I never used to think I was an introvert. I mean, I know I was painfully shy as a child but put that down to the trauma of childhood abuse, etc. Later as a teen and young adult I still felt out of place in groups of people but also really liked being around people. In other words, I liked being social, I just didn’t know how to do it very well. Fast forward to present day and if you met me tomorrow you wouldn’t see any shyness or any sign of me being an introverted person. Unless you know.
And that’s the deal. I think this whole introvert-extrovert thing is one of the most misunderstood “labels” that we like to label people with. You know, just to know who you are dealing with and where you stand as a result of that “knowledge”. And we all do this, even if you think you don’t, at least when we first meet someone.
Thanks to our society – survival of the fittest and all that – extroverts have always been seen as the more successful types, with introverts seen as hiding away, not able to cope, etc. But in fact this is far from reality and there are (at least) four types of introverts according to MBmindfulness…
A Complete Guide To Introverts: The 4 Most Common Types And Signs
Me? I am the social introvert (as a child, totally the anxious introvert). Or who knows, maybe I’m a mix of both at this point, since these are just labels, or guidelines, for understanding yourself and others. My point is that trying to make people fit into a perceived notion of yours does both you and the other person a disservice. I am constantly seen as being this “strong capable woman” and that initially draws people to me (and, let’s face it, I’m also smart, intelligent and fun to be with – SO I AM TOLD). But often times it turns out that the people who only choose to see Smart & Fun Shawn get annoyed, upset, or even really angry when it turns out I’m actually a bit more complex than that.
And it always plays out like this. Once they realise they’ve “made a mistake” with befriending me they look for any comment or action to take the wrong way or out of context to justify them getting the hell out of Dodge, without a word, without an explanation, without any acknowledgement at all for the fact that, hey, the other day I was your friend, remember? I can’t help being an introvert, but I am the same person you met that very first time and I do the best with what I have going for me, but I am not here for your entertainment. I’m actually a person.