One the downsides to American society is the peculiar way in which we think that everything should be able to placed within a certain category and in so many words fit into a simply “box”. This includes simple to complex traits such as gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, place of origin, and so much more. This topic became especially apparent to me during my usual break room conversation the other day. It all started when I was telling someone a story about my trip to Chicago and an awkward, but funny moment that occurred during a conference that I attended. I afterward stated, “this only happened because I am shy and awkward”. One of my coworkers proceeded to laugh and told me, “nope I think you are an extrovert there is no way that you are shy or introverted by no means”. This made me realize for the first time that some people actually think I am extroverted. This is actually far from the truth for those who meet me in an everyday setting that happens not to be my place of employment. I realized at this point that even our personalities are placed within categories and boxes. As so many other aspects within my life, I cannot place this one part of my personality into one box on a questionnaire or survey. I am neither introverted nor extroverted. So I dedicate this blog to all those individuals who seem to not fit into a neat clean box, and like myself consider themselves a social introvert.
Signs that you are a social introvert:
- You consider yourself shy.
One of the adjectives that you consider yourself is shy, but those who interact with you daily think you are the most outgoing person in the world. The reality is that you are only outgoing because you have spent way too much time with the person, but when you are with strangers you probably say but two words.
- You hate to host parties
Going to parties are your best bet because you can dictate when you arrive, leave, and when you can stop being social at any given time. When you have to wait for people to leave or entertain everyone, it is just way too much stress.
- Being in a room with strangers raises your anxiety for days
This is a no brainer. Large groups of strangers are a no-no zone for you. You avoid groups of strangers like the plague.
- Your favorite part of parties involves chugging a drink or dancing
You love those party games that involve little talking and more drinking as well as parties that involve dancing. Anyway you can let loose without holding a conversation seems to be your favorite. This helps you to avoid awkward silences and weird conversations as well.
- When going to a party or event you make sure you know at least one person
As long as you have one or two allies you are solid. You can safely be in that particular environment without panicking
- Speaking of one person. When in college you make sure you schedule a class with at least one person you know.
Going to a small college helps because you seem to always know someone in your class, but when scheduling certain classes outside of your major you make sure that you know at least one person to avoid being alone in the class. Plus you need someone to sit next to.
- You seem to have a ton of friends
Having a ton a friends and talking to different groups of people is your specialty, but you truly are only good friends with two or three people. You have so many acquaintances to avoid places and events where you do not know people.
- After a huge social event you need a day of rest.
This day of rest usually included having no social contact and hibernating in your room and watching a little television. No other humans are to inhabit your space. Too much interaction with people two days in a row will send your anxiety through the roof.
- Your fun filled weekend is not the same as an extrovert
A tub of Ben and Jerry’s, Netflix, a bottle of wine, your bed, and comfy pajamas are your description of a fun filled weekend. Compared to the big party plans of the extrovert, your plans may seem like the most boring weekend on the planet.
- You are good at giving speeches in the right settings
Giving a speech to a large group of people on a stage or place where you cannot distinguish faces is an easy task, but speaking in front a small intimate group is the most intimidating event in history.
- You are considered a comic, but reality is that it all comes down to well planned jokes and well timed responses.
Every joke and side comment that people find hilarious is planned at least a few minutes ahead of time and is always executed in a certain manner. Most people think that you are classically comical, but reality is that you planned on that witty yet cute comment. Irony seems to always be planned.
- Your are quite sarcastic, which many people take as you being sassy
Many people take your sarcasm as sassy. In reality it is your way of dealing with social settings and too many people being in a small space at one time.
- Only a few people know the “real” you
Those people fortunate enough to get to know probably know way too much about you. For example, how many times you urinated today. This seems to happen because you hide very little from these folks. On the other hand other people think that you are a complete mystery.
- Your genuine opinions are shared only with your friends
You hate offending people therefore many people do not know how you really feel rather just a general statement or two about a subject.
- You avoid arguments and controversial topics when talking to new people
You actually love to argue but never with new people. Arguing and debate may be one of your pass times but you keep this to an intimate group of people so that you do not sound ridiculous to total strangers.
- People note that you have a resting “b*tch face.
This one is my absolute favorite. Many people think that you do not socialize to them because you are stuck up or rude. They will also tell you that you always look really mean. One of my favorite compliments is when people tell me that I am so genuinely nice and how mean they thought I was. Chances are if I am not talking to you it is simply because I am deathly shy, it has nothing to do with me being rude or not liking you. I probably have no idea how to appropriately approach the situation.
- At a party or huge social setting you are an observer
During parties or social setting you seem to observe how everyone else is talking, acting, and interacting. You psychoanalyze and get to know a person by observing their behaviors. Observation is also your favorite pass time.
- Or worse in large social setting you retreat into your shell
If you are not observing you are numb. This seems to be a particularly bad day for you. You become numb and fail at socialization all together. These days are better spent by yourself in isolation.
- Teacher assigned group projects are the death of you.
When working in a group that is assigned by the teacher or professor you are bound to be placed in a group of students that are complete strangers to you. You do not know any of these people. This makes the group project so much more awkward to take over and control.
- Speaking of control, You love to have control over your environment
Losing control of your environment or having no control is not something that you can handle because than you cannot make those well planned jokes or know how to appropriately act.
- You are an amazing actor/actress
You seem to fit the mold that people want to see or expect. When people think that you are the life of the party that is what you become. You fit the personality of the group. If it is a group of complainers you have a complaint. It seems the easiest way to deal with social settings, but those close to you always knows the true you.
- You blog or indirectly post on social media most of your opinions
This allows you to be heard yet to never directly attack someone’s beliefs or opinions. It gives people the option to avoid your opinion or take the time to read rather than shoving it down the throat of every person you interact with. It also gives you the power to pick and choose who is able to see and read your opinion. Again you stay in control of the situation.
To all those people who fall neither in the category of introvert or extrovert understand that you are not difficult just simply normal. Never let people put you in one category or another because everyone is simple unique. Being different from one another is what most of us pride ourselves in being. So to all those social introverts like myself keep being your social yet shy self.