The other day I was talking to a friend about personality types, and she asked me if I had ever taken a personality assessment. I know I took the Myers-Briggs a couple of times in college, but that was a million years ago, so I thought I’d find an online version and test my adult self.
The test told me what I already know: I am an introvert.
That’s right, I’m shy. I’m not comfortable in crowded social situations, especially when I’m surrounded by more strangers than acquaintances. I’d much rather listen in the background than stand in the spotlight. If given the choice between attending a social event at which I don’t know most of the guests and staying home to read a book, the book will always win. And my definition of relaxation typically involves being alone.
Those aren’t exactly personality traits that lend themselves to military life. As military spouses, we’re constantly moving, saying good-bye to friends and meeting new people. When we’re not moving, our husbands are deploying, leaving us alone on the home-front to fend for ourselves. We need to get out there, socialize, commiserate, form support systems. We can’t hide out at home and read books. We can’t be introverts.
My best friend is the walking definition of an extrovert. Since I’ve known her, she has pushed me (sometimes literally) outside my comfort zone and forced me to shed some my introversion tendencies. Without her and the other handful of extroverted mil spouses I’ve met along the way, I wouldn’t have the network of friends I have now, those mil spouses who have become the support system I rely on. I would probably still be home reading a book, wondering how anyone could possibly enjoy being a military spouse.
I do think it takes a certain personality to be a military spouse. This job isn’t for the weak. We need to be adaptable, independent, adventurous, patient, mentally tough. And yes, a touch of extroversion helps.
I’d like to think I've got most of those personality traits covered, which is why I’ve lasted as long as I have as a mil spouse. As far as extroversion, I’m just thankful for my friends who let me borrow some of theirs every now and then.
What kind of personality do you think it takes to be a MilSpouse?