5:45 AM

Camp was weather-beat buildings clustered across scrubby grass. It looked like Texas with trees -- dry, gravely and barefoot-lovin'. There were cars and no people when the Explorer rolled to a stop. I saw a volleyball net, sand, a plywood pyramid. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

There's an easy way to tell if a trek to a new place is going to be normal or nerve-wracking: if you pay anything. You pay to get into concerts and basketball games, and everybody knows that concerts happen in auditoriums (find the ushers) and basketball games in gyms (follow the squeaky shoe sound). Those sorts of events are simple: nobody's looking for you; you pay, come, enjoy, go and don't have to expect or be expected by anyone. You don't pay to participate in piano recitals or recite speeches, and MCs and program coordinators aren't as obvious as popcorn stands and ticket booths. You don't know where to go, since you're no longer in the audience; you don't know who to find; and you don't know what to do. That's why it pays to pay.

The same with counseling at a brand-new camp. All the buildings are separate and none say, "New counselors -- this way!" There are no ticket booths and certainly no popcorn. I wondered how many buildings I'd have to peep into before I ran into another human being.

She ran into me first -- actually, she didn't run at all; she walked off the gravel path as I unloaded my pillow and  duffle bag with the casino logo. Her name was Chloe. She wore a tank top, flip flops and a normal smile. Her hair was pulled straight back. She was short. I liked her. I didn't know who she was, besides Chloe, or how old, but she knew what I was and where I supposed to go. She tried her best to small talk with me, hater of small talk, failure of small talk, but she gave up when I defaulted to nervous laughter. I watched other people be social in the air conditioned cafeteria. It was cold.

I possess the skill of standing by stupidly. I'm also fond of sitting by stupidly. I did that when the tall, cool counselors sat around my table and talked and laughed and gave up trying to include me. People have the absurd notion that I want to talk and laugh with them when really I am quite entertained watching them do it for me. To be civil, I offered a few words sprinkled liberally with awkward silences. Only appropriate.

You get the gist of me in new situations. I like my own company in a circle of strangers. I get along just fine undisturbed. I'd rather not tell you what sort of doughnut I'd be if I were a doughnut, which I'm not. Really.

So I don't know where this other me hails from, the one who hugs and squeals and small talks about Sun Drop and dark chocolate. She jumps around from one friend to the other, checks up on the shy girl, shoos people to the front of lines, teases the quiet, guilts the reluctant, asks stupid questions about what sort of doughnut they'd be if they were doughnuts. Life's one big party, and she's very close to the center of it.

Does that make me an introextrovert?

On the one hand, I like people, I like talking, I like fun and games. On the other, I like solitude, I like listening, I like slow and boring things. I get along well with the outgoing (in fact, I shock people with how loud and obnoxious I am), but I don't like parties and I don't like big groups and I don't like long strings of sort-of-funny stories. I prefer one-on-one encounters, transparency and deep things -- none of this babble about favorite colors and what major I am and what my hair was like when I was two. Frivolity is meant only for close friends.

Most of all, I need space. I'm introverted like that. I need to recharge -- in my room, door shut, people gone. Ironically, I'm normally IMing or emailing or talking on the phone while me and my sanity are squirreled away. So perhaps I cannot escape my extroversion after all.

Introextrovert it is.

Your turn -- introvert, extrovert or somewhere between? 

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21 impressions

  1. Wow, definitely intro-extrovert. I have trouble describing myself, but this is a perfect description, to the T. I may get a T-shirt and customize it with a hyperlink to this post, :)

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  3. Extrovert...except when I'm not.

  4. I am totally, completely an introvert. That's it. No gray areas or interesting made up words. Boring really. That's probably why you are a blogger and I am a commenter. ;-)


  5. You hailed me recluse last night, so I'm an introvert. But then, you're always teasing me when I'm hyper (those very rare times) so I'm an extrovert.

    But since I actually had to look up introvert and extrovert (to figure out which was which) I suppose that makes me bad at spelling - which also defines a person.

  6. Besides you being an introextrovert, sometimes you're creepily Grumpy. And then at other times, your scarily bungee jumping from the ceiling. I think undefined is also an acceptable definition. ;)

    And those pictures at the beginning of the post made me laugh. ;D Someone is going to miss you when you go off to college...

  7. Ah me! I struggle with the dreaded introvert inside me. I hate to be antisocial but who wants to join a large group and giggle nervously when I could comfortably entertain myself with a jJonathan Edward's sermon, an apple and a walk outside, or coffee with a few close comrades conquering world problems? On the other hand, I'm realizing that God calls us out of our comfort zones into the presence of others... A proper balance is what this introvert needs!

  8. Introextrovert all the way! :D

    Sorry I haven't commented lately - that doesn't mean I haven't been avidly reading your blog. The posts lately have been awesome ... I particularly liked the modesty post. Keep up the good work!


  9. Hahah! This is sounds right about like me. Introextrovert. I'd like to say I'm mostly an extrovert, but when I begin to think how I am other times? Yeah. This picture pretty much sums it up:

  10. Undefined. Ooo, creepy. Me like. Thanks, Bethany.

    Frannie, you make introversion look really, really good.

    Allison! Ironically, I was just thinking about you and wondering where you'd been! Hugs, my fellow introextrovert!

    Alexxus -- *chokes on imaginary drink* Silly girl. I think I like you a lot. ;)

  11. I am most definitely an introvert. :) I feel incredibly awkward around large crowds and people I don't know well. It makes me notice my differences much more than I usually do, and in a way that makes them seem worse than they generally seem.

    I'm not good at small talk, but I can talk to people I don't know very well if they bring up something I'm really interested in (sewing, classic movies, etc.). But after spending too much time with other people, I want nothing more than to be alone for a while. :) I think sometimes I must seem really antisocial compared to other people my age.


  12. Bailey - Did that imaginary drink happen to be Sun Drop? ;]

  13. Introextrovert, I think. Around people I don't know very well, I'm very quiet and shy. However, when I'm around people I'm comfortable with, it's a different story. Then, I don't know how to shut up.

    I hate most the moments when I'm just starting to get comfortable with people and I start talking what feels like ninety miles an hour and then I wonder, "Wait a minute, am I starting to get on their nerves?" More than one embarrassing moment there...

    So, yeah. I like to sit and think and read by myself, but I can also chatter for ages about lollipops, nail polish, and the smell of books. (Those cheap paperback classics that you find in Goodwill smell like pancake batter. I'm totally serious.)

  14. Alexxus || Sun Drop? No. NO. Pure ickiness. It'd probably be milk.....or vanilla Coke.

    Melody || You are completely to blame if I go running into Goodwill just to sniff at its shelves of paperbacks.

  15. Miss Bailey,

    Introversion and extroversion are concepts that reguard what motivates a person. Social awkwardness does not indicate introversion. In fact, acute awareness of social awkwardness is an indication of extroversion as it indicates a concern for other people's perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Other people's perceptions, thoughts, and feelings do not motivate the introvert; thus the introvert is not motivated to act in accordance with other people's anticipations.

    Introverts tend to spend a great amount of time alone, not because they feel socially awkward or clumsy, but because social acceptance is not a driving motivation for them. Most introverts are exceptionally skilled in communication and social interaction, because they act in their own interest and not in the interest of social acceptance.

    Your choice not to openly engage immediately upon entering an unfamiliar social environment and your abilities to communicate and interact, once acclimated, indicate a certain amount of introversion. Your introspective thoughts and reasoning also indicate such.

    I would say you are an introvert. Your motivations for interaction with other people are not driven by a need to be accepted socially, but a need for the people you care about to understand that you do care about them. And you care about most people who fall into you normal social environment. You make a priority of causing those people in your normal social environment to feel safe and cared for.

    Most commenters are extroverts, like myself, seeking social acceptance whenever possible at whatever cost.

  16. You should check out this website, Bailey: Turns out that most people are partly extroverted and partly introverted - it just shows in different ways. :D

    For example, this page is me:
    I didn't actually pay to take the quiz, but most people can figure out which personality they are by reading the descriptions.

  17. Tragedy101 -- After considering what you wrote, I think it's true that I'm more introverted than I thought, but if you were to meet me in person, you'd definitely label me an extrovert. I'm an ENFJ (, which is slightly expressed extroversion. Normally I'm crazy and gregarious -- I'd rather work with people and be with people, just not usually in overwhelming groups -- but it depends on my mood of the minute.

    Oh! People! There's a real word for introextroverts: ambiverts. Seriously. Wikipedia says so.

  18. Mischievous laughter at the mental image of Bailey dashing into Goodwill to sniff ragged paperback copies of Great Expectations from the 1970s...

    You should have checked Wikipedia before, didn't you know? As a sheltered miss who is only now searching items on the Internet at almost seventeen, Wikipedia has been the source I go to for almost everything. I'm also kind of weird. I enjoy clicking from article to article, reading about random things and people. I have (unfortunately) wasted many a minute (or hour) there. Maybe I'll be on Jeopardy some day and it'll all pay off. :)

  19. I find this funny. I'm the exact opposite of you.
    ExtroIntrovert. I do have my moments where I'd like to just listen in to others and let them do the talking, but I prefer (only in a small group, but it's okay if it's strangers) to be a part of the conversation.

  20. Bailey - AMBIVERT? Love it. But, your word is better. XD

  21. Hmmm...I would have to say that I have my moments. If I am comfortable around the persons whom I meet for the first time, then I am liable to hit it off with them instantly meaning the sharing of jokes, talking about my hair when I was two and the likes. In Jamaica, we would say "Mi spirit tek them" meaning that there is a gut feeling that says the person (s) can be trusted. On the other hand, there are days (many) where I like to be alone in the crowd or being by myself without interruptions. Times when conversations seem to be superficial to even engage; I value deepness sometimes :) So I wonder if I am too an introextrovert?


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