I've realized lately that I have what I deemed a "compensatory personality."
It means I compensate for whoever I'm surrounded by, if I need to.
I've been described by some people as shy. I've never considered myself shy. What I do notice is that I can take a front seat, or a back seat, depending on the personalities I'm near at the moment.
Case in point, I was once friends with a group where two or three were very dominant and loud personalities. I was considered, "Quiet." If strong personalities dominate, I let them do it, and I don't go out of my way to be heard or known.
Other case in point: I'm friends with a couple of really quiet individuals. Because they are quiet, it puts me in the front seat--making up for what they might not have or say or do. These quiet people would say that I'm very loud, passionate, funny, and opinionated. This might surprise the loud group of people who knew me.
In Relief Society, I have to conduct meetings a lot. I'm very smiley and outgoing and cheery. They're quiet and looking up at me. I'm in a leadership position, so that's the seat I take. It's my job to know who the girls are, to make sure they know who I am, and to inform them of activities and things going on. I'm loud and outgoing because I just have to be.
In my family (mom's side), everyone is very loud and smiley and cheery. They view me as being kind of serious and somber. They might think I'm a little better than I used to be, but they still probably don't think I'm quite as silly as they are. And why am I not? Because I just don't need to be. They do it for me.
Isn't this weird? I'm a really strange girl, I decided. I'm not consistently one way or another. My behavior depends on the situation. I can be intimidating, or I can be intimidated. I can be dominating, or I can be dominated.
I'm not sure what I think about this aspect of my personality. But what I do know is that the leadership, the loud, passionate, opinionated girl who just doesn't hold back, is the real me. The one that doesn't feel bound down or spoken for or outdone, generally speaking.
The other thing that I'm aware of is that I like other people like me. Because when I'm with another person like me, we both balance out the front and back seat. We know when to be quiet and hear the other person. We don't expect that this person will be quiet or be loud in any given situation. We just are. I like someone to challenge my thoughts, balance my passion with their submission, and balance my silence with their passion.
Bring me more of these friends, please.
Holy self-indulgent and reflective blog post, Batman.
Sorry if this was boring, kids. I just needed to write about it to make my thoughts clearer. A widely read expert in the education field today said that writing "births ideas." Instead of, "Now you see it; now you don't," writing makes ideas into "Now you don't see it; now you do." What an excellent way to put it.