Susan Cain quote love is essential gregariousness is optional

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Extroversion is often seen as the ideal standard to strive for. As a result, we introverts practically come out of the womb hearing about how we should be more extroverted.

We’re made to believe that putting on the mask of extroversion is our ticket to popularity, success and acceptance. This might be true in some ways. But the reality is that the things we achieve by ‘faking it’ often feel more like a burden than a reward.

Extroverts want different things than us. An ideal day for most extroverts probably looks drastically different from our dream day. What energizes them drains us. What feels completely natural for them can be utterly exhausting for us.

When it comes to acting extroverted, faking it ‘till you make it could be a one-way ticket to a life you hate.

So. Now that we’re clear on how I feel about introverts faking it, let’s go over the caveats and exceptions.

The most important question to ask yourself before faking it

Before you even think about getting your extrovert on, I implore you to ask this one very important question:

Will doing this move me closer or further from my long-term goals and values?

If the carrot is big enough, acting like an extrovert for a while can be worth it. In other words, if faking it gets you to where you actually, truly, honest-to-goodness want to be in this life, go for it.

I strongly recommend doing some soul searching first to make sure your desires are really your own. In a society that worships the extrovert ideal, it’s all too easy to adapt our dreams to fit into that ideal.

Consider the cost

There is a price for faking it. It costs us precious energy and time. The other day, one of my followers commented on how difficult it is for her to do creative work after she has spent time acting more extroverted. I know exactly what she means.

Every little drop of energy we put into acting out of character means that we have less mental and physical energy for other things. These other things might be activities that bring us great joy and fulfillment.

Consider whether the price is worth the outcome. Is behaving more extroverted giving you a big, fat, juicy payoff? If not, why bother?

Go with the flow

Sometimes acting extroverted feels natural. Many introverts go through cycles of lots of solitude followed by short bursts of social activity. When our energy levels are at their peak, we might enjoy playing the role of social butterfly for a while.

Perhaps, you like to store up all of your innie energy during the week and then get your extrovert on every Saturday. This is my modus operandi. Sometimes I’ll even go weeks at a time with minimal human interaction and then spend a week or two going out and socializing.

Bottom line: If it feels good and natural, it doesn’t qualify as ‘faking it’.

Final thought

Any introvert whose soul goal is to become more extroverted is aiming too low.

The world will be a better place when introverts stop trying to be something they’re not and start embracing the gifts of their introversion.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about faking extroversion? Have you done it in the past? Was it worth it?

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