April 24, 2017

It feels like the fact that I can be quiet/introverted/whatever you want to label it has been coming up a lot lately. I was talking about it with a group of people a few days ago, and we had a pretty open conversation. We were talking about all our similarities and differences in that area - there was a lot of understanding and no judgements. It felt.. safe? Which was interesting and really cool because I was talking with people a lot younger than I am. I left feeling comfortable with myself. But since then, somehow, kind of all the sudden, it's like the more this personality trait is brought up, the more aware of it I am and the more self-conscious about it I feel.

Not long after that good conversation, I'm fairly positive I experienced some real social anxiety for the first time. Anxiety. I was surrounded by a lot of people, very few of whom I knew well, very many of whom I let intimidate me. The entire time I wanted to shrink up inside myself and disappear, and I haven't felt that in a really long time - if ever. No, I think I had felt it. Or something really close to it, but not for a long time. The whole drive home that night, I replayed moments in my mind I wished I could go back and change. Except not even that, because I definitely didn't want to go back and experience them again at all. I guess they were moments I wished I could just erase.

Whyyy am I like this? Why am I so terrible at meeting people and introducing myself and making friends? I really don't know. I guess I wanted to write this as a first step in figuring it out. One thing I have noticed, is that if I'm with someone who is the complete opposite of me in this way - someone who is comfortable in these situations and immediately everyone's friend - I let them take the lead while I sink backward because I know I could never keep up with them so why even try.

I feel like I'm a sometimes-extroverted introvert. Because if I'm in the right mood, with the right people, I can do it. I feel like I was way better at it in high school and even early on in college. Maybe because I was more sure of who I was back then. I've thought about this a lot. I lived in the same small town from the time I was born to when I moved away for college. I feel like I was working on myself that whole time - who I was, what I did, who my friends were. I got to build and build on that identity for eighteen years, and then after a couple months in college I felt like I had lost it all. I was starting from scratch, and honestly I haven't felt as if I've had sure footing in that regard ever since. A lot of things go into that, I think. My life has had so many changes and so little consistency the last few years. And while a whole lot of good has come from that, a clear self-identity hasn't been part of it. So maybe that's why I'm not comfortable around other people, because I'm not comfortable with myself. Does that make sense? Have I come full circle yet?

Hm. I wish I had a way to tie this up neatly. But maybe if anyone reading this feels the same way you can send me some tips. And if you read to the end of this looking for tips.. whoops! 

1 comment :

Amanda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this! I feel the same way a lot of the time. I have no problem being the center of attention and leading things, but I also have some social anxiety and really enjoy being alone. I prefer to think of myself as an ambivert. I'm extroverted in some areas and not in others. It's a weird space, but I like to think of it as being able to communicate with two different groups depending on my mood. That's my two cents anyway.

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