I Took a Quiz and It Told Me I’m a Social Butterfly

I took one of those quizzes the other day that’s supposed to tell you what kind of person you are. I rarely take those quizzes because I don’t care what a computer says; I know who I am. I am the certain person I have always been. I am a realist, I am an observer, I make jokes about everything. I am quiet and only speak when I have something good to say. In that way I am mysterious. People are surprised by the things that come out of my mouth because I like to fly under the radar. Throughout my life, people’s general reaction towards me has been: What? Who are you?

I took the quiz and it told me I am a “social butterfly.” I know it’s just a dumb quiz but the craziest thing about it is the fact that it’s true. I have become an incredibly social person in my late twenties. Anyone that has met me in the past few years would probably describe me that way. Which again, is insane because that is not who I thought I was.

There’s evidence that I definitely wasn’t that person when I was younger. And it makes sense why I was so mortified to talk to people, mostly boys, in my adolescence. I was so uncomfortable with who I was I couldn’t stand to hold a conversation with anyone. They’d have to look at me. I’d have to look at them. But what doesn’t make sense is why I kept that outdated idea of who I was for so long.

For too many years, I thought it was cool to not care and make fun of those who did. Now I have become the person I used to make fun of. I literally chair my office’s party committee. Who am I? It’s nerdy and thankless work. Everyone likes a good party but no one wants to actually organize it, decorate and book entertainment. To do that would be to admit you care about something so insignificant as workplace camaraderie. Back when I was stupid and thought I knew better, I would have attended the event but barely, on the sidelines, critiquing every aspect.

Of course I still do this. It’s fun to critique people’s parties. That’s why weddings are fun. But now I give people more slack. I know the work involved in organizing something and mustering enough enthusiasm for the whole crowd. I am more of an active participant now in events. I like dancing, so I dance. I don’t care what I look like. I don’t care that I care deeply about the state of my office’s party planning. It’s crossed my mind that I’m in danger of becoming a mascot. I don’t want that distinction. I want to be respected for my work and for my contributions to people’s happiness. Is that crazy?

I’ve been reading women’s magazines since I could drive to Barnes and Noble. There’s something I’ve read over and over throughout the years but never really believed: Things really take off in your thirties. This is not something anyone younger than 27 can comprehend because there is so much emphasis placed on your debaucherous, free-wheeling twenties. In your twenties you have your youth and beauty and tolerance for shots. Everything after 29 is just a sad, mournful look back at what you had and how you’ll never get it back.

Your twenties are for experimentation, you see what you like and what you don’t ever want to do again. You finally taste freedom. This is an exciting concept for a young person. But you know what’s even better? Finally finding out what you like and putting your foot down. Experimentation is exciting and then it’s exhausting. I still have a lot more to learn about who I am but I am closer now then I ever have been to knowing myself. I don’t always like the person I am but as I approach 30, there’s a new freedom in accepting who I am and working to be the best version of that.

Brooklyn-based writer raised in the Connecticut suburbs. Words at Slate, Washington Post, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency / https://alikelley.com/