I use to refer to myself as an “extroverted introvert” because I truly enjoy hanging out with people I like. It’s fun and I look forward to it. I always assumed that introverts were loners and shut-ins who couldn’t handle socializing. I absolutely did not want to be associated with a recluse type personality.
For example, I just googled “definition of an introvert” and Google’s first answer is “a shy, reticent person.”
It wasn’t until I was in college that I actually read and understood the definition of an introvert. I did a bit of digging and found a definition from an article featured on Fast Company that explains:
Introverts (or those of us with introverted tendencies) tend to recharge by spending time alone. They lose energy from being around people for long periods of time, particularly large crowds.
The article goes on to explain that the difference between an extrovert and an introvert is not one or the other, but falls on more of a spectrum. The important take away for me is not whether I’m shy or not, but where I draw my energy from.
I mean, I was in theater and performing arts programs all through university. So I found aligning myself as an introvert confusing. But, understanding that I thrive best when I have my designated alone time really helped me become a more content person. Here are the main things that I’ve learned to love about being an introvert:
- Finding a bit of happy relies solely on me. Being an introvert means I know that a bit of quiet time alone is exactly what I need to get reenergized.
- Some of my favorite beings in the world are my pups. It’s weird but we communicate without talking. Just understanding that snuggles and belly rubs make both of us happy.
- Smaller group settings are my jam. Being it a large, crowded room makes me slightly anxious and it’s hard for me to figure out who to talk to, where to stand, etc. Smaller gatherings – of say, less than 10 people – make it easier for me to connect with everyone without feeling overwhelmed.
- I’m not shy, I’m reserved. And I love that about myself. I have no problem talking with people (especially if I know that’s what we’re both at an event for). It’s fun to listen and ask questions and figure out how we’re connected.
- I have tons of casual friends but a select few close friends consisting of my husband, my mom, and my sister. My casual friends are great for coffee or dinner dates. My close friends are there for me when I need to vent or a shoulder to cry on.
- I’m independent. If there was a restaurant I wanted to try or a city I wanted to travel to, I’d just go. I’ve always been that way. People looked at me cross-eyed when I went to live in Italy for a month only having met my classmates once before traveling. They also side-eyed me when I flew to California for Vidcon by myself twice. *shrugs* I don’t wait for another friend to like what I’m in to. If I want to do something, I just go solo.
- I’m never bored. Literally. I don’t even know what bored looks like. I’ve always got a Netflix show I’m watching, a crochet project to finish, a book to dive into, etc. Even if I feel like doing none of those things, the internet is so freaking vast that I could spend hours enjoying a scroll through Reddit or Tumblr.
- I feel hella intuitive. This one is hard to confirm but there have been instances in the past where I’ve known about someone’s sexuality before they came out (and everyone else was shocked). I can tell when two people are secretly sleeping together. Mind you, this intuition seems to only become apparent when I observe the nuances of casual acquaintances. When it comes to close friends and family, my intuition is a lot harder to pin down.
To wrap up this post, I do want to clarify a few things. When I was really young, I didn’t understand my introverted tendencies. In fact, in 2nd grade, my teacher would frequently send notes home to my mom about how I wouldn’t talk in class. Back then, it was shyness combined with not understanding the loudness of my classmates. I didn’t break out of that shell until high school.
These days, you’ll find it hard to get me to shut up! Making up for lost time, I guess. :-p
So tell me, do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert? Why or why not?