The Pretend Extrovert

Point number 7 in Susan Cain’s Manifesto for Introverts:

“Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There’s always time to be quiet later.”

This is followed by point number 8:

“But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.”

As someone who got pretty adept at being a pretend-extrovert, these points got me thinking about the price we have to pay for acting out of character and to what extent we do it. I suppose self-awareness is key. Knowing when to pretend and when to allow the natural self to take centre stage, and maintaining balance between them so that neither gets over saturated (I’ve yet to reach a point where I felt tired of solitude, but I guess that doesn’t mean it can’t happen).

But what if your job or lifestyle requires so much of you, that you have no choice but to become a pretend-extrovert so much that you slowly but surely lose touch with that sensitive part of yourself, and you struggle because it struggles to be heard and seen but is constantly suppressed and told that there’ll be time “later”, but “later” never comes, or comes only once in a while, and that’s not enough to recharge the self and soul?

The main source of my worry these days is because I have no wish to go back to being like that.

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