Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What makes me tick: being reserved

One of my nightmares is someone drawing attention to me in a crowd. A stand up comedian pointing me out. Someone making me come up to the front and do something. Center stage is not a place for me and if you try to cajole me onto it literally or figuratively, you will piss me off.

Cue the extroverts out there: Oh come on! Live a little! You're no fun! Correct. I am no fun in the spotlight because I have no fun in the spotlight. But a blog is like a spotlight I broadcast from myself, isn't it? The act of blogging itself is extroverted.

Like most people, I have both introvert and extrovert tendencies. I think it's crazy to think you're either or even though that's all the rage these days. While I tend to think of myself more as an introvert, I'm not ever afraid to speak up or out, connect, make eye contact, talk to strangers, meet someone for the first time, or anything like that, all of which are extrovert characteristics. I'm very forthcoming in person. But put the spotlight on me and I am a deer in headlights.

I think that has a lot to do with me being reserved, which can be misconstrued as self conscious or shy - while it's neither of those, it's definitely introverted. Shyness implies fear of interacting with and approaching others. I have no problem with that. I'm also rarely self conscious - I've done plenty of things that make me look the fool and just don't give a fuck about how I appear to other people a majority of the time.

So what's the difference between shy and reserved? Being reserved means I just typically prefer to keep more of myself behind a wall until I know you better. I reserve part of my real self, get it? It's a defense mechanism. I will talk to someone I don't know all the live long day in general terms about any number of topics, but I will likely not actually reveal much about myself. I excel at holding people at arm's length when I want or need to.

When you're in, you're in, so you might never have even seen the wall. I'm also good at hiding it from you when it is there, because it's not in place to make you feel bad. It's not a wall that's built to keep you out - it's a wall that's there to keep me in until I'm comfortable enough to take it down.

I think it's interesting to think about all the different facets of our personalities and what makes us tick. What's something that makes you tick? Do you have more introvert or extrovert tendencies?

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36 comments:

  1. I so relate to so much of this, I am an introvert but can be extroverted in a group I know well. The wall is in place to protect us not them, and it comes down for a chosen few.

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  2. I am generally an extrovert. It actually ticks me off when people push introverted people to do extroverted things.... when they clearly are uncomfortable doing it!

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  3. I'm definitely shy when I first meet people and/or in big groups, but even after getting over that initial shyness I still don't want to be the center of attention. Ever.

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  4. omg it's like i was reading about myself and had to look at your URL to remind me that i wasn't. i'm the exact same - i can talk someone's ear off about topics i'm passionate about but when the focus is on me, i ramble and prefer to just change the subject. i absolutely hate it when i'm at a shower or some kind of event and they make you go up in front of everyone to do something silly; i will immediately hide or find the need to go to the bathroom or legit say NO WAY LEAVE ME ALONE because me in the spotlight is just plain awkward for everyone and nobody wins.

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  5. I'm an introvert. In the past, I've probably come off as really unfriendly to a lot of people, simply because I don't have a lot to say out loud if I'm in a new situation. Lately, I've been thinking about how I sound and appear to others and I believe it's really difficult to be able to tell how you're coming off. Put me in a new group of people, and it stresses me out. Social situations in general. I'm a one on one person.

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  6. I am exactly the same way... I don't like attention being drawn to myself but I'm not necessarily shy. I need time to warm up and build trust :)

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  7. I have a hard time identifying that part of myself. I feel shy. But maybe I'm reserved? Because I'm definitely a weird balance of extrovert and introvert. Sometimes I just NEED people, and somehow I generally end up the center of attention (I can feel my family heavy sighing as I type that) but not in an annoying way? More in a "I don't mind being the butt of a joke if it makes someone laugh" way. I wish I was more reserved and less shy.

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  8. I am definitely more of an extrovert but definitely savor alone time (and a lot of it) like an introvert. I was pulled on stage at an improv show recently and it was awful. I sucked it up only because I knew refusing would cause even more of a scene.

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  9. I am also very reserved. I'm a little quieter and less revealing with people I don't know. But get me around friends that I've known forever and you'll see me be loud and very talkative. Hah. :)

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  10. I'm definitely more of an introvert and I'm so socially awkward it's painful BUT I don't hesitate to speak my mind when necessary. For example I went to CVS to buy Tyson some Epsom Salts for his feet a couple of weeks ago and I found a bag with Eucalyptus and some other stuff in it that was supposed to be about $6. High for Epsom salt but the extras were going to make it worth it. The lady rung it up and she said that will be $10, I just looked at her and said, "Seriously? I'm not paying $10 for Espom Salt." She said but it has eucalyptus and blah blah blah. Me: "I don't care what it has in it I don't want it" (exit stage left).

    One of my very non-introverted qualities is telling people like it is. :)

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  11. So interesting, and I can totally relate. I'm hesitant to approach people, but if they approach me first then I'll talk to them for a long time. I don't like speaking in front of a crowd or even having a lot of people look at me. At work events, when someone acknowledges me and tells me to wave, I turn bright red. I've taken to hiding during the remarks at events so this can't happen, and after four years, the dean has finally caught on! Just let me sit back and do my job!

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  12. a blog really is interesting because I feel like both intro and extroverts thrive here. there's not much else like that. i wish i was more reserved. I love spotlights, at least most of the time. and that's not always a good thing.

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  13. This is a really great post!! I think I'm a little bit of both - once I get to know you I can really become an extrovert, but i'm more reserved when I first meet someone, but still friendly and somewhat open!!

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  14. I'm totally a little bit of both, it really depends on my mood. When I'm tired, I'm more introverted. I use to be very talkative until someone told me that I talk to much and it was annoying. So now, I'm very aware if I'm bring too talkative. Although when I'm not as talkative, I'm constantly asked are you ok? Sometimes, I just can't win.

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  15. I will gut-spill to practically anyone. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am also a homebody, do not like to travel and prefer to drive so I can have all my stuff with me in our own vehicle, feel like a foreigner in the city. I have been in the spotlight a few times. It's ok. I make myself feel inferior many times because I do not have a college degree. I love making people laugh! I will not always speak my mind as I want everyone to get along and will avoid a commotion at all costs. I have both tendencies, too. We are all similar, but different. That's what makes the world go round.
    Another awesome, thought-provoking blog. Love you!
    Love, Your MOMMA

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  16. I agree that most people have introvert and extrovert characteristics. I think I am more reserved as well, yet I stand in front of 40+ students to teach several times a week and have no issues with being in the spotlight in that regard, but other times I am just not into it. Bridal shower and baby shower? Ugh. I do not want people watching me open gifts and generally paying tons of attention to me.

    I also HATE small talk. Hate it. If I go somewhere where I don't know anyone, I will not be the person to make small talk or try to talk to people. I would rather just hang out by myself. John is the total opposite. Will talk to anyone and make friends with anyone, and there's me, not caring to talk to anyone!

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  17. I am definitely more of an introvert, but like you said I don't fit into a little box, hardly anyone does. I have both tendencies, and I am shy and reserved, even though I have a blog lol. I cannot handle the spotlight in the examples you gave, we went to see my husband's favourite comedian 2 years ago and my husband wanted to sit up close and I was terrified he would pick on us, so I made sure to laugh at everything and I didn't say a single thing lol.

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  18. The spotlight is basically the worst thing ever. I cannot stand knowing that people are looking at me and if I have to be in that position, I have anxiety attacks for weeks prior.

    I am definitely not shy but I am hugely introverted. I'm totally fine talking to people and if I'm comfortable around you, I probably won't shut up, but I am definitely more reserved than not. And, after I spend time around large crowds, I definitely need time to myself to refresh. I like and need my alone time.

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  19. I feel very similarly -- I consider myself introverted because I recharge when I'm by myself, and feel drained when I have to interact with lots of people (especially people I'm not close to. Small talk is my nemesis.) I don't mind speaking up in a group or even having to give a presentation when I'm comfortable with the subject matter, but I hate being put on the spot when I'm not expecting it.

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  20. What's crazy is that as we "age", so to speak, our personalities change...I used to love the spotlight...was the biggest extrovert...now I am more to myself, guarded and like to keep a low profile. I guess I am getting old! Ha! At the end of the day, I just like to have a good time with good company...that's what gets me going.

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  21. My sister used to talk about being introverted and I would scoff because she had tons of friends and went out partying pretty frequently. Then, at some point, I read a bit more about it and it's not necessarily our behavior but the impact that socializing has on us. So introverts would tend to feel drained by socializing and extroverts would be energized.

    I tend more towards the extrovert side, and it's not that socializing is necessarily easier, but after talking to strangers or hanging out with friends I often get really bubbly and excited. That doesn't mean I always want to do it and sometimes it tires me out and I'd much rather be alone at home. So you're absolutely right about everyone being a mix of both!

    As far as reserved goes, I would say that doesn't apply to me at all. In the effort to make small talk, I frequently spill personal details or get into that grey "TMI" area. It used to bother me, but I'm starting to think it's just a fact of life. The more you force yourself to say things on the spot, the more stupid things you'll eventually say. (cumulatively, not proportionally)

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  22. The reserving myself behind a wall until I get to know you part is totally me. I have never been able to open up right off the bad. I need to know you well before you know me.

    My ex loved comedy clubs. I went once and about shit my pants when the comedienne started picking on one of the couples at our table. I wanted to dive under the table lol. Luckily she never got to me hahaha... worst fear!

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  23. The wall as a defense is totally something I do too. When I was younger, I tried so very hard to make sure everyone liked me. It was exhausting! Now that I am oh so wise at thirty (hahaa), I have come to terms with not pleasing everyone and spending time with the people I actually want to. In doing that, it turns

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    1. whoops...silly phone! So anyways, in doing that it turns out I enjoy alone time as much as being the center of attention

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  24. I can definitely relate to this and have been cajoled before against my will. You made a good point that I never thought about from that angle: I can't have fun in front of large crowds so I an no fun too.

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  25. Oh, I'm a total introvert. I sometimes have to force myself to be social. I'd be content to stay home. And go to Target. I don't mind going to Target. But I can be quite shy. My husband makes me go to his work things even though I'm like, "Meh." But I do it because I know it's important to make an appearance. Still. Blah.

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  26. I'm extroverted but tend to be reserved as well. I'm not one to jump into the spotlight.

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  27. I feel reserved at work because I don't feel the need to speak-up all the time and what ticks me off is people to blabber on and on at meetings. Sometimes something good comes from all the blabbering and sometimes I just want to stop going off on tangents.

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  28. I def don't share certain things with certain people or upon meeting them so I would probably be reserved in that area but sometimes I share things with strangers that make it appear as though I am not reserved. I have introvert and extrovert tendencies as well but when I was younger (and drank a lot at the club) my friends would say I was always the center of attention. It made me feel embarrassed because I didn't do it on purpose but add a little liquid courage and everyone's my friend!

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  29. I've always hated when someone points me out in crowd of people... I always have a fear of being in a crowd and the speaker calling me out, because I will freeze and not move... yet, I have no problem speaking my mine on my blog or social media.

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  30. i am so an "when you're in, you're in" person. People have actually said to me "you are way nicer than I thought you'd be"...thanks...I guess?! :)

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  31. I'm ok with being on stage if I'm in a play but oh man the getting singled out by a comedian thing I'm right there with you!

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  32. I completely agree that although we all have both, we lean more towards one or the other. I'm most definitely an introvert. Part of why I like blogging is because I can socialize without actually being around people. Sounds terrible, right? I'm just the kind of person who needs LOTS of their own space. When I'm around others I can have a good conversation and a good time but I'd almost always RATHER be alone.

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  33. I agree on the need to label someone something. Everyone has many facets. I have more extrovert in me however do not for the love of all that is good in this world pull me on stage.

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  34. I wrote a comment and it disappeared... ugh. Let's try this again: I'm a little bit of both, but have become more reserved as I've gotten older. I don't mind being in the spotlight at comedy clubs and things like that (as long as it's not a prolonged amount of time), but I hate it when people make me talk in front of a large group. I get all panicky.

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  35. This is awesome. I absolutely hate audience participation! It's so awkward for everyone watching, no matter how much of an extrovert the participant is. I would be fine in the spotlight if it was something I signed up and prepared myself for. I didn't have a problem with speeches in school or presentations at work. But when a random hippie from the chorus of HAIR put a flower in my hair and wanted me to dance in the aisle with her? NO! Absolutely not. Haha!

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