Who are you?
Which bubbles do you color in on a test? What were the results of your latest BuzzFeed quiz? Were you Elsa, Anna, or Olaf? Is Chandler, Joey, or Ross your soul mate? We love those quizzes. I love those quizzes. We take them to learn more about ourselves. I’m Elsa, Monica, Rory, Alice, and Luna… so far.
Naturally, we are self-focused people. For the sake of introspection, it’s okay. Actually, it’s good. Get to know yourself. Since I can’t get to know you right now, let me help you get to know me.
Hi, I’m Alexis.
If you were to meet me for the first time, I think I can guess a few words that might pop into your head. Shy, quiet, and nice may come to mind. If you continue talking to me, I commend you because I’m not the most fantastic conversationalist. Give me a pen and I’ll quickly fill up a page, but force me to open my mouth and I’m stuck.
While I may come across even-tempered and relatively calm, I can guarantee you that a million and one thoughts are dashing through my mind. People who know me extremely well wouldn’t dare put my name within three paragraphs of the word calm. If the conversation miraculously continues to go off without a hitch, the words friendly and sweet will probably be added to your adjectives to describe me.
If you happen to be quite the Chatty Cathy, well, you’re in luck. I’ve been told by numerous reputable sources that I have some high quality listening skills. So go ahead; talk away. I’ll be all ears and very engaged.
Inside I might be dying a little.
I mean, I just met you and small talk doesn’t thrill me, but not to worry, I won’t let any of those thoughts show. If I excuse myself for a drink or suddenly find the tablecloth fascinating, chances are you’ve overwhelmed me with your extroverted nature, and I need to recharge before resuming your monologue, excuse me, our “conversation.”
Although I’m generally perceived in the way I’ve described above, sometimes people have a different reaction. I will admit that based on the situation and my mood at the time, my first impression expressions can and probably will vary.
In a rather large group, if I’m intimidated, I may instruct my walls to shoot up before even opening the door. In this case, I will most likely appear unapproachable. My resting face will be less than pleasant, and I could get out a compass to show you how far I am from the words sweet and nice.
Yes, this angelic, lovely, sweet-as-pie human being has been perceived as stuck up.
Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. Because I prefer not to wear my heart on my sleeve (not really my style), I can come across as uninterested. I’m a tough nut to crack and not easily readable. Luckily for me, there are some people in this world who specialize in nut cracking. These are the humans who will walk up to strangers, flash a smile you just can’t ignore, and strike up a natural conversation.
I like those people. They will tell you that even though it takes a while to get to know me, the walls do come down every once in a while revealing quite a different person than expected.
Just by looking in the mirror at yourself, you can’t truly objectively see who you are. You’ll always be biased. Even though I can paint a picture of how I probably come across to others, I have no way of being 100% accurate. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall and observe myself. I’d learn, cringe, and most likely change a lot.
What I do know is how I perceive myself. In high school, I had to make an acrostic out of M&M’s using words that describe myself. The center of the chocolate masterpiece was the word introspective.
Introspection: “a reflective looking inward; an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.”
Partly by choice and partly by genetics, I spend much of my time inside my own head. I walk around, explore caves, and make note of every treasure (pretty or ugly) I find. So that is why I can say with full confidence that I am a wolf.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m a wolf. According to BuzzFeed my Myers Briggs personality test results match up to what happens to be my all-time favorite animal – a wolf.
My four-letter personality type consists of the words introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging. Not to brag, but only one percent of the population can be labeled an INFJ, making me the most rare of all the types. (I’ll sign autographs later.) After taking the test and reading my personality type description, I knew instantaneously that I was looking in the mirror.
Recharging my battery can only be done with me, myself, and I. While I do appreciate a few close friends and enjoy spending time with them, I need my alone time. Without it, my level of sanity just might plummet. Considering its resting point is already dangerously low, this would not be good.
I never take things simply at face value. Instead, I use my intuition and gut to add my own thoughts and meanings. Some may call it being cynical, skeptical, or pessimistic, but I call it being smart. Even though I do use a lot of logic and reasoning, emotions have the ability to trump all of it when it comes to making decisions. Finally, the J in my label means I prefer to be structured and organized.
In case you haven’t had the “aha” moment regarding my relation to wolves, let me help you out. Wolves have a reputation of being mysterious, right? Well, so do I. Remember when you first met me way back on page one? Chances are you got to know the surface-level me, but going deeper was nearly impossible.
Don’t take it personally. I’m like that with everyone.
We’re all onions, but chopping through with a knife doesn’t work on me.
Instead, you have to peel back the many layers one by one which takes quite a bit of time, effort, and tears. It’s not until I truly trust someone that they are privy to the depths of my soul. Until then, I shall remain mysterious.
Wolves are also protectors of those they care about, just like yours truly over here. Actually, my name “Alexis” means “defender of man.” Turns out my parents picked the perfect name.
If we’re honest with ourselves and each other, we’ll admit that we make lasting judgments based on first impressions that last a mere three seconds or so. In the first scenario, when I came across friendly and nice, you’d probably be open to getting to know me more.
But in the second scenario, the one where I seemed stuck up, running into each other at the next gathering and exchanging simple pleasantries with a side of fake smiling would be the extent of our relationship.
Let’s say the second scenario was the one that actually occurred. A possible friendship was lost.
Whose fault was it?
Was it yours for judging this mystery book by its cover and writing me off? Or was it mine for not letting my guard down enough to convey at least a touch of friendliness? I think we both messed up.
Letting our natural tendency to label someone after a few seconds isn’t fair to the other person or us. In the same way, making an effort to be nice, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone, always pays off in the end. I’ll do my part if you’ll do yours.
Great. Now let’s start over.
Hi, I’m Alexis. What’s your name?