The Trouble with Ambiverts

There’s nothing quite like going to a party to remind you where you land on the introversion / extraversion spectrum — as well as so many other spectrums — but last night I was particularly reminded of the former.

Sometimes the best way to describe inner experience is visually. I have been wracking my brain to try to find a piece of art or cartoon frame or other to best share and attempt to convey what happens inside of my noggin when surrounded by a bunch of people where the unspoken but overt expectation is to willfully interact.

A more difficult task than meets the eye, since I’m neither one side nor the other. I’m both, but not in that enviable, middle-of-the-road, can be cool with anything kind of way that Larry Kim and Adam Grant like to put on a pedestal. I’m of the variety that swings from one end of the scale to the other, then back again, in waves. But not like Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”, where little men in boats are about to be crushed by the weight of it. Nothing that dramatic. It’s more of an opening and a closing, like a revolving door entrance into an office building. But not so much that either — it’s nothing so predictable and functional.

Then I found this, and while it’s no Van Gogh, I think Oscar Nin kinda nailed it.

As I’ve hinted at in other posts, my life took a weird turn this year, and I’ve been a homebody cat lady more than usual — which I imagine is triggering the whole absence impact thing. As the famous line goes, it is as wind to fire — it extinguishes the small and enflames the great. Suffice to say, my desire to connect with people has been enflamed.

I think it’s because — at least partly — I’m better able to see who I am when I am with other people, which extraverts the world ’round can likely sympathize with. While I have felt pretty good about how I’ve used my recent increased solitary time, I have also felt the draw toward circumstances where I’m interacting with others and facing the constant question of “how vulnerable do I let myself be right now?” which begs the deeper questions of “who am I in this moment?” and “what can I do right now to make this the best now possible for those in my orbit?“. All of which are questions often asked by the overanalytical introvert and can lead to anxiety, overwhelm, and a sudden urge to make a beeline for the nearest blanket to hide under. Yet for many ambiverts, I’m going to guess that this is the sweet nectar of life at its finest.

At least it is for this particular one.

So perhaps that’s something to celebrate, those five-star moments that somehow manage to happen despite the awkwardness of being a walking pendulum, constantly swinging between ridiculously social and lost in my head.

More soon — meanwhile, I have another gathering to get to, and it’s going to take a few hours for me to shore up enough energy to be ready for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: