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An introvert in a pond of extroverts

What I’ve gained from having extroverted friends

Courtesy of Unsplash.com

I, like many of my fellow Grind writers, consider myself to be an introvert. When I have free time, my first thought is not to seek out my friends, but to stay in my room and read a book or watch YouTube or Netflix. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy spending time with other people; I just seek out time with myself more often. Given these tendencies, I’ve pleasantly surprised myself this year with how much time I’ve spent with my friends.

First of all, I love my friends a lot. They’re all wonderful people, and I definitely enjoy being with them. I’m just surprised that I’ve begun spending most of my limited free time with them. I believe a major factor in this is that my room has become the de facto gathering place for my friend group. Interestingly enough, I think my introverted tendencies have caused this. Since I tend to stay in my room, my friends, being more extroverted than I, tend to come find me there. On most days my roommate and I have at least one visitor, often more. On weekends, a group of us often go out for boba or food.

To be quite honest, I never would’ve imagined that I would be in this position a year ago. As a shy person, I was definitely uncertain about whether or not I would build lasting friendships at Stanford, particularly in fall quarter. I didn’t feel pressure to force anything though, and while I did actively talk to people when opportunities presented themselves, I was perfectly happy bingeing Netflix in my room all the time. I did hang out with friends in my room, but usually to do homework more than anything else. I certainly never would’ve believed that my room would be the hub of my friend circle. And yet, here I am, surrounded by amazing friends.

It really is interesting to be surrounded by more extroverted people than I would have imagined. I think that without them I would be holed up in my room on the internet on most weekends. While I definitely enjoy time to myself a lot, I also greatly appreciate spending time with my friends, more so now than ever. Having more extroverted friends brings me out of my shell and my room to allow me to have amazing experiences and make great memories like making bacon at 1 a.m.that I would have otherwise missed out on.

There is a surprising — or, I guess, unsurprising if you really think about it — ripple effect to this extroverted friendship phenomenon. Since a lot of my friends tend to talk to people and make other friends easily, I’ve been able to make new friends through them. I’ve therefore found myself meeting new people and making new friends this year almost effortlessly, which has been both a novel and positive experience for me. Though my high school was fairly large, since almost everyone grew up going to the same elementary and middle schools, friend groups were pretty much settled. There was little flexibility between them, unless something drastic happened. Since Stanford is larger and most people haven’t known everyone else for ten or more years, there’s much more motion in and between friend groups, at least for me. This has allowed me to make so many awesome friends, which has contributed to a lot of my favorite moments of my time at Stanford so far.

I think what I’ve learned from this experience thus far is that I was incredibly lucky to befriend the people I did, not just because they are wonderful, but because they’ve also helped me overcome barriers to my social fulfillment. At the very least, it would have been much more difficult for me to have such a rich social life if I didn’t have the friends I did.

 

Contact Kiara Hardig at kiluha ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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