I grew up surrounded by 3 other siblings, which did not strike me as unusual until I got a little older and realized most people only have 1 or 2 brothers and sisters! In our group of four, I was almost always the most outgoing, and I learned quickly how to make friends when we moved around every few years. Living overseas taught me even more how to relate with other people whose background was completely different.
As an adult I drew back a little, which most of us tend to do over time. The days feel longer and my tiredness is more acute now than when I was a child. While I still love to be around big groups and thrive on meeting new people, I am not quite as fearless and bold as when I was younger. Between Nathan and me, however, I will always be the most outgoing person in our relationship, and without my forwardness, we would spend much more time at home and much less time with other people!
The Honest Truth, though, is that in recent years it has become easy for me to slip in, slip out, and not put forth the effort to meet someone new. I didn't understand what was wrong with me when I became completely fine with spending Friday nights at home, reading The Economist in sweatpants and fuzzy socks. I'm an extrovert, and I love people! I often thought, so why do I want to spend time alone every once in awhile?
That's when my friend Caitlin told me about a new category: ambiverts. This simply means that I fluctuate between wanting to be around people constantly and desiring time by myself. I gain energy in a crowd and thrive in new situations, but I am content when I have a few free nights in a row. (read this article if you want to find out more!) There are days when I go to church and literally find one person that I will befriend before we leave! On other days, I am satisfied with sitting near the back, holding hands with Nathan, and simply smiling and waving as we walk to the parking lot.
Neither situation is right or wrong, but what I never want to do is choose the path of 'least resistance' that involves no fear or risk. In October we left our church, and by January we had joined a new one, and by week two I realized that if I wanted the community we so badly desired, I would have to throw out any reclusive tendencies and go all in. Each week, whether I feel like it or not, I meet one new person and have a real conversation with them. I am volunteering with the middle school group. I have signed us up for every possible opportunity, from landscaping to an adoption conference to a refugee-style dinner.
The Honest Truth is that, deep down, I am an extrovert through and through. I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with being an introvert, but I've realized that my introvert tendencies stem from fear and not wanting to go 'all in.' I wrote a blog recently about fighting through unselfishness, and I am learning to do that every week when I step into our church service (at Peninsula Community Chapel, which we LOVE). For me, fighting unselfishness right now means stepping out of my fear into friendships and community - whether I 'feel like it' or not on any given day :)
Tell me: are you an extrovert, introvert, ambivert...or still figuring it out? I want to know!
Read more from the series
The Honest Truth About…Adoption
The Honest Truth About…Creative Entrepreneurs
The Honest Truth About…Instagram
The Honest Truth About...Marriage
The Honest Truth About...My Travels