People often accuse introverts of being fake. However, I think the more accurate explanation is that we have a public self and a private self. What others get to see depends on the situation and the level of trust we have with them. It isn’t that we’re being fake, we just don’t reveal 100% of our personality at all times. Introverts need to have a meaningful connection with others before we feel its worth sharing more of ourselves. One of my favourite quotes on the topic is this:
The funny thing about introverts is once they feel comfortable with you, they can be the funniest, most enjoyable people to be around. it’s like a secret they feel comfortable sharing with you. Except the secret is their personality.
Public me can be broken down into different categories depending on the situation.
I’m reserved and quiet. I’ll observe carefully before making a comment and I pay close attention to the actions and reactions of others. While I’ll engage in limited small talk, I prefer to power through my tasks with as few distractions as possible.
Casual social events
If I know a lot of people, I’ll circulate within the group, trying to connect with everyone. If I feel comfortable, I can be quite loud and outgoing. I’m witty with a slightly sarcastic sense of humour that most people don’t expect. I’m warm and open but I don’t share the details of my private life.
If I only know a couple of people, I speak less. I’ll initiate conversation with some of the quieter ones. If that’s not an option, I’ll stand quietly with the group. I often can’t keep up with the banter and I usually don’t get the inside jokes. My energy drains quite quickly so bathroom breaks occur on a regular basis.
Shopping & errands
I’m on a mission. I take as little time as possible to dart into the store, quickly gather the items on my list, then escape with my purchases. I rarely window shop, except when forced. I make an effort to be kind to the cashiers as I know from experience the treatment they often receive.
Private me is only seen by those I trust implicitly. This is limited to my immediate family and my close friends. I can be completely unguarded and relaxed around them. I don’t have to put on a front or pretend to be a certain way. There’s no pressure to fit in, no fear of gossip. I can be quiet and sit on the couch for hours with a book, or I can talk people’s ears off over dinner. I’ll sing, tease people, and make jokes. These are the people I can cry in front of, who I share my struggles and my problems with. I feel completely at home with them. There’s no judgement, only acceptance.
On the outside, it may look like I’m pretending to be two different people, but that’s not the case. Whether you see my public or private self, it’s still me.
What are your thoughts?