I am an anti-social extrovert. Either that or I'm a very social introvert. The thing is, I know that I get my energy from being around people. I can't be alone for too long or I slip into a pit of my own thoughts, which turns me into an anxious ball of nerves if I do that for too long. But sometimes I begin to wonder if I'm being more introverted as time goes on. But then I remember that being around people is when I'm happiest, just not large crowds.
When I was little, I loved being around lots of people. I have memories of standing under the arch in my childhood house and exclaiming "Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and girls! Presenting... Me!" and then running into the living room to do whatever I had planned. I can't see myself doing this now, but I'm guessing that's a mixture of growing up and developing insecurities.
After church on Saturdays, I'd stand with my dad at the exit and say good bye to people as they left. I wanted to be involved in the conversations, even if I had no idea what was going on. I have another memory of sitting on the steps of the stage and wanting people to walk out that way so I could say goodbye to them by myself, but only a couple people walked by. I probably looked rather lonely and small, but I didn't mind. I wanted to be around people, and that was the best way I could think of to do it.
My Freshman and Sophomore years of high school were spent in the Bay Area, and since we lived about thirty minutes away (and my mom started school about a half hour before I did), I got to school much earlier than others did. By my Sophomore year, I was driving to school with one of my friends, but the mornings of my Freshman year were spent sitting in the cafeteria reading whatever book I'd chosen. I was perfectly content with this, and it continued on to my Junior year at a different school. I sat in the gazebo for an entire semester, and I still do this most mornings.
I still love being around people, but I've learned to appreciate the silence that comes with a crisp wind and a thick book. Because of this realization, I'm a little more stingy with my time. I love being around people, but I don't love crowds. I would much rather be around a few people, or have a one-on-one conversation about something important to us. I despise small talk, and because of that I tend to form deep friendships fairly quickly. Being around people gives me energy, but large crowds are draining.
I wouldn't say I'm an introvert, because the whole idea has to do with where you get your energy from, and as we've covered, I definitely get my energy from being around people. Good people, good conversations, and good connections bring out a side of me that needs to be there in order for me to stay sane. Even so, I can't be around a large crowd for too long or I get into a hibernation-like state. I feel the need to go home, curl up in blankets, and watch episode after episode of either Friends or New Girl.
Someone once told me that we all go through stages of extroversion and introversion, and while I'm not totally sure if that's true, I can certainly see why it would be possible. Right now, I'm very much in the middle. I'm content to drink coffee and talk with a good friend on a rainy afternoon, and I'm equally as content to sit in a gazebo and read a book all afternoon. Extroversion isn't always being around lots of people with loud music in the background, and introversion isn't always writing poetry at 3'AM while contemplating your existence. There's something in the middle, and that's where I often find myself.