What It's Like for an Introvert to be Friends with an Extrovert
A few days ago, my class was involved in a self-awareness activity during our Homeroom period, wherein we were asked to divide ourselves into two groups: introverts to the teacher's left, and extroverts to the right.
Taking my position in the introverts section, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. All the students who clustered in this area more or less embodied the same set of characteristics I did when it came to socializing. And although these were definitely people I could get along with, I couldn't help but notice that none of them were my kabarkadas or close friends.
In fact, as I mulled this idea over in my head, my line of thinking was abruptly interrupted by the sound of my best friend's loud and ever-so lively voice reverberating from the other side of the room as she animatedly conversed with her fellow extroverted group members.
Upon noticing this, someone tapped my shoulder. "An intense introvert BFFs with an extreme extrovert? How does that even work?" a classmate of mine asked, genuine curiosity (and confusion!) written all over her face.
For a second, my mind was blank. How did it work?
But the moment memories with my bestie came flooding back in, my heart found my answer a lot faster than my brain did.
A lot of people have this strange notion about introvert-extrovert friendships. For us reclusive girls, we've heard it all. "You must be jealous of how quickly she gets along with people," "Isn't it sad to always be left out when you guys go out with others?", "Do you, like, not talk when the two of you are together?", and of course, the crowd favorite, "Wait what—you're friends with her?" Yeah. We get it. But just because it's hard to imagine, doesn't mean our friendship is any less real.
In fact, it's our ability to withstand society's false assumptions about us that makes our sisterhood even truer.
It may seem strange for contrasting personalities to be compatible, but with them being such outgoing individuals and bringing so much more flavor to our more-often-than-not vanilla lives, how could they not?
Extroverts push us to go beyond our comfort zones. "I don't wanna go. It's gonna be so awkward. I'm so awkward." is the most popular line among us introverts when dealing with our people-loving peers' invites to go somewhere new. You call it overused, we call it honest. We know who we are, and we know how socially inept we can often be, so why put everyone through the misery of having to deal with our nervous stutters and generally uncomfortable aura? It just doesn't make sense to us. But to our extroverted friends, it apparently does. "It's a learning experience," they'd say. And true enough, even if the night ended with the most cringe-worthy memories of our behavior, if it wasn't for our outgoing besties, we would never have known what to do in the future.
They aren't always gentle with the truth. "Does this make me look fat?" Ah yes, the dreaded question that taps into every introverts' biggest fear. We don't want to lie to you, but at the same time, if we're going out shopping and you try on an outfit that highlights your insecurities, we would never want to be the one to confirm that. So instead of risking hurting your feelings, we'll probably just reply with some nicer version of the truth. But when the tables are turned, our extroverted friends can sometimes skip the neutralizing part and just go straight for the kill. Their honesty stings, but at least they didn't give a painless lie destined to stab us in the back in the end.
We learn how to stand up for someone other than ourselves. Sometimes fellow introverts tend to stereotype their opposites by putting them under a negative light. Because they like to go out and indulge in some adventure, they're called nasty names and seen as reckless, unguided rebels. But anyone who has an extroverted bestie would know that most of the time, they're actually just good people looking for a good time. And as long as they're not hurting anyone, no one should be criticized for going after things that make them happy. As the loyal introverts, we immediately take on the role of defenders; we never let people talk trash about our friends. Call us mataray or snobbish because we prefer to stay quiet, but the moment even the slightest insult about our friend leaves your lips, you'll be wishing we just kept our mouths shut like earlier.
They make us learn how to compromise. More often that not, a "fun weekend" has 2 different meanings depending on who you ask. Maybe us introverts would go somewhere less crowded, while our extroverted counterparts live for the company. This then causes various issues and arguments with regards to planning. But in the end, the conflict only makes us strive harder to make the friendship work. Our outgoing bestie helps us see that life can't always just be black or white—what I want or what you want—but that sometimes, we've got to be willing to choose gray if we want to achieve the perfect mix.
But mostly, extroverts widen our perspective. It's a fact, introverts spend a lot of time in their heads. But because we're constantly tuning out from the rest of the world, this makes us more attuned to our own thoughts thus filling our minds with enough personal views to make up for the lack of outside ones we refuse to take in. And although this sometimes comes in handy, it's also the reason why socializing drains us the way it does. This often leads to tunnel-vision views and close minded thinking wherein we consider what's going on inside more than what's happening in front of us. If we all only had this kind of mindset, we'd be doomed. But thanks to our ever-so open-minded extroverts, we are able to look past the lens we've set up for themselves and see the bigger picture.
Overall, the life of an introvert with her far-from-introverted best friend is anything but boring. Sure we may disagree on certain things, but at the end of the day, we find a way to meet in the middle because of our pure determination to level with each other when we don't seem to be the same page.
So the next time someone asks me how I'm able to make an introvert-extrovert friendship works, I'm just going to look that person in the eye, proudly smile, and say,
"It works because we make it work."