A Reluctant Extrovert

Are you an Extrovert or an Introvert?

I decided today that I am a Reluctant Extrovert.

Let me back up a bit. I’m far from an Extrovert and would in fact classify myself as an Introvert. Not in a totally dysfunctional, can’t go out of the house or speak to anyone kind of way, but…

I was kind of shy as a kid. I’ve grown out of that like lots of people do. Not that I’m the life of the party, I’m certainly not the guy that keeps a conversation going in a group full of people, when that uncomfortable silence fills the room. I don’t like making small talk and like a lot of husbands, many conversations between my wife and I are one-sided, or let’s say maybe 75/25. I don’t particularly like being in charge, although I’ve certainly been down that road and am glad to be done with it. I helped run a small family retail business for years. I liked the job, but I hated the personnel part of it.

On the other hand I’ve always been this person that people seem to like and gravitate to. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here, like I’ve perhaps, occasionally, maybe, sometimes done here in my blog.  Seriously, I’m not… but it’s just one of those things I possess, I guess… that ability to be likeable…

… and totally handsome.

(sorry, that just slipped out, I’m just kidding… sheesh!)

I’ve also discovered I like to be…. ummm…. uhhhh… hmmmm…. how do I say this without sounding like a pompous ass?

I kind of like to be the center of attention. I don’t mean in a “Donald Trump, Birther Movement” kind of way, more of a “dude, you were overlooked again for People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive” kind of way.

(sorry, that just slipped out again… I’m just kidding, sheesh!)

But seriously, I like to put myself out there a little bit. I’ve discovered I kind of like standing in front of a (smallish) group of people and speaking. I like when people listen to and like my songs and I enjoy singing around a campfire. I like when people think of me as someone who is accomplished or capable. I like being in the public eye and have even done a little bit of modeling before (no, we will not be providing pictures). I’m frankly a little narcissistic that way and it’s perhaps all part of my (somewhat jokingly) ongoing quest to be famous!

I have to balance that with my other need to be a quirky, long-bearded, homesteader, recluse. It’s kind of a weird tight-rope, balancing act of extroversion and introversion.

Alright, alright… twist my arm… maybe just one picture… from a test shoot…  just because it’s cool.

… and totally handsome!

I think I’m going use this for my album cover!

“Steve, your need to be the center of attention is showing.”

(yeah… whatever… I know… sheesh!)

Anyhow, all this, and just the simple fact of having kids, means I (and my wife) get asked to do a lot of stuff… volunteer for this, help with that, lead this group, be on this committee.

“Hey, that’s cool, my plate’s not too full, sure I can help.”

My wife and I also have this problem of saying “NO”.

Now I’ve put myself into a sales job. Not just any sales job, a self-employed, completely independent, 100% commission, it’s all you dude, sales job. What, you ask? A shy, introverted guy goes into a sales job? Yes, I am calling and e-mailing and walking in on customers that sometimes are busy or don’t want to see me.  Not a big deal really, most people are very nice and pleasant, at least in my industry. But it doesn’t come easy for me, I’ve still had to step out of my comfort zone a bit and psych myself up to make things happen. But sitting in front of a customer giving a presentation… love it! And, I’ll tell you what, when you land that fish… god damn it feels good!

So here I am… a shy, introverted guy who has become a Reluctant Extrovert.

Some people would say “that’s good Steve, pushing yourself.”

They’re right, it is probably a good thing and it sets a good example for my kids, but there’s a level of stress that’s always present that an outwardly extroverted person may not feel.

The batteries get drained and need to be recharged.

This is something I haven’t really figured out yet, how to recharge. I don’t mean have a drink or take a nap or a day off from work or even an extended vacation. I mean completely recharge mentally or spiritually or whatever terminology you want to use to describe it.

As a younger person I could just shut myself off for a little while. As an adult that doesn’t seem to be as realistic. The rest of the world doesn’t shut off, my wife and my kids lives don’t shut off, everything around me just keeps rolling along like a toy train that goes round and round it’s tracks through a diorama of mountains and trees and buildings. I can’t just flip the switch and turn the train off.

I just need to find the station that allows you to get on and off the train once in a while.

So, answer the question above, are you an Extrovert or an Introvert? And what do you do to recharge your batteries?

11 Comments

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11 responses to “A Reluctant Extrovert

  1. Good Gravy! You are me…or wait…I’m like you…or something. I’ve honestly debated how much I’m extrovert versus introvert before. As much as I am not afraid of telling jokes to a crowd or leading a group, singing karaoke, whatever I also need time to decompress. Like sitting alone with a bowl of popcorn and watching Swamp People instead of going out.

  2. Cheryl

    I’m an introvert. I like to be in the background, quietly going about my business. I like my own company and, unlike a lot of people, I don’t equate being alone with being lonely. I’m not afraid to speak in front of a crowd or be the centre of attention. I just prefer not to be.

  3. Cheryl

    By the way… LOVE the picture. :)

  4. I think many people think of themselves that way because we all have that part that wants to be alone or quiet. I saw a box the other day on pinterest and it sums me up perfectly. It was to be mounted on the wall and it said “Emergency Tiar” I am a Loner Extrovert. I prefer my own company than the company of many but I want to star in The Edmonton Tourist Show All day Everyday. Dude… you rock the Reluctant Extrovert persona :)

  5. Oh, you’ve got to read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. Amazing book.

  6. Great picture…And I hear ya, on every level, it’s funny how we are all really the same as one another isn’t it? I have never really considered myself shy, and if I am comfortable and safe, I am definitely and extrovert. Otherwise I tend to hold back and watch what is going on instead of being totally involved, and I definitely prefer to be at home in my own little world :)

    • I think what is interesting, I have certain ideas about people in our blogging community whether I think they’d be introverted or extroverted based on what they write, how they comment, even though I’ve never met any of these people in person. In some cases I’m probably accurate, in others probably way off!

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