I hate to admit it, but I did not actually know this term existed until I was in college. Had I known about it sooner, I feel like it would have allowed me to be more accepting of my personality type during my uncomfortable adolescent years.
Throughout middle school and high school, I grew up watching shows like “90210” and “Saved by the Bell.” While they had a certain dramatic and comedic value, respectively, the underlying image of close knit friendships and clicky groups messed with my head a bit.
Fortunately, I was not an extremely reserved individual. I had people I could passively talk to at school, I joined some clubs, and I could force myself to give speeches in front of the class, if absolutely necessary. But parties, school dances, getting a girlfriend-yeah, that was not happening. I did not seem to understand why my reality did not mirror the same experiences as the kids I saw on T.V..
It was not until I got into college (while still living at home) that I started to understand how truly introverted I was. Legally I was old enough to go to clubs and bars, and yet the idea of going to such crowded places, introducing myself to strangers, forcing myself to have fun in those settings – none of it sounded appealing to me. A Friday night where I could stay home and watch T.G.I.F. mentally gave me more relief (less stress) than the notion of going out.
This goes beyond just being shy and having some social anxieties. After I took a personality test, I realized I was not as introverted as I thought I was. Most people end up falling somewhere in the middle of the spectrum as well. Although the idea of staying home seemed safe and comfortable – over time, I came to realize I looked back fondly on the few outings I did go to. Meeting new people, having new life experiences, going a little out of your comfort zone – I still reflect fondly on a lot of those moments.
Looking back, I would definitely do some things differently.
- Take a Myers-Briggs or some kind of personality test sooner! Know yourself and embrace who you are.
- Make the most out of every day and every opportunity – regardless of your personality type.
- Try and push your limits and try to minimize the amount of regrets you may one day have in your life.
Regardless of our personality types, I think across the board, fear gets the better of us sometimes. Whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of leaving your comfort zone, whatever it may be. If it is fear keeping you from doing something, try and overcome it!
I wish I had a chance to attend my senior prom. I wish I would have gone to college out-of-state just for the experience of leaving home, living the dorm life, and struggling on my own for a bit. It is easy for me to chalk a lot of those missed opportunities off to introversion. Instead of doing all those things, I was home watching Steve Urkel annoy his neighbors on Family Matters for the thousandth time.
When I briefly worked as a programmer and web-designer, for the most part, I stayed very isolated in that job – which for an introvert, seems like the ideal setting. A dream-come-true milieu, if you will. Now, as a pediatric dentist, I interact with people/families way more readily. Over the years, I have learned to accept (and even come to enjoy) being in more social situations.
I found a great link that talks about signs of being an introvert and a provides a bit about the physiology behind it. 8 Signs You’re an Introvert
Thank you for reading my first post! Feel free to leave comments about recognizing your own personality type. I’ll write again soon!