If you’ve come across my Odyssey profile before, you’ll know that I am a raging extrovert. I thrive off of leadership roles, being in charge, and being nothing short of the best. I lack no confidence in social situations and I command attention without even meaning to. I’m small, but I make up for it with a larger than life personality. I can make just about anything a good ass time. I’m extra. I love large crowds, festivals, concerts and amusement parks. I love presenting projects in front of an audience, reciting poetry, or reading aloud. I love handshakes, hugging, and introducing myself to others. I enjoy dance floors, icebreakers, and petting a stranger’s dog on the street. I like having a big crazy family, and an even bigger heart with which to love them. It's just who I am.
What I don’t love about being an extrovert is what it means to truly be an extrovert.
Yes, it does mean you are exceptionally good at making “friends” and phasing in and out of various social groups. You do get along well with almost everyone. You are not shy. You are not quiet. Almost everyone likes you.
It also means you find yourself alone, sometimes.
The fact that you are almost inhumanly good at having a blast with everyone you meet gives your pals confidence in you that if they do not introduce you to their other friends, or extend an invite to you, you’ll find your way there anyway because you are just like that. When that happens, you find yourself in a weird state of limbo. You came with your friends but you aren’t with your friends now, or maybe you even just didn’t show up to the event because it wasn’t clear whether you were low-key getting the invite or high-key being excluded. Not that I would really even give half of a rat’s ass about being invited or not because like I said, social butterfly and all. Home girl’s got options, you feel me? I like keeping busy by interacting with whoever, whenever and wherever I can.
The problem that arises is found within the key word social. As in with others. Some of us extroverts are such extroverts that we have absolutely no idea what to do when we are by ourselves, which happens rarely. I can honestly tell you that I don’t really have any hobbies that I do purely by myself. I struggle to figure them out when my friends and family are busy. I have virtually no idea how to be alone. Nor do I want to be, so it is both a good and a bad thing that I don’t know how to be by myself.
An extrovert who doesn’t know how to be alone? Makes sense….
Being autonomous and self-satisfying in terms of creating interpersonal relationship means a lot less legwork for others, and a lot more for you. Putting yourself out there gets so exhausting. Sometimes I simply do not have the energy to go through all the formalities of introductions and “getting to know you”s and telling everyone how I’m from Brooklyn but my family lives in New Jersey over and over and over again.
Sometimes, the conversation just becomes so disingenuous because it feels like a script that I’ve been rehearsing all my life; it only changes dependent upon on what semester we’re in, like my resume. As a true extrovert, do you know how much I hate that? I feel like an automaton rattling off all this irrelevant information to someone I will only see one time at my roommate’s best friend’s cousin’s graduation party and will never see again for the rest of my life. I enjoy true authentic conversation, not that nonsense.
As an extrovert, it’s not that you have “a lot of friends”.
It’s that you have a lot of acquaintances.
People who say hi to you in the hall between classes but won’t hang out with you on a Saturday. People who will follow you on Instagram and like all your photos but when you run into them at a party and say hello, will look at you like they’ve never seen you before in their life. People you can ask about tomorrow’s Theology homework, but you can’t go to with your problems. Names and faces and nothing else.
The hardest part about being an extrovert is recognizing who are your friends and who your acquaintances are. If you see me in a crowd of people saying hi to every single person, chances are not all of them are my friends. Not everyone is or can be or wants to be the person who comforts you after your 2 am pre-finals breakdown. Not everybody gets that privilege, which is just fine by mine.
My dad always says that he would rather have 2 really good friends than a lot of acquaintances. As an extrovert, I must say that I agree. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy getting to know everyone. It is to say that I’m sorry about how superficial some of our conversations come across, solely upon the basis that there are only so many of you on this earth with whom I can build my closest relationships. Sorry if I am bursting your bubble in terms of how you see me. If I had the time and means and resources, I would want to be best friends forever with all seven billion of you. I am just saying something that needs to be said:
Sometimes my being an extrovert is just as overwhelming for me as it is for you.