Most people who know me wouldn’t believe it as first, but I’m actually an extrovert.
According to http://16personalities.com, I’m an ENFP—Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving—and when I saw my result, I rolled my eyes and made some sarcastic comment about the inaccuracy of online personality tests. But the more I thought about it, and the more I read about it, it all just started making sense.
From what I’ve read, ENFPs are the one of the most introverted extroverts you can be. I’m associated with the likes of Robin Williams, Walt Disney, Sandra Bullock, and so many others. I love meeting new people. I love talking to them, getting to know them, and if you’ve ever really talked to me, I probably asked you a lot of questions about yourself. (Sorry, I’m very curious). I think most people would say I’m friendly and easily excitable, and relatively easy to talk to. I don’t mind going out, either, and small talk is something I’m good at (much to my chagrin). But I also enjoy my own space. I love the quiet, and sometimes, people just get too much for me. I prefer to spend my weekends recuperating from the social interactions I’ve had during the week— true, 100% me time. Even if my “me time” is probably just watching Netflix in my room or reading a book under the comfort of a well-loved blanket.
But you would honestly never really know I’m extroverted because I have social anxiety. It honestly feels like I’m introverted all the time, primarily because my SA just takes over. To me, it’s kind of like Rock, Paper, Scissors—only this time, the rock is my extroversion, the paper is my SA, and the Scissors are my brain.
See, I know I’m extroverted when the feelings of fear and failure aren’t there. But of course, they’re always there—anxiety never really goes away—but sometimes I just try and squash them, telling myself, “C’mon, McKenna, you can do this,” because my eagerness to have some sort of social connection with someone on a daily basis far outweighs the anxiety that is always pulling me down. It’s just the “getting there” that is difficult. Most times my brain will remind me of some other stupid interaction I’ve had years before and I’ll quickly find myself walking back instead of towards the party. I feel like I miss out, and that really sucks.
Living as an extrovert with social anxiety is honestly the worst. I hate that I find myself talking myself out of things, I hate that I stumble over my words even though I so desperately want to talk to people. So please forgive me if I’m awkward or seem indifferent or cold—I’m not (or I certainly try not to be).
I’m just trying to tell my brain to shut up. And it’s harder than it looks.
At the same time, I’m training myself to overcome my SA, because not only does that technique help me in other situations when I need to stop thoughts from occurring, but it’s a pretty useful tool, being able to talk to your brain. (I think that’s meta…) If you’re like me and anxiety rules your life, having control over your brain is a pretty powerful thing. You can have control of your life again, and that’s the ultimate goal for me.
And in the meantime, I’m binge-watching FRIENDS, and if you need one, I’ll be there for you… "when the rain starts to pour."