Are You An Introvert Or An Extravert?
When we meet someone new, the polite thing to do is to ask them questions about themselves:What do you do for a living? Where did you go to school? What did you study? Where are you from?
We ask these questions, partially to get know someone, but also to put them into a category. I believe it is our inclination as humans to put people into categories.
But what if we don’t always fall into one category?
Most of my life, as the oldest child, I have been the outgoing one. The one always entertaining family at parties, the witty kid who adults thought was funny.
For every personality test I have ever taken, extravert has been my result. I like hanging out with friends over being alone. I thrive on conversations and laughter with my closest friends. I never really questioned whether or not this was my label.
In May of 2013 I walked across the stage to receive my diploma and then flew out at 5 a.m. the next morning to work at a Christian summer camp in Colorado. In order to attend my graduation, I was late for staff training. So, here I was walking into a group of young people who had spent three days getting to know each other, and I was the new kid. I was completely overwhelmed, and when I am overwhelmed I get quiet.
The staff was amazing and welcomed me with open arms, but it still took me a while to get adjusted to a new job, new people, and even a new climate! Who knew Colorado is still cold in May?!
As the weeks went on, I became more and more comfortable with my job and my true personality came out. But some of my friends on staff had already labeled the quiet Amanda as an introvert;they were shocked when they saw the talkative, entertain-a-crowd, part of my personality.
The more people who came up to me and said they saw me as an introvert, the more confused I became! I had never in my life been labeled an introvert!
At the end of my time in Colorado, I boarded another plane and headed to Georgia for World Race training camp. I said goodbye to my Colorado community, the people who had become my best friends, on the same day I met the people I would spend the next year of my life with. Talk about overwhelming!
So again I was quiet.
When they did team placements, I was put on a great team of very laid back introverts. And I seemed to fit right in. Maybe I was an introvert who didn’t know she was?
I came home from training camp and had six weeks before leaving for China to think about my identity crisis. I remember having coffee with a friend and telling him that I was so confused! I was tired of feeling like an extravert and being told I was an introvert! What’s a girl to do?!
I wish I could say I had this revelation right then, but it took many more months of traveling the world and learning who I was to discover the secret.
I don’t have to be an introvert or an extravert. I can be both.
Sometimes we desire to put someone into a category so badly, that we forget that people are multifaceted. Some people have an inclination for one side or the other, but most of us can function as both!
This revelation has helped me to understand myself and others so much better! Instead of trying to shove someone’s personality into one of two categories, I try to understand each person as the unique human being that she is.
This takes more time, and more work to understand a person outside of "introvert" or "extravert", but I have discovered that this leads to deeper friendships with those around us.
I am uniquely Amanda. When I first meet people or enter a new situation, I am quiet as I adjust and take in my new surroundings. When I get to know people and am comfortable in my surroundings, I can be the life of the party, or not. I can sit at home and drive in my car in complete silence, at peace with my own thoughts. Or I can sing at the top of my lungs to my favorite songs with a car full of my best friends.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14
Don’t be afraid to not fit any labels. Be uniquely you. Be an introvert or an extravert or both. But most importantly, embrace who God has created you to be.
// photo by Morgan Sessions