What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “sorority girl?” The stereotype, of course. Outspoken, peppy and always available for a carefree laugh with her sisters, the sorority girl is known for being able to carry a conversation in almost any crowd. After all, formal recruitment is days and days of nonstop talking and chanting before launching into mixer season.
So what is it like to be Greek but not naturally extroverted?
For people who are introverted, the most important difference in their Greek experience lies in their reactions, explained Kate Moody, an SMU alumnae.
“For me being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy or socially awkward, it’s more about the fact that when I’m stressed out or tired my tendency is to want to be alone, rather than in a group setting,” Moody said. “Given that, the hardest challenge for me has been learning first how to recognize when I need time alone and then learning how to communicate that to my sisters without offending them.”
The stereotypical sorority girl rants, cries and discusses her problems until she regains her calm. But if you’re not someone who wears her heart on her sleeve, that probably would make you feel worse, no matter how much you appreciate always having a sister to talk to. Alumnae Caroline Moss felt similarly.
“The biggest challenge is being around so many people all the time. Sometimes it’s hard because I feel like my sisters think I’m not happy… but I just enjoy keeping to myself sometimes,” Moss said.
Image via SMU Panhellenic
How does being a part of the Greek community benefit introverts?
Just like everyone else, being a part of a Greek organization challenges you to grow in ways that not only benefit yourself, but also the people you represent. For example, having the experience of needing to come out of your shell and connect with another person quickly (aka everyday of formal recruitment) is a pretty unique form of interview and networking prep.
“Being Greek has changed my social tendencies,” Moody said. “I’ve learned how to lean on others more than before… I also generally feel being involved in Greek life has made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.”
And in turn, being an introvert has its own benefits.
Being more reserved allows for more self-relfection. There is an inherent awareness that more social people tend to lose in the busy excitement of trying to connect with sisters. Moss explained that her reticent nature helps her maintain her individuality.
“I think being introverted has made me a well balanced Greek… Being in a sorority has definitely helped me to be more outgoing, but my introverted personality also helped me to remain true to myself,” Moss said.
So what advice could be given to a newly involved introvert?
“Try to be involved and get to know your sisters. It’s easy to just stay in the introvert bubble, but try to get out of your comfort zone and get to know your pledge class,” said Moss.
Moody agrees, and emphasizes the importance of intentionally seeking out a connection with your community.
“Challenge yourself to be vulnerable and learn how to seek out your sisters for support,” she said. “Even if it feels more restful to go off on your own for a while, challenge yourself to go out or hang out with your sisters, the benefits are well worth it… Sororities are ultimately about sisterhood and surrounding yourself with people who love you and lift you up. That won’t happen if you don’t give them the opportunity to do so.”
It is incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the complex social life that comes with joining a sorority. It is, however, equally as important to remember that you’re no less likely to have a positive experience because you may be more shy or quieter than the other girls you ran home with on bid day. Keep being yourself no matter what.