Things I like:
- Making connections with new people
- Speaking loudly so everyone in the room is listening to me
- Hanging out with large groups of interesting people
- Going out to loud, crowded bars to dance the night away
Things I hate:
- When I get past pleasantries with someone new and can’t think of a single thing to say
- When I have the attention of the whole room and my face turns tomato red
- When I’m with a group of interesting people and I am too timid to jump into the conversation
- Actually being in a boiling hot bar with people pressing in on every side of me and music so loud I can’t hear myself breathing.
Thus is the ever endless cycle of the introverted extrovert. When I am home alone, I have the burning desire to call up friends, make plans, and not spend another Friday night on the couch watching some terrible ABC Family drama. But, when I finally make it out, I find myself sitting in the corner wanting desperately to escape from the uncomfortable conversation I am having with some random friend of a friend and be curled up in bed with my puppy and Twitter.
While the internal struggle is annoying, it is far less than the external awkwardness that makes up me as a human being because of my intro-extro personality. I am bold. I am never afraid to text first (or double text. That’s a stupid rule.), I will speak my mind to people, and I never fear making a funny side comment to the lady in front of me in line. Yet, I am also painfully self-conscious about my communication skills. This results in an awkward mash-up of needing to speak and saying something weird.
A real example of a conversation with a co-worker.
Scene: Co-worker filling up his water bottle. Kierstyn passes him to reach the fridge.
Me: If I could just sneak past you.
Him: You’re not very sneaky. I saw you the whole time.
My Brain: Okay Kierstyn, say something charming and chuckle-worthy.
Me: Well I’ll just have to tip-toe quieter next time.
My Brain: Well that was a weird. It wasn’t charming at all. It didn’t even make sense. He said he could see you, not hear you. Just…..just leave. You’re embarrassing yourself.
*slips out of room without another word*
The fact that I’m relaying this story is the next issue. This 5-second conversation happened two days ago, and I’m still stressing out about how uncomfortable I sounded. I am bold and never afraid to speak, but I will then spend the next 3-5 years coming back to that conversation and debating with myself about if I was weird or not.
The next time I pass that co-worker I’ll think to myself;
Oh my god. It’s him. Is he thinking about the last conversation we had? Is he wondering why I said something so uncomfortable and then bolted from the room like a squirrel in the middle of the road? Wondering if I was always this weird and he just didn’t notice until our awkward exchange?
But he’s not. He probably doesn’t even remember it. I, however, will spend many sleepless nights wondering why I am such a bumbling fool who felt the need to get the last word.
I always want the last word. And the first. And most of the words in between. I am an unashamed Attention You-Know-What. I like when all eyes are on me.
Or at least I think I do.
Whenever I’m with a big group of friends, or in a large meeting at work, I think, hey, I have a fun story or good opinion to contribute to this conversation. I’m smart and witty, everyone should listen to my mouth words.
So I jump in. Which is quickly followed by;
Good God. Everyone is looking at me. Is my face red? of course it is. I can feel it burning. Am I being funny? I feel like I am. I think I heard someone pity laugh. That’s something right? Why did I think this was a good story? Why is my voice getting higher? Please don’t say the wrong word or something. Can they tell what form of their, they’re, or there I’m using? Nevermind. I’m almost done. Big punch line and……………small scattered chuckle. Alright. Note to self: Never speak again, you idiot.
But I will. Endlessly.
I am an introverted brain with an extroverted heart. I’ve got a lot of pizzazz, but absolutely no game and, to the horror of my introverted sense of embarrassment, I have no filter.
I also think I’m really funny. Like, REALLY funny. Like, move aside Jerry Seinfeld. Regardless of the fact that my dad is the only one in the world who laughs at all of my jokes. But I continue to tell them in an overly loud voice and then slowly shrink into the collar of my sweatshirt when they are followed by a very long silence.
I may not have a filter, but I definitely have shame. Lots and lots of shame.
The thing that pulls my through my fumbling life is knowing that I’m not alone in my uncomfortable existence. I think a majority of us are some combination of introverted and extroverted. There is always the exception of those who will bust into a party and befriend every soul in sight, as well as those who will stay back and only speak if spoken to. But for most of us, we just reach out for human connection, get scared, and then end up mumbling into our Solo cups. I find a lot of confidence in knowing that the person I’m talking to (or silently standing next to while we both glance around the room searching for something we can mutually talk about) is probably having the same internal dialogue as me.
And if all else fails, and I’ve made things way too weird and have to abort the conversation, I always look around for a pet. They won’t judge me if I tell a boring story or accidentally say Breast instead of Best.