Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to someone who, after exchanging names and pleasantries, asked me what my personality type was.  After telling them that I was an INFP, they told me “I don’t get along with INFPs.”  We eventually became friends and we eventually he hit a point where we had trouble getting along.  I don’t think our personality types caused our conflicts, because they don’t seem to get along with pretty much anyone.  I won’t deny that personality types can give us a general idea of people, but it would be foolish to completely write people off or consider them your best friends just because of four simple letters.

A lot of people are surprised that I’m introverted and that I’m extremely introverted to boot.  They’re probably confused because they see me run around on stage like a maniac.  I’m fine with entertaining a big crowd but I don’t like having to socialize with a huge group.  It makes me tired, so I like small groups at best.  Unfortunately, I have to kind of prepare myself for social situations so when a situation changes, it’s hard for me to be flexible.  So when people show up uninvited, or when a small group turns into a party, I tend to be in a pretty bad mood, even if all the people in the room are people that I like.  It’s something that took me a while to figure out, and now it’s taking me a long time to deal with it.  Unfortunately I don’t think this irritation is going to go away any time soon.

Last week, I was going to go grab a late night meal with my friend and his girlfriend, so I showed up at his place and got in his car so we could carpool to the restaurant.  As I sat down in the car, he said “Okay, now we’re going to pick up my friends”.  It’s not that I didn’t like his friends or that I was particularly hungry, but I got noticeably irritated.  At the end of the night, I ended up having a good time.  I just know that I wouldn’t have been in a bad mood if my friend had told me we were going with others, opposed to surprising me with the situation at the last minute.  As much as I try not to be anal about this, the order of events are important to me. I like to be able to emotionally prepare myself for situations, which sounds silly, and it is, but that’s how I work.

I wonder if this hang up will end up sabotaging any chance I have at “success” as an artist.  I’m a bit of a paradox.  I’m a performer that doesn’t like to socialize with the groups that I entertain.  I plan events but I like to keep the invite list low.  My gifts seem to conflict with my personality, but I think that’s why I’ve been able to grow a lot as a person.  I’ve had to reconcile the two over the years and, while I’m not there yet, I feel like I’ve come a long way.  Obviously, last week was a reminder that simple surprises can still get a pretty dramatic response out of me, but I eventually came around and I didn’t pout and shut down, and I consider that great progress for me.

It makes me wonder how I would act if I were ever given fortune and fame.  Would I tell people that they can’t make eye contact with me?  Would I end up snapping and living in a secluded cabin in the middle of nowhere?  I would like to think that these are only the actions of crazy people, but I can’t rule them out for me either.  Does this mean that I’m going to give up now to prevent myself from reaching anything close to these levels of success?  No, I’ve come too far.  I’m not necessarily saying I want to bite off more than I can chew, but I think I just need to let things run their course and take what opportunities life throws at me.  To try to deny that would truly make me a crazy person.

So, maybe if I will have some sort of infamous meltdown one day, and I’ll make a complete fool of myself in a very public setting.  I’m willing to take that risk and maybe my friend can tell all the people they know, “I knew he was going to do this one day because he’s an INFP.”

2 Responses to “Not Pleased to Meet You”

  • Nick Su Says:

    Not surprised at all.. HA! I love personality tests because they’re ‘intelligent rubbish’. Much more useful than horoscopes, but who wants to be put into a four-letter box, anyway?

    See ya soon, introvert-boy. And don’t be worried, Ali & I can join you in the not-into-entertaining-groups-of-people category…

  • Corin Says:

    I’m a social introvert. I like being social but I get tired when I’m around people instead of being energized by social activity like extroverts.

    I can understand why you got upset when your friend surprised you by inviting more people. I have two different mindsets, one for a few people and one for being with alot of people.

    In my few people mindset, my goal is to have good conversation and connect with the people I’m with. In my alot of people mindset, my goal is to be sociable. I can switch easily between one and the other. But it’s a bit disappointing when I’m looking forward to connecting with close friends to switching to my be sociable mode.

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