Monday, January 23, 2012

The Downside of Being an Extrovert

DISCLAIMER: This is a long post. And I talk about my dating life. Proceed at your own risk :) 

I am an extrovert. No, I am an extreme extrovert...with every fiber of my being. This serves me very well in my professional life. As part of our Monday Morning Management Team Meeting, (Mmmtm...beat-box it, you know you want to) three of my coworkers and I bought the book Strengths Finder 2.0, took the 170+ question assessment and have started delving into our strengths and what they mean for how we should be the leaders of Housing Partnership. Here are my five strength areas, with the brief description. 

Restorative: People who are especially talented in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.
Individualization: People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
Woo: People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person. 
Positivity: People who are especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.
Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

Ok. So there's the proof that I'm an extrovert. Three out of five strengths are directly related to wanting to make connections with, understand and in general be with people. Like I said, perfect for my Public Relations and Development career.

However, being such an extreme extrovert can be difficult in my personal life. For one, I have an incredibly difficult, borderline impossible, time being alone. Sitting at home without anyone around can truly lead to anxiety for me. My usual solution is to go shopping, even just to the grocery store, so I can be around people. Let me tell you, my bank account does not always appreciate this response.

I've been trying to work on this and force myself to stay home and just CHILL and learn how to deal with it. Take Saturday for example...I'd call it a mixed success. I woke up around 8ish. What was my first response? Text a friend to see if they wanted to have a chill day watching tv/movies. Seriously, Crystal? Ok. Then I chatted with JB until she left for her goddaughter's birthday. Alright, empty house now. I shoveled, realized how nice it was outside and threw out a call on Facebook for someone to ski/snowshoe with. No takers. So I was left to my own devices, with 5 hours until I needed to be at work, and an empty house. I am happy to announce: I did it. I spent those last few hours by myself, without even so much as a texting conversation with anyone. So the day started off rocky, and then I overcame my anxiety and chilled. But let me tell you, I have never been so happy to get to work! PEOPLE. SOCIAL INTERACTION.

You're probably thinking: "Crystal, not being able to sit at home alone all day isn't that big of a deal." You're right. But there's more. Let's look at how this affects my dating life. (Go ahead and groan...stop reading here if you did). According to that wonderful Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment, I love to make connections with people, I care about them, and I want to make them happy. Add that to my extreme extrovert-ism...that's an intense combination.

I recently had someone very close to me tell me that part of the reason that I may have trouble dating is because I am so freaking intimidating. Uhh...I'm just barely 5 feet tall? What's there to be intimated by? Her response: I am confident, I know who I am and what I want, I have a successful, professional career that has me already making a name for myself in this community and I'm only 23. Oh, and I'm an extreme extrovert. Well then.

So here begins my attempt to find a balance between toning down my personality (at least in the beginning) so as not to scare guys away,  but also not losing who I am. And please, don't get into the "If someone doesn't like you for who you are, that's their problem" or "Don't change yourself for a man" spiels. That's not what I'm talking about doing. I'm not making any fundamental changes. I am still going to be an extrovert, I'm still going to value people and care about them and want to make meaningful connections. I'm still going to wear my heart on my sleeve. I just need to tone it down a bit so there's room for someone else in my world.