“How’s your meter?” What, my meter reading? Well, it’s pretty damn high thanks to this inept government. “No, your social meter, you silly soul.” Oh. Yeah. That thing.
That’s a glimpse of a conversation I have with my partner, almost daily. My social meter is slang for how I’m feeling mentally and socially. Each time, we have the same conversation and I normally give the same answer. “Pretty low to be honest, but resting this evening will help!” Why do we have this conversation so often? Well, I’m an introvert. A big introvert at that. And I’m blimmin’ proud of that fact.
If you’ve met me outside of this internet bubble, you’ll have two reactions to this snippet of information. You’ll either say “absolutely, duh”, or “what?! Absolutely not, no way. Mate, you’re an extrovert in denial.” I’ll be honest, I get the latter reaction a lot – after all, I am an international super spy when it comes to being with extroverts. At work or gatherings, I can feel myself pull on my extrovert mask as I walk in the room, providing a little shield to my introverted self. I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve never questioned why I do it! Until now…
It’s always the extroverts who do well in life, isn’t it? At least, that’s what all those life preparation classes taught me in school. That, and how to put a condom on a banana. In CV writing classes, we were taught to use buzzwords like ‘outgoing’, ‘action-oriented’, ‘sociable’ and ‘demonstrative’ to sell ourselves to universities and colleges. Let me tell you, after a day of CV writing in sixth form, there was never a moment where I felt ‘sociable’ or ‘demonstrative’. More ‘please leave me alone, I need to replenish my energy’ and ‘if you need me, I’ll be curled in a blanket.’ Then those buzzwords moved through university and got repackaged as keywords for job applications. It just seems that the world is set up to favour extroverts, that we should all strive to push down our introverted traits, or hide them behind a mask.
But actually – being an introvert is wonderful. Our traits should be taught in life prep classes too because they are just as valuable. In fact, I would go as far as to say being an introvert is its own superpower! We’re ‘self-sufficient’, ‘introspective’, ‘tolerant’, and ‘open-minded’. Yeah, how do you like those buzzwords, huh? We know the importance of resting and spending time alone – it’s how we look after our energy – and that’s vital in life. What about work-life balance? We’re cracking at that. As soon as my social meter starts reaching a breaking point, you know I speed through work so I can get home. Being an introvert has also made me the Queen of Boundary Setting. If I’m in a social situation, I’m not afraid to do the very British knee slap, stand up, “well, I’ll be off then!” I’m not putting myself through discomfort just for the sake of convention. The best bit? I know myself so well. After all, I spend all my time with her.
Being an introvert is to have a quiet, unassuming superpower. We move under the radar, making waves in our own way. I’m sure that as time goes by, with the more of us valuing our understated and more gentle traits, introversion will be just as valued as extroversion. Whether you are an introvert, an extrovert, or the rare breed of ambivert, make sure to own it! At the end of the day, introversion and extroversion is just about how you replenish your energy when you are exhausted. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Call yourself an outgoing introvert, a shy extrovert, a social butterfly, an exhausted sloth, or someone who is done with the whole personality labels thing. But whatever you are or you call yourself, own it, use it, be proud of it.
Tell me – are you an introvert or an extrovert? What is your favourite thing about it? My favourite thing about being an introvert is how at peace I can be with just myself. I mean, I’ve been home alone all evening, writing away, and it’s been bliss. Let me know about you in the comments!