I lie on tests. All the time.
At least I used to.
I have the gift (or something like that) of discerning exactly what a test is asking. For example, with a mental illness questionnaire, a personality scale, a physician’s questionnaire, I know within two questions how to answer so the results reflect what I’d like to believe about myself.
I found this useful in middle school and high school when our teachers had us take all types of personality tests, work-compatibility tests, etc. I learned to respond to questions so my answers described me as sociable, extroverted, and likely to be a teacher (as that’s what I wanted to pursue at the time).
(A question to pursue in a later post is why I felt the need to lie on these tests. I wasn’t graded on these and most of the tests were for my personal benefit. My desire to hide who I really was even from myself?)
Since I enjoyed interacting with people and I sought to include everyone in conversations, especially those who I felt my be on the edge of my social circle, I felt that I must be an extrovert. Clearly my interest in social interaction meant that I thrived on them. Right?
It took years for me to realize how wrong this was. The signs were there from the beginning. Sure I enjoyed socializing at school, but by the time I came home I could not fathom hanging out with a group of friends or even one friend. Even the sounds from my large family stressed me out. All I really wanted to do was curl up with a good book in my room. I thought this was clearly against God’s will so I did everything to change who I was.
It didn’t work. Obviously.
I’ve really come to terms with my introversion over the past year. Sure I am friendly and will talk with people when out and about, but I am so exhausted by those interactions that I usually can’t go out the rest of the week. I prefer solitude to groups of people. I also prefer hanging out with my husband or reading a book in a park to meeting with people. That doesn’t mean I don’t like talking with friends, it just takes so much energy and preparation for that to happen. For example, I can’t spontaneously have lunch with a friend, I have to plan it out at least 4 days in advance so I can store energy. Even then I find myself trying to make excuses to back out at the last minute.
With recognition of my introversion, I have had to relearn pieces of myself. I am working on accepting this part of myself rather denying it exists. Hopefully, with my new awareness, I will find ways to work with my introversion during social gatherings rather than cope with it.