For quite a long time, my understanding of the introverted and extroverted personality traits was only through stereotypes. I thought of ‘introverts’ as being primarily reclusive individuals who didn’t like others very much and preferred their own company. On the flip side, ‘extroverts’ seemed to be party animals who could never calm down – they were always excited and always talking.
I could not identify myself as being either of those extremes, so I mentally labeled myself an ambivert (aka, not sure where I fit in – maybe a bit from both) and called it a day.
It has only been recently that I’ve looked at these traits as referring to how an individual “recharges,” or spends their down time. Stereotypes can be hard to get around, but when you take a bit of time to explore a subject and get the societal norms out of your head, it’s usually fairly easy to discover where you fit in.
I am, beyond a shadow of a doubt, an introvert. I don’t shy away from that term now, because I know what it actually means!
On 16 Personalities, there’s an article that says introverts “…need time alone to regather their energy and restore their calm.” That is absolutely true of myself – I love spending time socializing and having fun with the people I love, but I am always drawn to taking a break afterward. After an event where I’ve interacted with people I don’t know that well, I become very quiet, preferring to listen to my favorite music and maybe tackle some projects around the house instead of verbally reflecting on the conversations and experiences I’ve just had.
When it comes to social interaction for me, I feel very much like I’m on stage. Whether I’m “performing” for an audience that I hardly know or one that I am well acquainted with, I easily reach the point of exhaustion – downtime afterward is a must.
For a while, I really felt like I “should” be extroverted, because I thought introverts didn’t like people, whereas extroverts did.
I realize now I should quit basing my beliefs off of stereotypes and do my research. lol
That’s not at all what it means! I hope that you know the difference too, and if you didn’t until reading this post, maybe now you do. 😉
Here’s another token of wisdom from 16 Personalities: “For instance, a stereotypical Advocate (my personality type) could be very quiet in an unfamiliar social setting, but popular among colleagues or highly outspoken in an event that focuses on one of their passions.” I cannot tell you how true this is for me. I can easily become the life of the party when I’m comfortable with the people I’m with and we’re discussing something I’m interested in and/or passionate about! In other circumstances, especially ones that contain at least one unfamiliar element, I remain much more reserved.
Whether I enjoy a social event or it’s challenging for me to be comfortable while I’m there, I always recharge afterward by having alone time.
Here are some things I’ve learned that have helped me to remain comfortable in everyday life as an introvert:
- Give myself ample time after socializing to recharge. This does not give me an excuse to snap at people who don’t realize I need some time to process everything, which is why it’s important for me to express how I’m feeling so that they’ll be aware of how I feel.
- Recognize the difference between wanting downtime and needing downtime. It is not a rule of thumb that I must have time to myself once I return home from an outing. Acknowledging this and being open to helping one of my brothers with something, staying with Elizabeth and Izzy, etc., when I don’t need downtime yet is important, because I don’t want to be selfish and insistent about it.
- Evaluate how social events make me feel & if I should repeat them in the future. Feeling overwhelmed after spending time with others isn’t necessarily a sign that it’s bad for me, but sometimes, feeling shell-shocked afterward is a good indication that it is! I learn more about myself every time after I interact with people, about when I should stay inside my comfort zone and when I should jump out of it, etc. There are plenty of social settings that I’ve eased away from because I realized I wasn’t comfortable enough with the people, or something else about it wasn’t sitting right with me.
- Regularly find ways to enjoy being with my family. Whether that’s weekend projects, game night, watching a movie, making an art project, telling jokes, or visiting a new place, I want to be actively involved in nourishing my relationships with my family members. Even if we find out we’re not compatible with each other for a certain activity, I don’t want to lose hope – I’ll keep searching until I find things that I enjoy doing with all of them!
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed learning more about this introvert. 🙂