Most introverts believe, while they’re growing up, that they are not normal. A lot of them try and pretend to be as extroverted as possible just to have friends and feel normal. Growing up in an extroverted world is not easy for introverts. You have to deal with group projects, class participation grades, being judged, feeling of inadequacy from people who have convinced you that surrounding yourself with people is the way to go. Grownup introverts are more assertive of their introversion, but what about those young impressionable children and teens who don’t know what introversion and extroversion are?
Personally, I am an introvert, and I was an introvert long before I knew what that word meant. However, I was also the type of person who would normally be seen surrounded by a huge group of friends. I was always trying to be more social, giving myself no rest and alone time. Even when I’m at home I would join my family in their discussions. It was the norm to act like this as a child and as a teen because we’ve all been told that if we’re not social, then we’re not normal.
Nowadays, with the rise of multiple social platforms, people immediately expect you to have multiple accounts online. Some social platforms I felt forced to have on my phone all the time and socializing with them just so I wouldn’t feel left out among my peers.
Now as an adult, who rarely uses Whatsapp and haven’t used Facebook in two years, I have noticed a thing or two about growing up pretending to be an extrovert when you’re truly an introvert. Here are five side-effects that occur when an introvert pretends to be an extrovert:
1. Lonely Adulthood Days
You don’t even know what extroversion is, but you know that you need to be one. Pretending to be an extrovert can be rewarding at times. You get to meet a lot of wonderful people, and by many I mean many. Too much to handle for an introvert. And it does take a lot of time for anyone to discover whether they were introvert, extrovert, or ambivert. Some people discover they are introverts in senior year of highschool, and that all this socializing is causing them a lot of nuisance and lack of productivity. The sad part is when you act like who you really are, unapologetically introverted, at such an old age that’s when you lose a lot of your highschool friends. Your adulthood just becomes a bit lonelier.
2. Mental instability
The teenage years are tiring. Those are the years where you are discovering who you are, having to do homework and extra-curriculum activities, having to do chores, socializing, and being forced to make lifelong friends, are all enough to make anyone go insane. Add all those complex obligations to pretending to be an extrovert, causes a lot of emotional distress.
Scientifically speaking, emotional distress will cause:
- Memory problems
- Poor judgment
- Constant worrying
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Loneliness and isolation
- Moodiness, irritability, or anger
- Aches and pains
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too much or too little
And some of those symptoms can be worse to people who already have other health problems to deal with, whether they were mental or physical.
3. Lack of success
With the emotional tiredness and the pressure that comes with being young in a society that doesn’t give you a break, you are bound to lay down with a pillow on your face, pretending that the whole world does not exist as your undone homework and your overdue assignments are in a stack in a corner of your room.
Your academic success, social life, and your future are at stake. Pretending to be an extrovert for the sake of fitting in will damage you and your productivity, thus causing a lot of distress and the lack of success.
4. Lack of content
The dissatisfaction of life is like a monster that hangs out in your room while you’re at school. When you come back home it runs towards you and demands your attention. You are suddenly reminded of your lack of success, but you can’t help but feel like you need to just shut your eyes and sleep for ten years. Your phone is buzzing with messages and missed calls, and your only hope is for your phone to die. Sometimes you purposely leave your phone in the other room as an excuse to the people who will ask you, “Why didn’t you answer the call?”
You’re dissatisfied to how you’re ignoring all your friends at times and lying to them as to why you couldn’t answer them, and you’re dissatisfied at how you’re doing in school and life in general because you can’t focus on anything anymore.
5. Difficulty keeping friends
Your lack of content and your lack of academic success will ironically affect your social life; your introversion cannot hide forever and it will explode out of you. Your friends will realize that you’re changing and will claim that you have no time for them anymore. Friendship breakups hurt the most in my opinion. And you’ll realize too late that you’ve neglected everything for the sake of your social life only to find it crippling before you. What a waste of time it is to pretend to be an extrovert.
Pretending to be anyone but yourself is such a loss to the world because it means that we’ve lost a creative individual to the shelter of mediocrity. When you’re an introvert pretending to be an extrovert and begin to realize who you really are, you lose a lot of friends, and your days become lonely, but at least you can have a fresh new start with no lies or masks. I am thankful that nowadays all you have to do is take a quiz online and you’ll find out whether you’re an introvert or not, which will save you a lot of trouble in the future. So to all those young introverts who are uncomfortable being extroverted, to you, I say: stop! The consequences are not worth all those short-term friendships.