An Open Letter to the Extroverted Girl

You can get a sense of her personality as soon as she walks through the door. She’s the girl at the party that keeps every conversation entertaining with jokes and casual banter. She has an easy-going attitude and is a friendship-making machine. In class, she’s answering your professor’s questions and is a rock star at presentations. She’s always smiling, always laughing, and getting others to smile and laugh alongside her. It seems every day is a good day to the extroverted girl, right? Wrong. 

I’m not saying I’m exactly this girl, but I am an extrovert. In elementary school, my teachers always picked me out as “the talkative one,” and I was given detention slips for my rambling mouth more times than I’d care to admit. High school was busy to say the least, consisting of lots of clubs, lots of social events and lots of friends. While some may have preferred a more relaxed high school experience, I lived for the jam-packed schedule. To some extent, I still do. 

Courtesy: Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Starting college, I was hit with a sharp change: everyone seemed to be on their own pace, doing their own thing by themselves, and “no new friends” seemed to be the standard. While this posed a bit of a challenge in the friend-making department, I kept being my extroverted self and eventually made new friends by getting super involved on campus. Before I realized it, my schedule was filled to the brim again with every hour planned out and prepared. 

It was all going great until Ms. Social Burnout showed up. I started to feel like I was running a mile a minute and didn’t even have time to eat a good meal or get decent sleep. I was consumed with making other people happy and getting people to like me that it consumed my thoughts and changed how I behaved. Being an extrovert started to feel more like a burden than a blessing and, in the midst of all the hustle, I forgot that this was actually my life to live and not the life of the calendar in my phone. 

I needed a break but, as life would have it, what I got was a breakdown. While it was less pleasant than a weekend getaway, it proved to be the reality check I needed. During this time, I realized that it’s not realistic to try to be happy and outgoing 24/7. It’s nearly habitual for the extroverted girl to put on her positive pants and try to please those around her, but that’s not always the reality. Somedays you’ll want to take a step back from everything happening around you and enjoy a moment alone to just breathe. To quote the famous meme, “you don’t need to be good all the time, it’s okay to not be good.”

Social situations are both heaven and hell to an extrovert. If you’re anything like me, you love being where the action is, but you find yourself analyzing —and maybe overanalyzing —everything that is going on. Before you realize it, that party you’re at becomes one giant chess game. You’re playing with kings and queens that you’re hoping will like you and you’re seeking backup and validation from the other knights and bishops on your side.  

Here’s the thing: if you play life like it’s a strategy game you’re going to lose every time. Despite our best efforts, what happens is not always in our control, especially when it comes to how people feel about us. There will be many people who like you and believe that you’re the bee’s knees, but there will also be a handful that won’t. And that is okay. If you haven’t heard it yet today: you are enough as you are, and you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone to get approval.  

Courtesy: Allie Smith on Unsplash

At the end of the day, the truth is we love being extroverts. It’s in our DNA. It drives us; it moves us; it challenges us. But it doesn’t entirely define us. So, when you’re sitting down filling in your schedule, remember to pencil in some time for yourself, too. The world can wait. 

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