... come across differently sometimes.

    What Myers-Briggs personality type did you get? I'm an ENFP. :)


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Erika! Your poor friend! I guess both introverts AND extroverts can be misunderstood, huh? And I am an INFP :)

    2. yay to the infp's! we rock!

  3. Love this! I'm an introvert too - actually I'm almost exactly in the middle, I just tend to lean onto the introverted side more often then the extroversion side.