I have been labeled an extrovert since the beginning of time. In college, I was on Homecoming court every year. 16 of the 18 years that I've been in the workforce, my job titles have contained the word "Relations" in it. I have two degrees in social sciences. Every personality test that I've ever taken (and re-taken), has pegged me as relational, sympathetic, collaborative, approachable, or personable. And I am. For the most part. But sometimes I also want to just blend into the crowd. And sometimes I need to be still enough to hear myself think. Here are 6 ways extroverts can sometimes be misunderstood:
1. We have to be around other people all the time.
While it is true that we are energized by being around others, this doesn't mean that we can't or don't ever want to be alone. In fact, if I don't set aside time for personal reflection and solitude (this blog has been a God-send), I might have a few other adjectives tacked on to my extrovert label like, passive aggressive....emotionally unstable, you get the point.
2. It is easy for us to work a room.
Extroverts are comfortable in any social settings. We are the life of the party. In my case, that is with a glass of Pinot Noir. It is important to note that one's capacity to be outgoing is in no way correlated to one's level of confidence. So you may see me flashing smiles left and right, but underneath it all I may be wondering if I have spinach in my teeth, or if that cute guy in the corner would even give me the time of day.
3. We have a lot of friends.
I can count on one hand, the number of real friends that I have. You know, the kind you can show up unannounced in the middle of the night, no questions asked. I have like 8 million acquaintances...who would probably call the cops on me if I showed up at their door at 3 a.m.
4. We are always interested in and concerned with the external world.
Yes, the world is my inspiration and making it better is my passion. But sometimes I'm straight up selfish. And sometimes when no one is looking, I order myself a pizza and eat it straight out of the box. In bed. While watching re-runs of Sex in the City.
5. We have an unlimited amount of energy.
I wake up at 4:45 a.m. every day to conquer the world. By 9:30 at night, I have been reduced to a slow-moving, unproductive, empty-behind-the-eyes, skeleton of an extrovert.
6. We love being the center of attention.
While I can't speak for all extroverts, I do not like being the center of attention. Because I'm naturally receptive and always tuned in to the people around me, I do find myself drawing some attention - but definitely not by design or choice. It is the curse of the responsive.