Fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein once said, "Anyone who exists online is an extrovert." And while I think that's true, to an extent, I also disagree with this statement.
You see, I'm an introvert. Through and through, I always have been and always will.
If you're familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator Test (which, if you're a social psych nerd like me, then I'm sure you am), then you'll know that people fall into one of 16 different naturally-occurring personality types. Now, while some scientists question the scientific validity of this test, the social validity is undeniable. Whether you believe in this test or not, it's clear, after some quick analysis of existing data, that people tend to seamlessly fall into one of these 16 categories without (much) question.
My point with this is that the scientific backing behind the MBTI is that it is biologically backed- our personality, and our subsequent likes and dislikes, arise from social influences and genetics. Meaning, part of our personality is innate, and we cannot control it. This feeds more into the nature vs. nurture phenomenon, which is a whole other can of worms that I won't get into, but you get the point. ;)
My personality type is INTJ, which happens to be the rarest female personality type, making up only 0.7% of the world's population. But the thing I want to focus on is the first letter- the I, which, conveniently, stands for introvert.
My entire life I've been extremely quiet. As a kid, I was painfully shy, and, while I broke out of that shell as a kid, there's a part of me that's always a little shy when meeting new people. That aside, I'm the type of person that would rather sit at home with a book than go out to a social event, or the type of person that keeps only a few friends, rather than a whole "squad" (I have 6 people I consider "friends", and I'm completely content with that). :)
But, I do exist online. My entire job is based online. And with that, comes a lot of social events in-real-life. Mixers, networking parties, panels, "blogger brunches", etc., are all part of the job, and while I can have fun, sometimes, they can be scary for me. So scary that I'm nauseous the entire drive to the event. Even if I do end up having fun, which I almost always do, there's always a build up to it, which usually involves overcoming waves of nausea as they crash and roar inside my stomach.
But, enough of the dramatics. Back to my point- I'm a natural introvert. But despite this, I know how to turn on that extroverted "charm". I can be comfortable sharing countless photos of myself online, and bearing my soul for thousands to see. I can walk up to a guy I see on the street and ask him out. It's a learned trait, and one that has taken many years to develop. To survive in this world, we must learn to be extroverts. We need to be able to communicate and network effectively with others in order to be able to succeed and thrive in this communication-centric world.
Think of it this way: our entire purpose as humans is to communicate with one another. It's why we're "here", for lack of a better term. Have you ever noticed how any successful venture is completed by several people? There are dozens of people behind a successful band. Successful companies employ hundreds. Even successful bloggers usually have a "team" of people helping them. To "succeed" at anything, we need to be connected to those around us, which takes a certain sense of extroversion.
So when people tell me that "they would've never thought I was an introvert" or that "I fake it so well", I simply call it "survival instincts". I have to pull out this extroverted side of me to survive and do what I do, but sometimes (often enough), my introverted side will take over and win. And, if I'm being honest, I let it. Not to go off on another topic, but I feel like it's SO important to just be yourself- your most vulnerable, true self. It's an act of self-love that your mind will thank you for over and over again.
So if you invite me to your event and I back out last-minute, don't be upset. There comes a point when we all have to learn to nurture our nature. To be ourselves, in our truest, biological and physiological form. Even if that entails staying home from the party, kicking our heels off, and curling up with a blanket and a good movie.