Being an introvert doesn’t mean I’m always shy, never speak out, or don’t like people. Or that I won’t talk to you or be friendly. Or that I always want to be left alone.
I’ve gotten pretty good at introducing myself to people I don’t know over the years. But it depends on my mood. For me, social interaction is draining. I can go to a get-together, have fun meeting new people and talking to old friends, and truly enjoy myself. But when I get home, I’m probably going to need a nap.
How social I’m feeling at any given moment has a lot to do with how mentally and physically tired I am. It takes a lot of energy to introduce myself to someone in a room full of strangers, or to carry on witty conversation with a group of friends. Being “on” is exhausting, and if I have no reserves to draw from, I’ll probably end up in a corner just watching everyone else.
During events like conferences and vacations to visit family (especially my husband’s large family), I have to take little “time outs” where I go to my room and chill. Or go for a run alone. Without those moments, I’d never survive.
The extroverts I know are the opposite. They get their energy from being with others. They thrive on group interaction. The longer the party, the better.
When I lived in another State, I was friends with one of my neighbors. Whenever we made plans for lunch, she’d invariably have invited four more people by the time the date rolled around. So, here I’m expecting a quiet chance to get to know her better and it’s suddenly a party where I hardly get to talk to her at all.
Another thing I’ve noticed about myself—and this may have more to do with where I fall on other measures of personality type—is that the more emotional someone gets, the more withdrawn I become.
On the inside, I might be just as excited or upset, but the stronger her outward response, the more I shut down. Strong displays of emotion are energy sinks as much as social interactions are. Maybe more.
I probably appear cold or unfeeling, when really, I’m just hiding out in my protective shell. It’s not a conscious choice, it just is. So, if you’re prone to lots of drama, you’ll likely think I’m a beeyotch. I’m sure I have my bad moments, but generally, I’m just trying to survive the energy-sucking onslaught.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you can’t thrive in the public eye. It just means sometimes you have to take a break from the crowds.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? How does it affect you?
Photo credit: By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (Hiding Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons