An Introvert? Me?

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Yup. Forty one years ago I arrived. I was the long awaited firstborn of my parents. A blessing for sure.

Sweet baby to darling toddler, precocious preschooler, eager youngster, awkward teen, insecure young woman, and finally, blossomed into the self assured (mostly) person I call ME!

I don’t think of it as growing older. Sure, my hair has more gray than ever. Sure, there is evidence that I smile, laugh and scrunch my nose when I find things odd or funny. I’m far from svelte.

But wow, I feel like 41 years in and I’m finally getting to know myself.

You see, from college on, I always thought of myself as an extrovert. Which is funny, I spent all of elementary school and high school as shy. . .and maybe even odd. But an extrovert is who I WANTED to be.

I wanted to be “that girl”, you know the one. The pretty, popular, hip girl, surrounded by good friends and suitors. Instead, I was usually the one surrounding “that girl”. I was hardly surrounded by suitors (though I did end up reeling in the best catch ever!).

I would take the personality tests and cheat. I knew what I wanted to be. . .the extroverted, outgoing, fun loving gal. So I would answer the questions that way . . . I am a professional test taker!

“Look!”, I would say. “I’m an extrovert and I love people!”

But what I really loved were MY people. My inner circle. The people that I felt safe with.

Spring Break in Daytona? No thanks, I’d rather stay back in our nearly empty apartment and relax for Spring Break.

Bar Night or watch “Friends”? I usually stayed back and opted for a night out with my close friends on the much less crowded Tuesday nights.

The signs were all there. But I never saw them.

I could not be an introvert. Introverts are weird hermits. Introverts lack social skills. I liked people, and public speaking, and managing the radio station.

And it is true. I love people. I even like being the center of attention sometimes. I’m not even a totally private person . . . I’m kind of an open book.

But when I look at lists of introvert traits, I realize that is who I am.

I used to equate introversion with shyness, and since I’m not really shy, I assumed I was extroverted.

You have no idea how much relief this revelation has offered me. I finally feel like I am being true to myself. I feel like I am not wrong to really, genuinely prefer a morning in my chair with coffee and a good book rather than a shopping spree at the crowded mall. It explains why I prefer camping and hiking to a tourist destination.

Self awareness is very freeing.

I look at my twins and see so much of myself. Emily is gregarious and bubbly and fearless, talking a mile a minute. Lizzie is more aloof, content, and quiet. I like to tell people that I fancy myself as Emily, but really, I am more like Lizzie. They are both great kids. . .but very different needs and personality types. I hope that through the years I can nurture each girl’s unique needs.

I’d love for them to feel comfortable in their own skin long before they turn 41!

Chime in! Are you the personality type that you always fancied yourself to be, or do you surprise yourself?



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About the author : Dakotapam

I’m a Lutheran pastor’s wife and mom to six kids, including toddler twin girls. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!

7 comments to “An Introvert? Me?”

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  1. Mandy - February 24, 2013 Reply

    I feeI very much the same as you. When I was younger, I longed to be surrounded with friends and “the life of the party”. Now, I much prefer my family and close circle of friends. I’m very comfortable with the introverted me.

    • Dakotapam - February 26, 2013 Reply

      Yes, I’m becoming more comfortable with the authentic me! It offers great comfort! Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Lisa - February 24, 2013 Reply

    A llifelong introvert here! I always knew it but was much happier – or maybe just more comfortable – once I decided that it was fine to be that way. Society likes to convince us that the only way to be is outgoing and extroverted. What you said is about shyness is exactly right. We aren’t always really shy at all. We just prefer the solitude sometimes, perhaps.

    • Dakotapam - February 26, 2013 Reply

      Yes, I always wondered why the thought of going someplace really crowded and busy made me so tired (think State Fair, etc) I love people and talking, and going places, but I really need space, and quiet.

      • Lisa - February 26, 2013 Reply

        That’s a perfect way to put it – people-heavy places DO make me tired. Even places I enjoy visiting can be exhausting. Nothing better than coming home after a day like that.

  3. Laurie - February 25, 2013 Reply

    I am definitely an introvert, which is why I love writing about introverts! 🙂 I would much rather be alone than with other people. I am traveling in Peru right now, and find that even being in a square or market with hundreds of people draining – even if I am not talking to them.

    It takes time to accept ourselves for who we are, but when we do….it is awesome.

    By the way, thanks for sharing my list of introverted traits!


    • Dakotapam - February 26, 2013 Reply

      You are most welcome! I’m enjoying learning more about what makes me me!

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