Socially Awkward?

I was born into a large, extroverted family. I recently commented to an friend that I was the odd one out because I wasn't loud, obnoxious, and robustly jovial. Holidays with my family were trying times for me. Even when I was little I could only take so much. There are many memories of me being angry, or pouty, or throwing tantrums at family get togethers or other events with crowds. The stress of the situation brought out the worst in me. And no one bothered to find out why. As I got older I would hide away from it all, I spent a New Years Eve (my 17th birthday) under my grandma's diningroom table in the dark while the party raged on without me in the basement. I would sit in corners just trying to listen to the conversations around me. Sometimes the adults forgot I was even in the room. "Go play with your cousins" They'd say. Only my cousins didn't want anything to do with me, since they were boys.
When my mom's plans for a sweet 16 party for me fell to pieces, I actually breathed a sigh of relief. Now I'm 33, and I still have to steele myself for family gatherings, and the next day is often shot because I just want to hole up and be alone. When I was a teen, I didn't have many friends, and I'd cry thinking there was something wrong with me, I didn't fit the ideal teen girl with friends coming out her ears. What was wrong with me? My family would tell me that I needed to try harder, I needed to talk to people more. Go out and have fun. But that didn't feel right either. I had a few good friends. People I liked to talk to one on one. I told myself that a few deep friendships were better than hours of useless conversation and parties. And it took me awhile, but I was right.
I adjusted to the world around me. I could talk to groups if I needed to without breaking a sweat. I acted on stages infront of large audiences. I taught middle schoolers how to make good decisions. And when my husband met me, he never guessed that I was introverted. He and I fell into easy conversation right away. By the second date, I let my real personality show. I was goofy, I was occasionally loud, I danced down an aisle at Wal-mart, I sang Bohemian Rhapsody badly in the car. I smiled until my cheeks hurt. I told him "I am an introvert" and he laughed like I was being silly. Then we met his mother. And we went to a party. And then he understood. But he really understood. It's not a flaw, it's just me. I'm creative, and silly, and loving, and thoughtful, and people exhaust me quicker than most. I prefer a night of board games with friends at home to a loud crowded club. I need to recharge after family gatherings. And he's lovely about it. A true sympathetic extrovert - and that's just part of what I love about him.
cassia40 cassia40
31-35, F
1 Response May 7, 2012

How wonderful to have a sympathetic extroverted mate! I can relate to having an extroverted partner..I prefer smaller gatherings to parties. By the end of a big party he has has met most of the people and I have had a few deep conversations with a few lovely people. It used to bother me..now I know this is okay too. As an introvert I need to keep asking myself..what is right for me?