Why I Was Called a Stuck Up Snob (and How A Personality Test Showed It Was True!)

Posted: September 9, 2014 in Life Lessons
Tags: , , , , ,

If I ever seemed stuck up, snobby . . . bitchy, let me got ahead right now and apologize. If you met me in person for the first time, I might seem standoffish. My face would probably look mean, even. It’s not you, it’s me. And for most of my life, I hated that I came across that way, because guess what? I’m super sensitive about how people perceive me, to boot.

All my life, people have told me, later – after getting to know me –

You’re much nicer than I thought you’d be.

You had such a bitchy look on your face, I thought you didn’t like me.

I really just thought you were stuck up.

Even though I got used to hearing that, it never stopped hurting. Especially since, in my head, I was thinking, If you only knew that my expression was there to hide how terrified I was! Or, To you it may seem like I’m stuck up, but to me I’m trying to be invisible, or bulletproof. It’s my protective superhero shield. Yeah, my superhero power is looking bitchy.

It’s nothing personal and, actually, I really do want people to like me. It just doesn’t come across that way.

The truth is, my whole life, I’ve been shy, sometimes painfully shy. When I was a little kid, approaching new people was like being thrown into a pit of alligators. I would find strange ways of coping that would take me out of the way of crowds or people who scared me (this included all older kids, people I didn’t know, and people weren’t me, basically). For example, I remember when I was in 3rd grade, I was supposed to walk to my father’s work. The normal, easy route took me directly by the middle school when all the (big, scary) kids were waiting to load the buses. You think I was going to walk by there? No way in hell! Instead, I would walk the long way, out and around. Or, I would make up excuses to stay after school so my Dad would have to come pick me up.

Being shy, and identifying myself as shy has defined me my entire life: who I talked to, how I dealt with others and what I thought of myself. But as an adult, I learned that there’s another (trait? quirk?) that explains a lot about why I am the way I am (Yeah, I am whatever you say I am – uh, sorry, went a little Eminem on you there for a moment).

A Shy Person’s Double Whammy: Congratulations! You Can Be Shy, and Stressed Out About Social Interaction, Too!

In 2002, when I was 23, I worked for a public service branch of the state university. They wanted everyone to take the Myers-Briggs personality test, to help people better understand each other and work together. A very corporate culture thing to do.

Based on the research of Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs helps determine your general outlook on life and how you instinctively deal with situations. It’s should come as no surprise for anyone familiar with the test to know that I came out a strong “I,” for Introvert.

Introvert is a not-so-cool sounding word (in my opinion) that describes people who get their energy from within.

The opposite of this is the people who are Extroverts, or, if you’re me: the entire rest of the world. (Or, at least, that’s what it seemed like).

My full profile was INFJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. According to one source on the INFJ personality type, only one percent of the population has this personality type.

That’s right, I’m like a unicorn. Or a ninja. Or a ninja unicorn. Rare, misunderstood. I’ll only use my super INFJ powers for good, I promise.

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Unicorn and bitchy-faced superpowers aside, being a shy Introvert is hard, y’all! I can act Extroverted, but it takes a lot out of me and I will be exhausted by it. I can be painfully shy and/or socially anxious when I am around new people or in new or unfamiliar locations. When I have to walk into a conference room or meeting of people I don’t know, I’m paralyzed like a deer in headlights. Making phone calls to people I don’t know damn near kills me!

But over time, over life, I’ve learned to adjust to many things, because I have to. The world isn’t really set up for Introverts. We’re told to:

speak up,

participate,

say what’s on your mind,

be outgoing,

be brave,

go-get-’em,

make your voice heard.

Seriously, guys, I just want to sit here in this corner and read my book.

Jaime-Book

It’s like Wilson, from Home Improvement. Maybe he was an Introvert?

From my perspective, I imagine Extroverts have a whole different set of worries to deal with. What happens when you’re a shy extrovert? That must be rough.

Extroverts are expected to be always on, always upbeat, loud, able to speak their opinions, the life of the party. It’s exhausting just to think about.

I’m sure there’s Extroverts like that, just as there are Introverts who are hermits, antisocial, or loners.

Tweet: But you can't judge a whole group of people by the characteristics or actions of a few. http://ctt.ec/y6ehY+ But you can’t judge a whole group of people by the characteristics or actions of a few.

It’s just like some of the things I notice about myself as I stumble along in this life. I’m drawn to Extroverts. It’s easier for me to be around them, because they draw me out, and make interaction less awkward and hard. Can you imagine two Introverts living in a space together? One might never know the other exists! Or how I start to feel anxious or stressed if I have to be around too many people for any length of time. It’s like a mouse trying to get out of a maze: just please GET me out of here!

At the time I took that Myers-Briggs test, way back in ’02 (Side note: It would be weird to hop in the Way Way Back machine and have Future Me go take a look at Then Me taking that test. I’d probably be snickering at my crappy hairdo, or my clunky shoes left over from the 90’s, or my complete naivety about life in general. On second thought, I don’t think that would accomplish much). Anyway, back then, I had no idea that the results would A) Be so accurate and B) Help me define myself, even all these years later.

Because truthfully, it’s taken me a long time to accept that this is just who I am. I hated being shy. I hated that everyone was outgoing. I hated that scared, heart-pounding, I don’t want to be here feeling. I hated that I was different from everyone else and couldn’t change myself into something much cooler.

The sad thing was, that meant I hated me. It becomes painfully obvious after a while that you can’t live with yourself while simultaneously hating yourself. You do destructive things to yourself, and can’t fully appreciate yourself that way. Trust me, nobody really wants to go through life feeling awkward and anxious and fearful of other people. But you have to take the bad with the good.

Because in constantly measuring myself up to others, and judging myself, and stressing out over my weaknesses, I was missing out on all the things that made me cool. I am artistic and creative. I am a good listener. I am calm. I take care of other people. I don’t have to be constantly affirmed by other people. I care. I like to make things organized. I like to head off conflict and anger. I’m easygoing. I spend a lot of time thinking and feeling.

Don’t do that to yourself – don’t measure yourself only by your weaknesses, or what you’re scared or embarrassed about. Try to pay attention to all the things that make you cool. Knowledge really is power, and the more knowledge you have about yourself, the easier it becomes to accept who you are and why you do the things you do. It’s taken me most of my life to get to the point that I can shrug and say, “Oh, well, that’s just who I am. Deal with it.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re Introverted, Extroverted, somewhere in between. It doesn’t matter if you’re a firstborn, or the moon was in the Seventh house when you were born. You were given exactly what you need to go be you, awesomely.

That's right, I said it, and I "drawed" it.

That’s right, I said it, and I “drawed” it.

 

Go be a unicorn, or a ninja.

Or a ninja unicorn.

And if you see me, go ahead tell me I’d better get that bitchy look off my face, because you know better. I promise, I’ll laugh. (Really loud, because Introverts can do that).

 

What type are you? Do you identify strongly with your type? Or do you think it’s all a load of bullhuckey? Please leave me a comment!

 

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Comments
  1. […] Why I Was Called a Stuck Up Snob (and How A Personality Test Showed It Was True!) […]

  2. […] talked about how I made it a point in my 3rd grade year to avoid walking past the middle school because the big kids scared me. I also hate making phone calls to people I don’t know, and will stand just out of the fray […]

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