This week was Welcome Week, or rather “Fresher’s Week”. There were, and still are, at least two or three events every single hour of every single day. I was slightly dreading it but I began thinking about it as some kind of experiment. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to somewhat step into the shoes of a person who is energized by socialization rather than exhausted by it. I wanted to push myself out of my own boundaries.
So I did.
Now here I am sitting alone in my room… lethargic, soundless, and desperate for some time to myself.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
As a self-proclaimed introvert there’s no possible way for me to completely transform myself into an introvert. All I can really do is spend some time with a few extroverts, aka my flatmates, and temporarily rewire my brain. I guess it wasn’t too difficult to do that since I love creating my own characters. It just involved stepping out of myself if that makes any sense at all.
Therefore, I took every opportunity I could to socialize. I would accept invitations to go to cafés and pubs, though never to those wild and insane parties because I’m not ready for that, and even chatted with people in the line (or “queue”) or the cashiers. I like to say I’m pretty skilled at small-talk anyway so it wasn’t hard to strike up a conversation with a stranger, unless of course they don’t want to speak to me at all. That’s happened a few times.
It was actually a little strange. I’ve mentioned before that I’m the outgoing type of introvert. Before, I would stress about how people would react to what I wanted to say but this time around I simply said what was in my mind. I don’t mean being rude or anything. I allowed my own humor personality to shine and… it felt great. I’ve never really showed my true personality to strangers but I somehow did it. It suddenly felt like I wasn’t playing a part anymore.
And maybe, in a way, I wasn’t.
I doubted myself for a moment and thought that maybe – just maybe – I wasn’t an introvert after all. But the five days I’ve had of constant social interaction has really made me crave some time to just sit in my room or a café by myself to collect my own thoughts. I technically didn’t even last until Wednesday, which was yesterday. I was starting to get weary on Monday but I just decided to power through, leaving me socially exhausted once again.
But it’s not just a mental exhaustion. I’m actually physically tired as well. Isn’t that so strange? Well, not really. Us introverts are powered up by the time we spend on our own. Just an entire day of Netflix, writing, and creating to-do lists have been absolutely amazing. I spoke to my flatmates a few times but my voice is pretty weak so even if I wanted to carry a lengthy conversation, I couldn’t.
So that’s the story of my attempt to walk through life as an extrovert and I’ve learned quite a lot.
We live in a world where being a person who has an endless circle of friends is favored over being one who likes to sit in coffee shops and read. It’s really not fair that we’re often overlooked just because we prefer to be in the background a majority of the time. Being in the background has its perks. We’re analyzers… thinkers. We thrive working with our own thoughts.
Well then how do we survive in a world where socializing is basically forced upon us since kindergarten?
We just… do.
We have to ignore the belief that extroverts are somehow more capable. Both sides have their strength and their weaknesses. It just so happens that our strengths are viewed as a weakness.
Luckily, there are a lot of us out there. We’re tough to find, but we’re there.