Firstly, apparently I look like I’m about to enter the Hunger Games in this photo and I am OK with that. Just Katniss Everdeen with blue eye makeup and glowier skin on this occasion. Thanks Siana!
Anyway, unrelated photo aside, I wanted to chat today about the reality of living a life that doesn’t quite match your personality. Specifically, a life that would suit an introvert quite well, when you’re very much an extrovert. AKA my life. Some weeks I’m crazy busy and all over the place with loads of different people, some weeks I’m just at home cracking on with stuff on my lonesome. These weeks were a novelty at first (so much time to myself!!!) but the novelty has kind of worn off now. One thing this life does give me is plenty of time to think (both a blessing and a curse, trust me) and analyse yourself, so here we are.
Being an extrovert/introvert isn’t necessarily about whether you’re outspoken and gobby or not, but where you get your energy from. Some people feel energised and motivated after being surrounded by others, and some need to recharge by themselves after being drained by social interactions. I fall in the first camp, for sure. I’m the kind of person who’s buzzing with ideas after spending time with friends, and gets a spark of inspiration from a conversation with a stranger on a train (seriously, several blog posts have been train-conversation-inspired!). Sometimes inspiration will strike at a random moment when I’m dozing at night or whatever, but it’s rare. I get my energy, ideas and motivation from people, and always have done. The E in ENFJ (my Myers Briggs personality) stands for extroverted, and the whole analysis of an ENFJ describes me to a T.
One of the ‘extrovert traits’ I identify with most is being very open and easy to get to know. What you see is what you get with me! Probably a little too open if I’m honest, but oh well. I have no qualms about telling my life story to a complete stranger if they ask, and rarely keep anything to myself. Doesn’t take very long to get to know this open book, that’s for sure.
Another typical extrovert characteristic is being easily distracted, and much as I wish I could say I’m a 100% focused person who gets on with whatever they’re supposed to be doing, I annoyingly get distracted WAY too easily. I’ve probably clicked away from this tab 10 times whilst writing this post to look at something of no relevance whatsoever. I drive myself mad, seriously. Lately I’ve started using the Forest App that Jess, one of my favourite YouTubers, recommended in an attempt to kick procrastination’s butt; you leave your phone alone and it grows a tree, pick your phone up to pointlessly browse and your tree dies. I’m currently growing lots of mini pumpkins because #autumn and that, and hoping that I’ll get out of this smartphone addicted habit I’m way too guilty of. Distractions are so much worse when on your own.
So, what happens when a person with all these traits has a life that doesn’t see them surrounded by people every day?
A whole lotta frustration, that’s what. Don’t get me wrong, I love the freedom that this life gives me, and I’m sure I’d have a different list of things to complain about if I was at uni or in an office. Plus it’s pretty damn good when it’s chucking it down and freezing cold outside and I don’t have to go anywhere. I’m independent and can crack on with work alone perfectly fine, but I do start to go a little stir crazy with too much time by myself. I need people to bounce ideas off and ask questions to, be it with uni work, blog ideas or whatever else. You don’t realise how much of a difference being surrounded by people makes, even if they’re not all your friends and some do you head in. It’s still human interaction, at the end of the day. Only when you don’t have it all the time do you really realise the value of it.
I don’t for one second regret not going away to uni, but what is difficult is having my friends spread around all over the place. It’s all well and good finding your people and having amazing friends, but it’s not quite the same when they’re not just round the corner! I’ve met some wonderful friends through blogging too, who I only wish lived nearer. Whilst I obviously don’t blog full time, in some ways my day to day setup is similar to those who do, and I’ve heard many a full time blogger say how it can be a pretty lonely job. Exciting and creative and unusual and liberating, yes, but lonely, too. There’s a definite flip side. Oh how much more difficult it is to meet people once education isn’t there to do it for you, eh? I’ve also heard lots of people talking about this feeling post uni when they return to their hometown and leave their uni friends behind, and I just feel like I have it a few years earlier.
Being an extrovert with an introvert’s life (some weeks) can be tough, basically. But rather than sit back and complain about it (much like I am now, oh the irony), I want to do something about it. Put those ENFJ characteristics to good use! So, if you’re reading this and can relate, SAY HI so we can chat/rant/put the world to rights. If you’re reading this and live nearby (I’m in Preston) and want to go for a coffee or go out or just have a work day and shout at each other for getting distracted, SAY HI. If you’re a fellow extrovert who just can’t stop talking so word vomits a quick 1000 words instead, SAY HI. I want to meet you all and promise I’m not the moody bitch I look in these photos!
lily kate x
Photos by Rob Walker Photography