I had lunch yesterday with a friend (one of the few who reads this blog, so say hi), and we were talking about a trip he took last year where he spent a couple of days wandering alone around Tokyo and eating unidentifiable foods off of conveyor belts. Referring to being alone in Tokyo with only moderate Japanese, he said "It isn't a bad way for an introvert to explore a city."
I would never have described him as an introvert. Introspective, sure, but he's an artist and I think a tendency to live in your own head goes with the territory there, but not an introvert. Since then, I've been thinking about the differences between how we describe ourselves and how others describe us. For example, I would definitely call myself an introvert, but if you met me, depending on when and how you met me, you might have a very different opinion. Meeting and talking to new people is such a horrifying prospect for me that I sometimes go a little nuts and talk non-stop until I have utterly humiliated myself and made everyone on the room a little embarrassed for me, and if you were unfortunate enough to witness one of those displays you would likely call me many things, but not an introvert.
This friend of mine, though, we have been friends for nearly eight years. I certainly don't know everything about him, but I know a lot, and I was surprised to discover such a difference between the way I see him and the way he sees himself. Maybe he does the same thing I do, puts on an act to cover it up (but with far less humiliation, to his eternal credit), or maybe it really is just a difference of perception. Maybe it is just the difference between the view from the inside and the view from the outside.
Since I've got this on the brain, I thought we would make a little game of it. (You know how much I love playing games with the internet.) What's a word you use to describe yourself that you think would be surprising to someone who knows you fairly well? I suppose as this is my game I have to go first, which I hate. After great deliberation, my word would be "insecure," and I suppose you can tell me whether that is surprising or not.