If you browse the internet, you’ll find a lot said about introverts. They have their own doodles, they have entire sites dedicated to their anxieties. They like to unite, quietly, in their own homes. But what about the extroverts? Who’s talking about our anxieties and issues? I found one post a few days back that seemed to understand us but it didn’t dig very deep. It didn’t talk very much about the downside of extroversion. And if there’s one thing we extroverts like to do, it’s talk.
Because don’t believe that we’re confident and sorted just because we sometimes appear confident and sorted. We have our own kinds of anxiety. Planning a social event is a nightmare for introverts but can be equally challenging for extroverts - what if we don’t get enough people? What if the people don’t get on with each other? What if the people are not having sufficient amounts of fun? How will that reflect on us as a host? It strikes right to the people-pleasing heart of extroversion.
Take my last birthday as an example - I’d planned a low key evening at the pub with a few friends but Storm Doris struck and as the day wore on, I got more and more nervous about whether anyone would actually show. Even I got stuck on the way home from work and had to call a friend to pick my kids up. By the time I was getting ready to go to the pub, I was in a total funk and convinced no-one would come out at all. 10 minutes sitting in the pub by myself, clutching a bottle of wine and an optimistic three glasses was total agony.
In the end, it was fine. It’s always fine.
The social anxiety is real, though. Measuring social events in terms of numbers, writing them off and trying to forget about them if you perceive them to have gone badly. Deciding after each party that you’ll never do it again and then by the time the next birthday rolls around, wishing you had.
There’s the fear of social awkwardness. Of being on a journey with someone and not being able to keep the conversation going. Not cause you have a lack of conversation in you but just cause you find “comfortable silence” impossible. Sometimes I swear it’d be easier to be an introvert.
And the thing that really kills an extrovert? Thinking that you’ve hurt someone without meaning to. Jokes and banter come easily to you and so most of your relationships have a playful element to them but the day that you overstep the line with someone and they take it personally....that leads to a whole agonising wait to see if your apology’s been accepted and if it isn’t? Well, a little bit of you dies inside.
Don’t even talk about being defriended on Facebook and not knowing why. I can’t even think about it.
So, think again if you think that the loud and chatty ones have their anxieties sorted. They’re just generally good at hiding it. But extrovert anxiety is real. Why not hug the extrovert in your life today?