You know those people who love to fill every minute of their down time with plans? Those who live for the weekends, to go out and be social? Dinner with the girls Friday night, drinks and dancing Saturday night and beach all day with the crew Sunday? You know, the people who see the weekend as an opportunity to be as social as possible.
Well, I am not one of those people.
“No you’re not!” She exclaimed in shock – half expecting me to say I was joking. “You are far too sociable and outgoing to be an introvert. You are definitely an extrovert,” she protested.
Firstly, you don’t know me! Secondly, thank you for the lovely compliments. But thirdly, you’re wrong! I am an introvert.
I totally understand why she would say that though. I am bubbly and animated. I am friendly, happy and I pretty much always smiling or laughing. I generally have a lot of energy and have on many occasions been likened to an excitable puppy. (Think golden retriever pup discovering it’s tail for the first time). I can also be pretty chatty. Very chatty in fact. To anyone from the outside looking in, I am a lively little extrovert.
I may not appear to fit the stereotypical mould of what is perceived as a classic ‘introvert’, but truthfully I am.
You see, people have a bit of a confused perception of what it really means to be an introvert. Introverts are shy. Introverts don’t like people. Introverts always want to be alone. These are just some of the myths people believe about introverts. However, what really makes a person an introvert or extrovert is how they obtain their energy. Generally, extroverts thrive in social situations. They are energised by being around people. This is the opposite of introverts, who are energised by being alone.
And that’s exactly why I fit into the latter category.
When the weekend comes, I am the person who gets excited to hermit for two days straight. To roll myself up in a blanket burrito and watch a movie. Not much makes me happier than doing a whole lot of nothing with me,myself and I. (Other than doing a whole lot of nothing with my man). That’s my idea of bliss. Mention a night out of drinking or a party of more than 10 people and I am basically spun into a spiral of social anxiety. Those are the sort of things that exhaust me. Drain me. Not necessarily physically, but mentally.
Extroverts love being surrounded by people. They are generally the life of the party and don’t mind being the centre of attention. They feel energised by group interactions and get bored easily on their own. Introverts… not so much. Introverts think a lot and require their alone time to recharge and process life’s happenings. It’s not that we are anti-social or shy or even loners. It’s just that is how we roll.
In large social situations like parties, events or anything that involves a room full of strangers, introverts can become overwhelmed, anxious and uncomfortable. I for one, recluse in these scenarios and feel as if I cannot be my true self. What introverts need is a reason to interact. We don’t interact just for the sake of it. We think for ourselves and just want everyone to be real and honest. Making small talk doesn’t come naturally. We won’t say anything unless we have something to say. But get us chatting about something we are interested in or passionate about and we won’t shut up! It’s all about one-on-one quality time with close friends and like-minded individuals.
Truth is, most people aren’t 100% extroverted or 100% introverted. You can be an extrovert who has introverted qualities or an introvert that has extroverted qualities. It basically comes down to how you recharge your energy? Do you need to be around others or do you require solo time to renergise? Do you feel bored when you are on your own or do you live for those moments?
If you are interested in finding out more about introversion and extroversion I suggest reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain. You can even do this personality test to see where you sit on the scale. (This test is what confirmed to me, exactly what I suspected all this time… I am an extroverted-introvert)
Love Elo xx
Photograph by @jypsea_