I’m just trying to be cool
When I was in grade school I constantly got into trouble for talking during class. I can’t remember the amount of notes confiscated throughout my adolescence. My brother asked for a TV for his room. I asked for my own phone line. I was on my phone every moment I wasn’t in school.
I was and am an extrovert. And I really want you to like me.
Spending time interacting with a friend refreshes and rejuvenates me. After a coffee or wine date with one of my best friends I feel relieved and confident.
I am also insanely nervous of social situations and need a pep talk, either from myself, my mom or my husband prior to almost every event I plan.
My closest friends know I have anxiety about everything. Someday I might have the courage to write about it. Not today. Today is reserved for the plight of the extrovert.
As an extrovert, I am expected to be fun. To be outgoing and charming and to facilitate a good time. I am very good at this. However, I am so fearful of not doing well I anticipate to the point of panic.
For some reason, extroverts are viewed as confident and immune to disappointment. I deal with both regularly. Introverts are commonly viewed as “deep and pensive”, lovingly labeled as troubled or sensitive. Introverts are applauded for having feelings while extroverts are encouraged to be shallow social butterfly’s without a care in the world.
I think many people are confused as to how an extrovert gets their strength.
A true extrovert is happiest when they are communicating well with another human being. This human being is typically a close friend or family member. I am most at ease when I am talking to Mike or listening to my toddler tell me about her day. My strength does NOT come from a big party or a night out with 15 friends. Am I good at planning it? Absolutely. However, it is the opposite of rejuvenating because I am worried about the outcome and am hyper sensitive to everyone around me.
Extroverts get their feelings hurt too. Extroverts use “I’m so busy” and “My week is crazy” on a weekly basis. It is true, and makes us feel important. We are busy making plans, organizing get togethers and worrying about details. Extroverts also know both quotes are bull shit when used as an excuse. Regardless of how busy I am, I can and will always make time for important people. Extroverts know this and when others constantly talk about their stressful schedule and lack of availability it is deeply hurtful. Extroverts take these excuses as you letting them know they are not important enough.
Extroverts worry about others opinions constantly. Much of my self-worth is derived from being viewed as capable. I work tirelessly to be a mother, friend and wife, while excelling at my career and remembering birthdays. I wake up at night, fearful I have forgotten a detail. I obsess that one of my friends may not be happy with me or Mike isn’t fulfilled.
Extroverts are just as scared as introverts. Doing well socially does not mean it comes easy. Many days I don’t want to show up. Often, I want to stay under the covers and call my best friend and talk through it. The pressure to “perform well” makes me anxious and drains me. When you are viewed as an extrovert certain qualities are expected and if they are not achieved people are disappointed. If I’m not smiling, others worry something is wrong. If I am not boisterous people are concerned I am sick. It is exhausting and makes me nervous.
This past week I managed to get through one of my crazier work weeks. I also had a slumber party with one of my best friends, a wine afternoon with my favorite group of friends and spent quality time with my family. I organized my out-of-town friends schedule and coordinated events for St. Patrick’s Day. Everything turned out fabulous but I was anxious the whole time. I just wanted everything to go well, for my friends to like me and my family to be happy. There were some disappointments this weekend and my heart hurt. Luckily, I have my introvert husband to listen to me.
Have you hugged your extrovert today?