The introvert who wished to be an extravert & the extravert who wished to be an introvert

“Do you know what I’d give to be more introverted like you?”

I was leaving a recovery meeting where I’d shared about being envious of extroverts. A woman I admired was talking to me about it, and she just said that. My mouth dropped to the floor. Why would she ever want to be more introverted? Why would she ever want to be more like me?

Depression always told me that everything about my personality was wrong. Maybe you can relate.

“Life would be better if you were better,” it would whisper. “If you were outgoing instead of shy. Fun instead of serious. Extraverted instead of introverted.”

Its argument was compelling because our culture says the same thing. The best people are fun and outgoing. They prefer being surrounded by people to being alone. They’re popular and well loved.

I was none of those things. I’m a loner. I’ve always been more comfortable with books and journals than other humans. I’ve spent many an afternoon fantasizing about living in a cave in the Himalayas. Blissfully alone, freed of the expectation to be anything other than what I am.

I don’t know if it’s nature or nurture. How I would have been no matter what, or a reaction to not feeling comfortable in my skin or this world.

When most of your life has been plagued by feeling different, it’s hard to tell what’s you and what’s a coping mechanism.

She continued: “I feel like I need to be around people all the time. Life would be so much easier if I were just comfortable being alone.”

A thousand protests sprang to my lips: But people love you! You’re friends with everyone! You’re the way the world says we should be!

But I silenced the protests. She was telling her truth. I’ve vowed never to silence anyone’s truth. A positive externality, perhaps, from feeling like my truth has been silenced too many times.

“The grass is always greener, I suppose,” she concluded.

We both shrugged. The introvert who wished to be an extravert, and the extravert who wished to be an introvert.

Republished from