ESFJ. The Caregiver. Out of 16 different personalities in the Myers Briggs Personality Test, I was tossed into the box that stands for Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, and Judging.
Would I use these terms to describe myself? Definitely. I’m a very emotional person, and I feel things very deeply. I think endlessly about everything and plot out even the smallest decisions in detail before they go into action. However, one thing stares me in the face like a threat: a big fat “E” for Extrovert.
Outgoing, social, talkative, friendly. Through parent-teacher conferences, comments on report cards, and gloating from my Grandma, I’ve had all of these labels burned into my permanent description of me: cat-lover, picky eater, extrovert. With the extrovert label comes an expectation. One should have superb social skills, be ready to go out and party at all times, and always be available- no exceptions.
As I left yoga at 2PM and hustled to the school to meet my friend for a 2:10-3:30 hangout on the beach before I ran to my next plans, I found myself counting minutes and analyzing the seconds it would take me to get to each location…above the speed limit, of course. At the beach, my phone lit up. “Hey, we still on for tomorrow? :)” stared me in the face. Of course, I thought, we’re still on. In between my room that needs to be clean, my college essay that needs to be perfected, the other friend I’m catching lunch with…
Again, I started counting minutes and plotting my life down to the second. The more I tried to seemingly make the most of my 24 hours in a day, the more I faced social exhaustion. The stress I felt trying to manage my life outweighed the joy I got from seeing people I cared about and doing fun things. I realized that to avoid burnout, I can’t pack my day with more to do than I can handle- even the most social people need a break.
So, extroverts…do yourself a favor and stop stretching yourself so thin that you crash and burn. You might not want a break, but you probably need one!