The Extroverted Introvert

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For many years, I struggled to understand my persona. Sometimes, I am the life of the party -loud and easily strike a connection with others regardless of age, sex and/or social status whilst the other times, I am in my own shell – quiet, reserved and dull. Initially, I thought it was an ego problem – too much pride or lack of confidence. I have had people describe me as condescending, obnoxious, snub, proud, weak, naïve and/or unhappy so it is easy to see why that train of thought engulfed me.

I do enjoy conversing with people because I was made to understand, at a young age, that social interaction is the basis of human nature. However, I also like to detach myself from the picture once in a while and analyze what I see. This often makes me see what I do not want to see – things that people don’t say -via the look in their eyes, body language and/or their tone of voice.

I have accepted that this is the way I am…outgoing yet withdrawn hence it is safe to say that I am an extroverted introvert. People often say it is impossible for one to sit on the fence in matters; you are either here or there but I am comfortably seated on the fence here. And there are many people out there just like me. Unexpectedly, we are often misconstrued.

Not to worry, I am here to rid you of such confusion by giving you an insight into the life of an extroverted introvert.

1. If we like you, we really like you. There’s hardly an in-between because we are so picky with who we spend our energy and time on. This doesn’t mean that we are full of ourselves or condescending. Nah! we just don’t see the need of being with someone we don’t like.

2. For what it is worth, we have a lot of things to talk about but we are not sure if those things will interest you. We can spend time listening to you talk because we are keen to learn about you. And we know most people like the sound of their voices.

3.  Just because we like our own space doesn’t mean that we don’t get lonely. We like being out there, around people, even if they are strangers as far as we can still keep to ourselves because sometimes we just don’t want to talk. We prefer to live in our heads and observe every little detail.

4. We are not advocates of small talks but if small talk is your forte, we will gladly oblige. We prefer to understand what makes you, you – how you think, what you think about, what scares/motivates you, what your family is like etc. We like to know if you have eaten too.

5. We prefer to have a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation than in a group because this is more intimate and gives us the chance to listen to you talk. As a result, we find it easy to adapt to any situation and get along with people from all walks of life. However, maintaining those friendships or getting closer to people is another thing altogether.

6. Because we genuinely try to get to know people on another level, we are often misconstrued as flirty and provocative. Maybe we are.

7. Because we are self-aware – outgoing yet calculated -people tend to see us as leaders. We are not afraid to take the bold step, make hard decisions or stand up to talk in front of others. Funnily, we rarely see ourselves this way and prefer to take the back seat because we don’t think we are great like that.

8. It is a constant struggle to control the introverted version of ourselves. We are fully aware when that spirit (of withdrawing into our own minds) is trying to overtake us, especially in groups and big crowds, but we can’t put up resistance against it.

9. We don’t have a particular group of friends. We pick them from different social groups and bring them all together. Sometimes, it is an awkward situation for them all. You poor things.

10. We want to be noticed and recognized for our efforts and at the same, prefer to stay anonymous. I know it sounds conflicting but that’s the way it is with us. Our fun/crazy side comes out more when we aren’t the center of attention.

So it is likely you have people like these around you. They are often versatile in every aspect of life so try and understand them. And if you think the crown fits, please wear it with pride.

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Are Men Intimidated By Smart Women?

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Human sexuality has always been an interesting part of our existence. A person’s sexual orientation, which is heavily influenced by social norms and status quo, has an ample effect on their sexual interest/attraction for another person.

In recent times, it has become a norm to hear young Nigerian men and women declare their sexuality as sapiosexual – being attracted to or sexually aroused by intelligence and its use. However, when critically analysed, are we really sapiosexual?

According to a friend, most Nigerian men aren’t sapiosexual; they feel intimidated by smart women. This echoes the recent findings of researchers at the University of Buffalo, California Lutheran University, and the University of Texas at Austin which showed that men are sapiosexual in theory and usually lose interest in smart women after encountering them.

Interestingly, there is an iorta of truth in both opinions. I do like smart women, however, there’s much more going on than merely a meeting of the minds.

Naturally, intelligence often comes with a certain amount of arrogance, pride, autocracy and being opinionated. In this clime, some smart women exhibit sheer arrogance and a dire need to be an authority in the relationship. And this is what often scares Nigerian men away not the lady’s smartness.

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Masculinity often comes with a big ego as well as social and hierarchial dominance. As a consequence, anything that puts men in danger of having their ego bruised or losing their territory makes them scamper and run for the hills.

This doesn’t mean that the man is weak or intimidated by a smart woman – even though in most cases it appears so. In dating, we are being evaluated on far more than our most attractive traits. And as aforementioned, there seems to be a strong correlation between our attractive traits and some unattractive traits.

For example, it is still an enigma why women turn down nice guys. American singer, Mary J Blige said in her song, Mr Wrong Good guys ain’t no fun.” A female friend went further to succinctly explain it. She said good guys have a certain mentality – things should be easy for me because I’m good mentality. The same applies to smart women. Smart women have a similar type of mentality – I am a strong woman who is not scared of sharing my opinion. If you can’t handle this strong woman, you are weak.

Men do value intelligence as much as women value nice guys. Women want nice guys who exude masculine energy and scoof at the constant need for others’ approval whilst men do want an intelligent woman who gives them warmth, affection and peace of mind thus making their lives easier and more pleasant.

Human relationships require social and emotional intelligence, which are based on viewing people through the lens of their own social and emotional needs. Nevertheless, many people focus their attention inward instead of outward. As a result, they find it hard and painful to acknowledge that their strong traits are often accompanied by significant downsides. If you are smart, opinionated and domineering, don’t be surprised if some of your actions turn people off.

P.S. these things go both ways. Some ladies are too awed by a smart man’s intellect and demeanour that they lose interest. They want someone who completes them and sometimes a smart person lacks the qualities they seek in a partner.