If you don’t know me you may think I’m quiet. Shy even. I’m not shy, but I do tend to keep to myself in situations where I don’t know those around me. Some may say this is a bad quality, that I come off standoffish or downright rude… I’ve even been called aloof! 

I know that’s not true though, but I get it. I’m really not quiet. I’m one of those where you meet me, and within a weeks time, you long for the moment I stop talking. 

My brain goes a mile a minute so my mouth is always attempting to catch up and usually falling behind. However, as I aforementioned, I tend to appear quiet in front of those whom I don’t know. As much as others may think of it as a negative trait, I define it as an introvert. To be more specific, a restrained introvert. 

Someone who thinks carefully before taking action. Someone who lacks spontaneity.  It’s not that I am boring and hate surprises, I just tend to have heightened anxiety levels when I feel unprepared in situations unplanned, aka spontaneous situations. I like to think carefully prior to making big decisions because I don’t like making the wrong decision. I keep my guard up around others until I get to know them because I am nearing 25 and don’t have the capacity to discuss my life details with someone who is placed in it temporarily. 

Now, I don’t think I was born into this world with an introverted personality. When my sisters and I were kids with myself as the youngest, I was always the most outgoing. I could make friends in public wherever we went, getting my energy through socializing. I could talk to a wall until the paint cracked. But, somewhere a long the way, the ex in extroverted was replaced with in.

There was never some huge, life-altering situation that happened to me where I can pinpoint that specific personality change. No trauma traumatic enough to cause me to turn inward to my own thoughts and feelings. What I do think created a change, though, was every single thing that has happened in my life to lead me to now. Every small, seemingly unimportant decision combined with every massively important decision and all those in between, has replaced some of those childlike extroverted personality traits with introverted ones. Restrained introverted ones.

Again, I do not find this as a negative thing. Rather, I find it a growth thing. I don’t have the naivety of a child anymore, so I can see people and situations for what they truly are. Instead of being an open-book like I was as a child, I now like to keep my personal stuff personal simply for the fact of not wanting people who will not remain in my life to know those things about me. Instead of doing something impulsively, I now try to think of all of the pros and cons of the outcomes of my actions prior to doing them. Instead of being over-emotional, I remain calm. Instead of looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, I just wake up and smell the coffee.

I am comfortable being defined as a restrained introvert. I don’t mind that I think more than I speak. I don’t mind that I may have a small guard up with unfamiliar people. It doesn’t take much for my guard to come down, but I am glad that I can use it as my armor to protect me when I am feeling my most introverted self. I am also glad that once that guard is down, it doesn’t go back up.

There are so many things you realize about yourself as you get older. Especially in your 20’s. I feel like I learn something new about who I am as a person every day. Embrace that. Embrace looking inward. Embrace thinking introspectively. Because behind every introvert is just a quieter (more emotionally-grounded) extrovert.

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