What Is Normal?

I am an introvert, but I believe myself to be a somewhat narcissistic one.

I believe most people aren't deserving of my time, and I pick my friends- I've always found it exhausting to entertain people who have different interests than I (I don't give them a chance to know me, or I, them), and have always been misunderstood by loud extroverts as "shy" or "timid"... to my disgust.

Unlike what most introverts say, or are believed to be, I don't mind speaking to new people and getting to know them, but I dislike being thrown into a roomful of them (isn't this normal? would extroverts feel at ease in this situation?), I don't monitor what I say in case I say something stupid- this only happens when I speak to someone I truly like (this happens to most normal people too, I believe) I just find it draining to be around people when I'm uninterested in their conversations, and I find it extremely rude of people to not make newcomer(s) feel at ease when in a group-chat. I try my best to do unto others what I want to be done unto me- and I always make it a point to fill in a new individual of my group so they won't have to nod and laugh along to something they never got the chance to understand.

What makes me an introvert then?

I like my alone times. I'd choose to engage in solitary activities rather than have fun at a party. When I do feel lonely, I ask a maximum of 4 or 5 friends over and that's it. I'd feel drained otherwise, and I think it's because of the mask introverts are forced to wear-  the "Hey I'm an extrovert, I'm always having a good time and will be fun to be with!" But truth grinded down to the smallest grain of truth, I'm fun to be with when there aren't too many people around, and very few people stick around enough to know how fun I can be.

But lately, a friend spoke up and suggested that I may have social anxiety.

Is it possible, or 'normal' to not be anxious in a room ful of strangers? If I do not physicall run away from such situations, am I still socially anxious? If I can manage to do what I do best in front of an audience, am I socially anxious?

I thought to myself "No, he's got it wrong. I'm fine with people, it's normal to not feel at ease when I meet new people".

But that got me thinking. I remembered my first day of work, when my workmate looked me in the eye and said "You're not very open, are you?" Now, here's the narcissistic introvert part- I think she's outright dumb for expecting me to be an open book on my very first day of work. From then on, I had a hard time changing the mindsets of my workmates about me being a stick-in-the-mud. And I started wondering if there's something wrong with ME or THEM.

I've always thought of myself as a pretty okay person. I think I look alright, I don't have any obvious appearance deficits, I always make up with people I didn't get along with, I know I don't have BO and I brush, floss and use the mouthwash frequently. I'm a hard worker, a responsible daughter, friend and sister. I'm the clown in my group of friends, and I've had friends come running to me for relationship advice.

So here's the funny bit.

I don't have much experience with relationships, but my girlfriends don't believe me. I'd always been the one to express interest in a guy, never the other way round. Men would crowd around the extroverted girls, and nobody would bother getting to know me because quiet girl = shy = no fun. Yes, I admit that I am jealous of the extroverts. And it's pointless trying to make any guy interested in me- I've tried. I've tried to be a bit more fun, more talkative, a bit more open and everyone would have a great time but I'd feel drained, and I'd feel as if I betrayed myself. I know I can be fun too, without trying so hard, but they'd have to want to stick around long enough for me to bring that part out.

The real me would just like to talk about sunsets and clouds and grains of sand.

At the risk of sounding extremely narcissitic, I like myself, I think I'm great to be around with, so why can't other guys see that too? Am I just stuck in the wrong crowd? Do I just coincidentally meet people who try to crush my self-esteem? Or is something seriously wrong with me? I find it difficult to trust friends when they say "You're great just the way you are, there's nothing wrong with you!" when I beg them to be as cruelly honest as they can with me. I wish I have an enemy to tell me the truth.

And why is it alright for men to be 'strong and silent', but women with such characteristics will be labelled 'cold', 'frigid' and 'shy' or whatever nonsense..

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Feb 25, 2010