So I took an Extroversion Introversion Test on Psychology Today to find out, for sure, which one I really am. I don’t know why the answer is so important to me, as I’ve never been a fan of labels. But, I realise if there was a set of things I could pin myself to, maybe it would sort certain things out for me. Though I’m skeptical about that, considering there are a few labels I’m definitely pinned to – woman, homo sapien, reasonably noble and upright citizen of planet Earth – that complicate things rather than simplify them. You can also add rambler to the list, and so, without further ado, here is my score:
According to your results you appear to be the type of person who doesn’t socialize often. You likely have a limited social network, and possibly aren’t really interested in extending it beyond a few close and intimate friendships. Having an active social life apparently isn’t the most important thing to you. Chances are that when the opportunity arises to socialize among a large group of people, you’ll likely turn it down if possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t enjoy socializing or being around people. Rather, you generally prefer spending time with smaller groups of friends. Individuals who score similarly to you typically aren’t conversation-starters, especially with people they aren’t familiar with. In addition, they aren’t known to be exceptionally outgoing, unless among close friends.
Okay, so it seems like I’ve failed. Already, introversion seems to be a failure. But, I’m only two-thirds away from being an extreme extrovert (an annoying thing to be anyway), which means I’ve got a bit of it. Now, I’m not being much of an introvert here by posting my results on social media, to be read by
thousands dozens. But, apart from the part about not being a conversation-starter, the rest of the report is pretty accurate.
Of course, you only have my word and the above report to go on. Most people in my life would disagree. I am not only a conversation-starter, I’m also a conversation-continuer and a conversation-never-ender. I have always had a desperate need to please people, an insatiable curiosity, and people, in general, give me such a buzz that I can pretty much carry out a conversation with anybody, including somebody who is being selectively mute at the moment when I’m trying to talk to them.
I’m usually spent by the end of the day, but there’s always texting. I really can’t help it. I regret a lot of what I say, not because they are embarrassing or cruel things, but because I feel the person isn’t really interested in them, not at the time at least. It does help to be genuinely curious about people, adjusting to their vibe, their interests, telling them what they want to hear. Getting them to talk, about themselves, and it all gets stored in my internal memory. People in my life are often surprised by how much I can predict their behaviour and choices. Intuition might have something to do with it, but it is largely old-fashioned hard work. They don’t give you certificates, but I like to actively take lessons in knowing people.
But, not all the time, and I guess I have to admit now, not always for the right reasons. Though it is true that people are my favourite stimuli and inspiration, I can’t put up with them all the time. If I have to calculate, the majority of my time in a day is spent not being actively interested in them. Also, and now this is going to turn a lot of you off (or on), I’m a regular flirt. As in the rather erroneous notion some people have of flirting. If smiling at people, holding their eyes intensely, saying reassuring things to them, as well as things of wit and merriment, knowing things about them, teasing them and in general, trying to make them feel good in the minutes you spend with them is flirting, then guilty as charged. Of course, it would also mean that as a heterosexual person, I also flirt with aunts and grandmothers. When people I’m not interested in romantically tell me of this, I wonder, why is it so hard for them to believe someone might genuinely enjoy their company and want nothing more? I guess being liked should be a flattering idea (though in my experience, I only like being liked by people whom I like, because I tend to attract a lot of creeps otherwise), but even the most confident people can sometimes wonder why people would want to be around them.
Because no one can accuse me of needing them. That’s when introversion, or whatever, comes in to the picture. I don’t always respond to calls. I take days to reply to texts or emails. I’ve rarely sent things I regret to people. It’s not because I’m rude or always busy, but because a lot of the time, I don’t want to be bothered. I don’t like the cavalier way in which people reply to texts, the way they talk to other people on the phone just when they’re getting off a busy train. If it’s a work call, I understand, and I do that too. If it is a personal emergency, it makes sense as well. But, for a casual chat, or even more for a heart-to-heart (a cringe-worthy expression, but bear with me), I don’t understand how you do it while obviously being stressed about something else. I’m rather old-fashioned about this, preferring to take my time with the person though it may not be as often as possible. If this is a relationship that is important, I want to be as present as possible. I don’t understand why that is becoming an increasingly hard thing to do, and people would rather connect through .GIFs instead.
The main reason I took the test, however, is because I’m starting to realise I don’t get enough of that buzz anymore. And the quality of my relationships isn’t as solid as it used to be. I can’t stand to be in most social situations, and even the ones I like, I feel an old sense of not being isolated, but unsynchronized. I try not to be dishonest with the ones that matter, so I don’t end up saying much at all.
I also find myself increasingly using the expression “going out into civilization”. I’ve always had a fantasy of living a reclusive life, not as someone who’s gone off to find their higher selves, but just as somebody who has the freedom to put on an album of their choice first thing in the morning if they want to, who’d want to wake up in the morning at all if there is pleasantness around. Who’d make things – I always have this fantasy of physically making things – and not be bound by a time-table or social acceptability. I’m doing none of that, but I’m increasingly finding myself needing to be alone. Not even thinking or writing or planning, maybe putting some cheesy pop songs on to ease the emptiness around me, but craving being alone.
I don’t want to identify as an extrovert or an introvert or an ambivert or whatever, because I don’t always like the set of connotations they bring. I also have this stubborness to not conform to anything, and so if somebody called me an introvert, I’m very likely to start dancing uninhibitedly just to prove them wrong. And I am that person (and there aren’t many out there) who prefers dancing to talking to people. They didn’t have that option in the test, but I’m guessing dancing would have given me a higher score.
People confess all the time that they are introverts (you rarely hear extroverts declaring themselves, for all the talking they do). Usually, it’s a good thing, and people accept and appreciate it. But, when I say it, most people don’t buy it. If they ask me what I’ve been up to, and I say something regular like reading or bingewatching, they incredulously ask, “by yourself?” The last time I checked the act of reading wasn’t a communal activity for most people, but for someone who likes to talk about books, it doesn’t seem like something they’d do.
Then again, I’ve spent a lifetime being misunderstood (hence you have to put up with my regular whines because, as Alan Bennett said, writing is talking to yourself.). What matters is that I understand myself better, because Amrita is part of that extremely buzzy group too – people.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?