I’ve been reading a book called Quiet about the introverted/extroverted personality types. My ex girlfriend had recently read it and described it to me, and the topic interested me. Anybody who gets to know me intimately knows I’m an introvert, but it’s not always obvious to everybody. I’m certainly not the “Hi how ya doin lemme kiss your baby” type of extrovert, but I try to not be too soft spoken at work. Maybe it’s more obvious than I think. When I told my ex girlfriend that I was an introvert, her response was “Duh!”.
What’s most interesting though, is that I’m getting a better handle on exactly what kind of introvert I am. It’s not all good news. The most recent chapter revealed to me that I’m the kind of introvert who adjusts to social situations based on cues. I get my ideas about how to behave and interact with others based on cues I receive from them. In other words, I’m a different person to each person I interact with. Kind of like that salt monster from the early Star Trek episode. Put me in a room with too many people and I don’t know who the fuck to be. This is one of the reasons I have this blog and my twitter account, it’s about the only time I really get to be the real me, however pathetic that might be.
I found myself in orchestra rehearsal the other night being the extrovert. Socializing with this person, then with that person. To be honest, I hate socializing. I’m not half bad at it when I have to be though. I can be quite animated and entertaining when the situation calls for it.
I have to wonder if this is a factor in my string of failed relationships. It’s certainly something to bring up with the therapist. This personality type can be viewed by others as deceptive and deceitful. I really don’t see myself that way, but I have to wonder if that’s how my personality type comes off. It’s really more about trying to fit in and not do social faux pas. A basic fear of rejection. An extreme fear of rejection. And I take it hard when I am rejected, like my recent break up. This could be a factor in why I stayed in a marriage that was obviously broken for almost the entire duration for far longer than I should have. Long enough to have two kids, and for those kids to grow up to be big enough to be damaged by the ensuing brutal divorce.
I’ve noticed a trend recently: people don’t seek me out. Let me try to explain that more. If I don’t try to start some kind of interaction with my friends, the interaction tends to not happen. It reminds me a little of the game The Sims. In the game, if you don’t constantly call up your friends, the relationship atrophies and they stop being your friend. However, in the game if you don’t call your friends for a while, they’ll call you and say “what the fuck, dude?” In real life that second part doesn’t seem to happen with me. The relationship still atrophies, but it seems like if I’m the only one interested in preventing that. If I don’t call for a while, nobody calls me.
This worries me a little. Is there something in my personality that repulses people? Is it this quirk of adjusting my personality to each person? Does this drive people off? Am I really that guy? The guy nobody really wants to hang out with but is willing to put up with so that they don’t come off as a jerk? Introspection never goes well for me. I keep coming up with this kind of crap.
I would really like to know, though, why this seems to be the case. There seems to be some basic flaw in my personality that makes people like me ok but not really want to be around me more than they have to. I don’t know what it is yet, or how to fix it. I need to fix it though, or I’ll never have a successful relationship. I don’t count my ex as a successful relationship. She was wasn’t in it for any kind of interest in me, she was in it because she could live off of me without having to have a life of her own. She still does. Thank you, state of Kansas.
Anyway, no great revelations in this post, just questions that I don’t have answers for yet. Maybe I’ll have some in the weeks to come.