BY JESSICA JASPERSON
We’ve all seen the listicles on Buzzfeed trying to sum up the life of an introvert or extrovert.
Whether it’s parties – “76 Thoughts All Introverts Have At Parties,” or interests – “20 Things Extroverts Love,” the Internet is working hard at defining us. I aim to go a little deeper and inform you that individuals do not choose to be an introvert, extrovert or a mixture. We are born this way.
All my life people labeled me as shy until I began to wonder if a negative characteristic plagued me with the inability to socialize correctly. I envied my friends who said whatever they wanted or hung out with large groups of people. I longed to be able to meet strangers and instantly begin a conversation with them. No matter how hard I tried, I could never “break out of my shell.”
Well, just a couple of years ago I learned I cannot “break out of my shell” because no shell exists.
Three types of temperaments exist in children: flexible, slow-to-warm-up and feisty. Depending on which temperament you’re born with, you will most likely have the same temperament when you grow into an adult.
Flexible children are approachable, generally positive and adapt to new situations quickly. On the other hand, feisty children typically fuss at anything new and usually adapt slowly. This type of child expresses a disagreeable mood and, if frustrated, may even have a temper tantrum.
Slow-to-warm-up children can be seen as the child who grasps onto his or her parent at a peer’s birthday party. However, if he or she is allowed to be accustomed to the new surroundings at his or her own pace, this child can gradually become an active and happy participant of the group.
Sixty-five percent of human beings are one of the three kinds and the remaining 35 percent are a mixture.Therefore, not every person can be easily defined as an introvert or an extrovert.
After watching a VHS, yes a VHS, from my kindergarten graduation I quickly learned I was a slow-to-warm-up child, and I remain a slow-to-warm-up adult. Just because I am often quiet when first meeting a person or because I don’t speak up in a classroom setting, peers and professors think I have nothing to say.
So, throughout my 23 years of life, people called me “quiet,” “shy,” “reserved” and other variants.
In fact, when one of my professors found out I was hired as the opinion editor last spring, she commented on how she didn’t know I had an opinion because I rarely spoke in class.
Yes, I am quiet, reserved and shy, but only for a short time. I think before I speak, sometimes repeating the question or idea over and over in my head. I am not quick to raise my hand in class. However, once I am comfortable in a situation or am able to speak about a passion of mine, no one can stop me from talking.
A person’s temperament may seem debilitating at times, but I bet each person can find a number a positives about his or her characteristics.
For example, my temperament shapes my ability to be comfortable alone.
I often take advantage of the quiet times that allow me to write and explore my mind further about current events, personal experiences and relationships with others.
I probably would not be a storyteller in pursuit of freelance writing and journalism as a profession if I did not grow into a slow-to-warm-up adult.
No matter how others perceive your boisterous, reserved or varied personality, use what you were born with. Don’t let anyone’s opinions of you stop your dreams.