Written by Ryeri Lim
Published in the November 6, 2015 issue
This is a busy season for everyone: on one day in particular, I had a
lot on my mind.
As I hurried past the quad, the din of the brunch games immediately reminded me of my weeklong commitment to extroversion. The quickness of my emotional reaction surprised me: I dreaded joining in the spirited fun. In that instant, I learned that loudly socializing with my friends was not, for me, a stress-relieving activity. Instead, I subconsciously viewed it as another obligation.
This mindset doesn’t mean I can’t have fun when with my friends or when at a party—introverts aren’t even necessarily shy or fearful of crowds. It’s just that, sitting in my room listening to music and scrolling through Instagram, I’m already having a pretty good time.
Thus, I found that one of the core differences between introverts and extroverts is how one views the opportunity cost of getting ready and going out. On the Saturday before Homecoming week, I decided to attend three separate “events.” Normally, I’d have either taken the day to wind down from a busy week, or had dinner to catch up with a friend. Even scheduling a full seven days of “extroverted” activities put me at a loss— though my introversion doesn’t determine my friends’ place on the spectrum, I’ve never really needed a squad with which to regularly hang out. Contacting individual friends took time and imagination.
For the most part, they were surprised but pleased to hear from me—a gratifying response.
The thought of talking more initially made me uncomfortable. I prefer to work through and understand my emotional reactions myself before confessing them to others. But when the opportunity came up this week, I accepted the chance to think out loud and react candidly.
While the unfamiliar process of self-discernment was nerve-wracking, I was also surprised by the capable response from my friend.
Trying extroversion has a lingering effect; I’m still texting more people, still speaking more openly than I did before this experiment. Stretching the boundaries of my interpersonal identity has revealed the benefits of b e i n g a little m o r e tired at the end of the d a y — tired b u t m o r e emo- tionally satisfied.