Confessions of a die-hard extrovert

Hi, I'm Fabian, and I'm an extrovert.

(Cue: Hi Fabian.)

There's been so much talk lately about introverts on the Internet.

(Which means there's a lot of talk about extroverts on the externet. Haha!)

Articles such as "20 everyday things only introverts will be able to relate to" and "This is why loving an introvert is complicated" are sprouting up all over the Web, trying to figure out this group of people who seem to exude an air of mystery, simply because they do not express themselves openly as much.

They enjoy spending time by themselves, and keeping their thoughts to themselves, doing "quiet" activities such as listening to a music album or reading a book at home in their rooms. There's this perception that introverts are wiser, with a calmer and more controlled sense of rationality.

Simply put, there's more talk about introverts, just because introverts don't talk much. At least, that's the perception.

Perhaps deep down we extroverts feel we are not enough for ourselves. So we crave company. We get energy from the people around us. We are Superman and human interaction is our sunlight.

Meanwhile, perceptions of extroverts go shooting off in the other direction, and that's the part that frustrates me. Such as when extroverts are stereotyped as shallow and unintellectual.

I've spent a good load of time trying to figure out if I'm an extrovert or somehow an introvert. The introvert option didn't even stand a fighting chance.

I'm self-professedly outgoing, and I really enjoy talking to people.

I mean, every person has an interesting and fascinating story in them, and even certainly a valuable lesson that can be learnt.

I'm a very sociable person driven by spontaneity... or impulse, depending on how you look at it.

My preferred medium of communicating my thoughts is by speaking.

Yes, I may even be what you'd conventionally call "talkative". It's always been the case.

I was that kid whose mum would have to wait a little bit longer when picking him up from kindergarten, because he was being held back by the teacher as punishment for talking too much in class.

I deal with conflict through confrontation, openly addressing every issue.

My dad used to tell me in primary school that "Silence is your best weapon", hoping to help me not to pick arguments and get in trouble. He didn't realise his younger son was the Lionel Messi of getting in trouble.

Though that's not to say that I am 100 per cent articulate all the time.

I have to admit that we extrovert types are guilty of acting or speaking before actually having fully completed the entire thought process.

Too many times I have messaged into a WhatsApp chat "Hey guys should I do (insert dubious idea with potentially disastrous consequences)?"

And then after a while, I see someone typing a reply, but I'm already way ahead with a "Okay never mind I already did the thing."

When I'm having some problems, I like to talk to people about it. Many, many people.

I feel like it would help if I talk to numerous people, hear what they think, before coming to a well-thought-out solution on what I should do.

Also, talking it out with someone shuts out the silence.

You see, the more you tell a story, the more it becomes just words.

Even if you do not find a solution for that initial problem, the entire content just bears less weight the more you recite it.

You feel less of the initial bother and burden, and after a while your woes fade away.

I would say I have trouble being alone. I mean I can definitely get by being alone, but I would really rather not.

When I have unexpected time alone, I would still rather get out and about into a crowded place.

Truth is, we extroverts do have our quiet moments.

And in those moments, a thousand thoughts flood into our heads even more intensely, because of the contrast of the emptiness to the usually high volume of activity.

And it's amplified so loudly and overwhelmingly.

That is when I take out my phone and shoot texts out to a few friends, hoping to get some positive energy in return.

Maybe the friendliness acts as an insurance against an emotional disaster.

Perhaps deep down we extroverts feel we are not enough for ourselves.

So we crave company. We get energy from the people around us.

We are Superman and human interaction is our sunlight.

(For the uninitiated, Superman gets his strength from sunlight. Like a plant. Oh my god, Superman is a plant.)

Extroverts are also, because of our generally enthusiastic and cheery outlooks, typically "expected" to be happy and active.

All the time.

When we are feeling down or perhaps having a bad day, it is instantly noticeable.

The vibes are there. The lack of noise is deafening.

People come up to you and ask you "What's wrong with you, why are you so quiet today?" and deep down inside, we die a little.

While extroverts are some of the best people to be around when you're feeling down - come on, admit it, we've got the jokes and the laughs - people seldom associate extroverts themselves with sadness.

Being an extrovert can also have an impact on your personal relationships.

Close friends and loved ones may find it exhausting keeping up with your energy levels all the time.

What I find funny is, people hear and see extroverts, and know when an extrovert is around. But that's all superficial.

Few people can actually break that surface to understand an extrovert.

Sometimes I wonder whether this extroversion is a performance, a conscious act to build a facade to hide some deep insecurities from the world.

Sometimes I wish I were more introverted, because it seems it would be so much easier to be self-sufficient, and not having to bounce off anyone else.

Hi, I'm Fabian, and I'm an extrovert.

I've been like this my whole life.

There are times I wish things were different.

But that's just the way I am, and I have come to embrace myself and accept me for who I am.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 27, 2017, with the headline 'Confessions of a die-hard extrovert'. Print Edition | Subscribe