- I do have a personal bubble. Just because I want to be around people all the time and I like talking to you all doesn’t mean that you can invade my personal space. Back off.
- I am okay with silence. Hey, often I’m happy just being around people without the pressure of keeping up a conversation. In fact, one of my favourite things to do is to find a busy place and just people-watch.
- I am more inclined to listen than to speak. No, seriously. I like talking, too, but I also like being involved in other people’s lives. I love other people, and part of what makes up each person is their experiences, thoughts, and feelings, and I enjoy hearing about that. And – BONUS – even as I listen I’m still around and interacting with people. Yay!
- Social situations can cause me anxiety. Extraverts also deal with anxiety disorders, including social anxiety, and phobias. I have had negative social experiences that make certain social situations absolutely terrifying. Family-style meals, for example, in which everyone sits together around a table while they eat are very difficult for me to get through.
- I read. A lot. I just prefer to do it in busy coffee shops, on a popular bus route, in a mall, or anywhere with other people around, really.
- I can be very self-conscious. I’m not always overflowing with confidence. This does conflict with my desire to be the centre of attention, but sometimes I choose to be brave, get over my insecurities, and be noticeable anyways.
- I regularly marathon TV shows by myself on my holidays, but I’d prefer to have a group of friends watch them with me. My favourite thing is LOTR Extended Edition marathons with a group of people (who don’t mind me talking during the movies every few scenes or so).
- I don’t always want to work in a group. Let’s be honest: group work is only awesome if you have a good group, and I have been a part of some awful, dysfunctional, lazy groups. Individual work is ALWAYS preferable to sucky teammates. If I’m going to work individually, though, I’ll probably still be talking to everyone around me while I do so (see also: why I am a distractive presence in my college’s library. It’s not just because I’m so stunning *flips hair*).
- Sometimes I don’t actually want to be around people. Often, I’m PMSing and in pain and don’t have the patience for anything but my own self-pity. Other times, though, I have actually reached my limit of socializing with other people (Trust me, 8 days of being around people non-stop while encountering new and stressful situations and not sleeping enough will result in me not wanting to be around those people anymore. Now that I think about it, though, I went straight to a sleepover afterwards. We talked for a few hours, then watched a couple of movies. The next morning, we marathoned Avatar: The Last Airbender, and talked more. THEN I went home and spent the rest of the day alone.).
- My social skills aren’t always up to par. I am an extravert, and I am socially awkward, too. It does put a bit of a damper on things.
The main thing is that I am energized by being around other people. Aside from that, every extravert looks different and expresses the desire to be around other people differently. Some extraverts are obvious, some look like introverts, and some are struggling with obstacles to their extraversion. Some are more like me, needing to be around people, but not caring whether or not we talk with them, while others thrive on conversation.
Extraversion and Introversion are not a binary, either. It’s nice to be able to categorize each other and ourselves as one or the other, but it is more of a spectrum, with extraversion and introversion being two extreme ends of patterns of interaction with society. Though I am very much an extravert, most people fall somewhere in the middle. Let’s be accepting of this! We all have different needs and desires when it comes to social interaction, so let’s do our best to respect all of them. If someone needs their space, give it to them. If someone needs to talk through a problem with someone before they can deal with it, be there for them. Be sensitive to everyone’s needs, regardless of whether they are extravereted needs, introverted needs, or a combination of both.
Be kind to one another, and let’s keep this dialogue going about how we can help each other despite our differences!