Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stranger Anxiety

If you haven't taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test, you're missing out on amazing insight into yourself.  I first took the test as part of the back-to-school staff development week.  It was a new school, a new district, and a new position: elementary music.  The tester was purportedly there to teach the faculty about getting along with different personality types by understanding the differences that define them.  Her main focus was introverts vs. extroverts.  (If anyone cares, I'm INFJ, which is the rarest type; about 1% of the US population has it.)

An introvert (which I am) finds it tiring to be around people.  We "recharge" through solitary time.  I spend every day with hundreds of kids, so I don't have much of a social life.  I can't be around people all the time.  It wears me out and gives me anxiety.  I always knew this about myself, but I didn't know it was a real "thing"; I just thought I was one of those descriptors always ascribed to introverts: shy, awkward, anti-social.

The tester proceeded to teach us how to get along by dividing us into an extrovert group (about 50 people) and an introvert group (about six, including me).  We were then told to "brainstorm" with our group about ways we could "reach out" to the others and "adapt our style" to make it more acceptable to them.  The extrovert group proceeded to brainstorm, which sounded a little like happy hour at Hooters.  The introverts stared uneasily at each other and shrugged occasionally.  I could already tell my year was off to a great start.

I generally don't like personal interactions with people.  I will sometimes have this conversation with Sven:

Deb: "I saw Whoosits today."
Sven: "Really?  How is she?  What's she up to?"
Deb: "I don't know, I didn't talk to her."
Sven: "Why not?"
Deb: [shrugs, embarrassed to admit that she ducked behind a Velveeta display so Whoosits wouldn't see her, even though Whoosits is great and not scary at all.]

There have been times that I have been upset that people don't recognize me after my weight loss.  Most of the time, however, I'm pretty pleased that a lot of people have no idea who I am, so I don't have to talk to anyone.  I can go anywhere and do anything and there's a good chance no one will know it's me.

Tee hee.