I’m a classical introvert.
No one ever believes me when I tell them that, and indeed, I didn’t believe it the first time someone told me I was an introvert either.
‘Introvert’ has been the year’s buzzword, in my opinion, after the publication of several books on the topic, most notably Susan Cain’s “Quiet”.
Introverts, we are taught, get energy from being alone. Extroverts get energy from being around people. Introverts are drained of energy when around people and need time alone to recuperate.
Those are really the only definitions of introversion/extroversion. There are a number of traits that are often applied to introverts though, that they’re shy, not very talkative, don’t enjoy physical contact, making speeches, don’t have a huge circle of friends but rather a few close ones and a host of others.
Which is true of many, many introverts.
But not me. I’m very (some say too much!) talkative.
I have a fairly large number of people I consider close friends.
I’m an excellent public speaker.
I always speak with cashiers (and have no trouble speaking with people I don’t know)
But I’m so extremely introverted in other ways. We recently went on a trip abroad with my master program, and after 4 days away, I needed a week to catch up with myself. It’s kinda like a hangover, I’ve overdone the socializing and will feel bad for a little while.
I don’t particularly enjoy clubbing. Give me a nice dinner any day.
I loathe mingles (but I do them rather well. But not for longer than an hour or two)
I love having friends over but I have no qualms about telling them to go home after a while. (which is rude, I know)
However, what my point is, is that introverts usually enjoy spending time with people. I know I do. I love people. I love meeting new ones. But it needs to be in limited doses. Just because I sit down for a while and don’t say anything doesn’t mean I’m sad. I just need a break.
It’s something I need to learn how to balance in my coming work-life, and something that’s always good to reflect on. How do you get energy? Do you get energy from the same things that make you happy?
And the need to be alone isn’t the same as wanting to be lonely. Loneliness is awful and isolating.