Confessions of an Ambivert

ambivert

noun:am·bi·vert \ˈam-bi-ˌvərt\
:  a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert
– Merriam- Webster
     I’ve always considered myself an extroverted person in elementary school- I loved talking to people, and making new friends was never really a problem for me. I could talk anyone’s ear off with constant questions of curiosity and statements of knowledge. However, once I started middle school up until my sophomore year of college, I became more introverted. Kids at school used to make many side jokes about me and I felt very isolated. I had friends who I talked to pretty often, but I was closer to those friends than they were to me. These friends of mine also made jokes about me as well, which made me question my self worth. I felt more and more like an outcast as each year passed, and I slowly began to force myself back into my shell. I didn’t like to put myself out there and speak up, I didn’t approach people first because of my fear of rejection, and I even dressed in black clothes a majority of the time because it was easier to blend in with the crowd without people noticing me. I lacked creativity, individuality, and my confidence in myself and it decreased as the time passed. I felt like everyone I interacted with thought I was weird, unattractive, annoying, etc. In addition to all of these personal problems, I also grew up in a very strict household. I didn’t date, I never went to the parties that my friends went to, and I barely went outside because my mother never really let me. With that being said, even if I was more extroverted, I never was afforded the opportunity to interact with others in general.
     Once I began my junior year at my university, I became more extroverted, however some remnants of my introverted self were still prevalent in my personality. My fall semester of my junior year I took a speech class which was required for all communications minor like myself. I was always good at public speaking, and I could without really getting nervous, but I never spoke up because as I previously stated- I worried about my ideas being rejected or people finding me weird. I ended up getting an A in that class, and after every speech I presented I got so many good comments from my classmates, which boosted my confidence tremendously. This class forcing me to get up and speak in public helped me not only realize how good I am at speaking, but also made me realize that everything is not as serious as I make it. And even if not everybody agrees with what I have to say, there’s probably one person out there who does.
     In addition to my nervousness slowly being eliminated, I also had a good idea of who my friends really were. I did a lot of things on campus, including joining many clubs. Joining clubs forced me to introduce myself  to others as well as learn how to act in social settings. As I grew older, my mother also let my sisters and I have way more freedom than we had before. I guess once she realized I went to school hours away and lived without her for months at a time and still managed to maintain decent grades, she became more relaxed. Junior year also helped me further realize my talents as well as my passions. One club that I joined in September even had a blog run by the organization leaders, and I wrote two pieces that many people found to be very well-written as well as informative. I saw a huge increase in my grades- going from a 1.2 my spring semester of freshman year to a 3.43 this past fall semester and a 3.3 this past spring semester. I catch myself saying hi to so many people on campus, I actually go out to campus events and parties, and my current wardrobe has brighter color schemes than it had before (no more “Grim Reaper”, as one specific friend called me).
     I, Shalayna Burns, am an ambivert. Though I do enjoy parties sometimes, I do experience social exhaustion after a while and just wish I was home in my bed watching TV. I can engage in small talk and keep a person interested with conversation, but I still wish it was over sometimes mid-conversation. Some friends do consider me a lively, excited and hyper person; while others do consider me a more reserved and quiet person. I have issues asserting authority in some situations, while also playing the leader role in others. When all is said and done, regardless of whether I am an extrovert, introvert or ambivert, I am progressing. After all, I get the best of both worlds.
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