An Introverted Expat

I am meeting a girl (that I've never met) for coffee today that found me through the blog. I stopped to think about it...she will be the fifth person I've met like this because of the blog. All four others I still keep in touch with and meet up with (well, Rachel moved away :( ). It's a bit like a blind date, but not nearly as nerve-wracking, of course.

It got me thinking...you don't really have to be an extrovert to survive a move abroad...or any big move. I'm a pretty big introvert, in fact.

I graduated a semester early from college (because of high school dual credit courses and summer classes) right as the dot.com crash happened. I had a Management Information Systems business degree. Great. Nice job opps. I ended up working for a U.S. Congressional campaign in my college town. It was nice because I got to sort of stay with my friends in college, but I wasn't in college anymore. I was working 10 - 12 hour days. What? The real world is terri!

My friends, still living in college la-la land, were calling me and asking "Did you eat my cereal?". "Excuse me...first of all, no I didn't eat your honey bunches o' oats, and second of all, I don't have time for these shenanigans...I'm trying to get a man elected to help run the free world! click."


A campaign consultant came for a week to help the candidate. She was well trained in psychology and personality science and that sorta stuff. (Really similar to what the new lady on Mad Men does.)
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Mad Men's Dr. Miller, surely she'll be hooking up with Don at some point.

She knew me for about 10 minutes and said, "You're definitely an introvert, probably a Guardian". "What? I'm nobody's guardian, lady, and I'd like to think I'm good with people". I was a bit offended.


Well, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test and what do you know? Introvert. And a Guardian (one of the four main types of personalities). I didn't like this result. I wanted to be an extrovert. I thought being an introvert meant being shy and sorta nerdy. Well, not really.

She said it basically boils down to this: Do you find yourself energized by social interaction or do you get your energy by being alone?

I definitely like to be with people and go out, but I often find myself in need of down time to recharge. I don't get increasingly revved up as the party goes on like some social butterflies.

Extroverts tend to "fade" when alone and can easily become bored without other people around.
Nope. Never been like that.
(source)

Introverts, on the other hand, after being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge." Definitely me.
Contrary to what most people think, being an introvert does not mean a person is shy or bad with people. Oh, good.
(source)

So, I think being an introvert can actually help when you're an expat. You are mostly alone when you first move to another country and an extrovert might have a really hard time with this. I, on the other hand, can do it for quite a long time and be fine. I definitely need to be with others and socialize in spurts, but not all the time. In fact, too much time with others and not any time for myself leads to malfunction.

When I was little, I used to sit in a 3' x 3' toy closet we had upstairs and 'teach' my imaginary class for hours on the chalkboard. I loved it.

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I also, not surprisingly, spent lots of alone time in boxes with my kittens.

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Fast forward to now. (whether I want it or not, love is always near.)

I guess that's why I can sit alone and write blog posts about random topics and entertain myself...not in the closet though, they don't have those here or I might try it for old times sake.

Anyways, my point is, you do not have to be super outgoing to move to a new country. You just have to start a blog.

Really, you just have to make an effort, join a club (my English one has been great) and have a good attitude.

(Disclaimer: I don't only make friends from cyberspace...I promise. I have more friends I've met the 'regular' way than the 'bloggy' way...I think.)

11 comments:

juliette said...

too funny - you sound like me =P i agree with you 100%. we met up with 3 blog-connected friendships on our summer road trip. it was pretty cool, while also being sorta 'out there'. i need to blog about that, lol. the 21st century is pretty wild, isn't it?

Raul Gonzales said...

Hi,iºam Raul from Madrid,Spain,you did a nice job with this website,i like your articles and you photos,i will visit you again soon to see the new post because a like traveling and meet new people,i was born in
Nehoiu ,is a beautiful town in Romania,but now i live in Spain and i work in marketing ,i love reading about serial killers and i have my websites into a SEO friendly directories , you can submit you sites here,i hope you will find it usefull.bye bye

Molly said...

guess it runs in the family. i'm totes an introvert too

Nocturnal Queen said...

I too am an introvert. Very much so. Enjoy meeting your new blog friend. :-)

jja said...

"You are mostly alone when you first move to another country and an extrovert might have a really hard time with this."

Yes, this is me. I had some hard months here...

Cathy McConn said...

Love the cereal phone call! Lol. And I want to take that Myers-Briggs test too. Am I a guardian? Or just a bossy mom? :). Love, meems

Brooke said...

It has been a long time since I've taken that test but I am SO an introvert and I like the way you put it. I need to 'recharge' by being alone a lot!

BETH said...

LOL!! I'll take full credit for being the person on the other end of the phone call regarding the cereal! Ha! I've got plenty of Honey bunches to share now :)

Krista said...

Definately an introvert as well here. I think this is why moving with the military isn't so tough for me as for others. I can spend upto 2 weeks without getting out and mingling. Anything longer than that and I require a girls night.

Julie said...

Oh.so.true!! I must say, I've become my own best friend and like it quite a lot :-).

Alison said...

Yep, I know how it is. Am also an introvert, but from time to time really need my girls' nights out (having one today, in fact, with another expat friend). Still, I like being on my own quite a bit and have learned to appreciate that alone time in a foreign country.

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