I have become much quieter as I’ve gotten older. This may surprise those who know me, as I am still extremely verbal and loud, but the truth is I was even more so a few years ago.
There are some obvious reasons why I would try to move in this direction. You don’t ever get yelled at for things you don’t say. It’s no fun to be the person at the party who everyone complains about after because you won’t shut up. Being a chatterbox is annoying, and I don’t particularly like annoying people.
But the truth is about more than perception. I haven’t become less talkative merely because I want to be liked. It’s because I have learned one of the reasons why I talk so much.
I can’t be the only extrovert to recognize that being “noisy” comes from a bottomless need for attention. My personality inclines me toward a constant need for others to recognize me and to know about me. And when I start down that road of broadcasting my entire existence to anyone who happens to be in the room, I am like an addict trying to have just one hit. One won’t be enough, and before you know it I will have lost control.
[Sometimes I notice this in social situations. I used to think it was having a few cocktails that made me progressively more dominating in conversation as an evening went on. But even if I’m not imbibing, by the end of a party or evening out I am usually running my mouth incessantly, just because I am so stimulated by all the people.]
So without meaning to, almost as a self-preservation mechanism, I have stopped constantly indulging my need for attention. I refuse to feed the beast, that insatiable pit of desire for recognition that will devour me if I let it.
I still talk too much, and am still told to be quiet about once a week. But I’m making progress.
Extroverts: Have you identified anything that motivates your extroversion? And to all you introverts out there, what’s THAT like? I can’t even imagine.
I am in the opposite side of the wall, from introvert to getting some shares of attention. I used to hate being noticed but now kind of enjoying it in some situation. Outwardness may be a form of being an attention seeker but I would also relate it to self-confidence 🙂
There are definitely healthy and unhealthy ways that both introversion and extroversion manifest themselves, so what sometimes is compulsion is other times confidence, for sure! Thanks for reading (and enjoy the spotlight when you get it!)
When I first read article on being an introvert my outlook on myself and my society changed considerably. It got sharper and it finally clarified why my mother describes me as shy and why I totally disagree with that description.
I would describe it now as: extroverts put on a show. And I get to watch it. }:> I hang out with extroverts so much I feel almost constantly entertained. And I know they’ll pick up the slack in energy. It’s only when I’m feeling tired and a bit abused by life that I can’t handle all the noise and dynamism. An extrovert going on and on when I want peace and quiet can get exhausting.
But extrovert friends have mentioned that when my social energy dips they feel the absolute demand to increase the energy in the room. Like they feel the compulsion to make up for me not talking enough. This has happened enough times for me to think it’s a…thing. And if nothing else, I know it to be true because I’ve felt that compulsion when I’ve found myself in an acting class filled with introverted youngsters. It was quite bewildering to feel like the general noise and energy needed to be raised and, by gum, if the others weren’t going to be silly and crack jokes and make weird movie references, then I would!
This trajectory of going from observer to performer has been _weird_. I’m now caught somewhere in between and it’s a bit uncomfortable. And exhausting.
Also, don’t get too quiet Meg. You are a delight to be around because of your quips and incidental chatter as well as profound insight. }:>
Thanks for sharing that article. I had noticed it when it came out but never took the time to read it thoroughly. I have found this description helpful: extroverts are energized by people and introverts are drained by them.
I feel you on I overdoing it when there is a perceived energy gap. Guilty as charged.
Jessica from LAG here.
What turns my extroversion into a vice? Fun. I’m going to be honest: when people think I’m fun, I love it. It really is kind of like an addict’s rush when you see the look on people’s faces, the twinkle in their eye when you’re telling stories…
I think you have probably seen this from my antics at rehearsals, too.
But, sometimes extroversion masks the things that are really going on with me. I would rather be happy, or focus on being a source of happiness for others than to bring things down…or just not do anything at all (read: embrace the quiet within). Or, sometimes I feel maybe I’m selling myself short when I seek this happy, talkative, fun, bubbly energy at all times? Sometimes, I get a sinking feeling that people may not know the full, real me. I mean, obviously it is me when I genuinely feel that energy. There’s nothing fake about what I feel, nor how I feel I should share myself with others through conversation. But, is it coming out as a horrible caricature of me? Or, am I only sharing one side of me, and waiting to be truly vulnerable with who I am as a person once I know I can trust the other person in friendship? This has been something I’ve been confronting all year. How, in my power to connect with people with my extroverted spirit, should I use that energy properly? How should I present myself to others? I think I’m having an extrovert’s existential crisis…
I could bounce back and forth, giving pros and cons for extroversion and introversion. Truth is maybe there is that fine line I just haven’t found yet! Maybe I could take a note from some of our liturgical music notation: with quiet energy.
Ah my dear, I can remember thinking the exact same thing during my senior year of college, right down to using the expression “caricature of myself”. You’re asking all the right questions.
And I LOVE your quote from the score of “Only This I Want”. You made me LOL.
;D I figured you’d like that.