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CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF BEING AN INTROVERT AND EXTROVERT

How to meet halfway.

As a child, I was extremely shy. I liked everything a “typical” introvert liked: reading, playing individual sports, spending time in my room alone and observing everything around me quietly. As I grew older, I became more extroverted and started playing team sports and competing against the boys in my class to show girls could be just as strong.

A Myers-Briggs test in high school had me questioning whether I was more of an introvert or an extrovert and I couldn’t quite pick one or the other. The only real introvert trait I could pinpoint at the time was my need to spend time alone at the end of the day. I decided I was somewhere in the middle but heavily skewed towards extroversion. Through increased awareness of what it means to be an introvert versus extrovert and through much self-reflection over the past year, I have come to realize that my scale has tipped back towards introversion. And I am struggling to balance both.

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Being in the middle feels a little like having two personalities. I jampack my evenings and weekends with social activities and then panic due to the lack of “me” time. I am happy to see friends at parties but by 10pm I yearn to go home, put on pajamas and watch something on TV. But that dual personality becomes even more of a challenge when it comes to networking.

I have a YouTube channel that focuses on food and travel. I absolutely love being on camera. My dream job would be to become a food and travel host. However, to achieve that kind of goal you have to put yourself out there and make contacts in the entertainment industry. And my introverted side is holding me back. The introvert in me does not want to go to networking events because it feels forced and I would never want people to think I have an ulterior motive when I talk to them. But the extrovert in me knows that it is all part of the game and that building connections will help me get ahead in life.

Personality tests may be fun to take but as human beings, we do not belong to one extreme. We all fall down somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, though some of us might skew towards one end rather than the other. The needle fluctuates based on external circumstances that affect our mood. I have learned to accept that and to push myself only when I believe I am not realizing my full potential. Sometimes my gut tells me I would be so much happier staying home and so I do. Sometimes I quiet the voice in the back of my head holding me back and push myself outside my comfort zone. Regardless of the outcome, I want to come out proud of myself for at least trying. As we say in French: “Qui ne tente rien n’a rien,” meaning if you don’t try, you’ll never achieve what you want.

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