Friday, April 11, 2014

Did You Know I'm an Introvert?

The other day we were talking about something with Havelock, when suddenly he blurted out, "It's just that you two are introverts!"

That kind of stopped me in my tracks.

I'm an introvert? What?

I'd always considered myself an outgoing type of person. One time when my parent's car broke down, my parents decided to let me drive home with the tow truck driver because I was the only one of my siblings that would actually talk to him.

The google dictionary defines introverts as:
a shy, reticent, and typically self-centered person.
If that is the definition of introverts, then I definitely don't think I'm introverted. However, according to other people, being an introvert has little to do with being shy (or selfish). According to another source:

Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

This actually explains me pretty well. Though there are exceptions to this, I really like to think of myself as an extroverted-introvert. I love people and I like to be around them....for small periods of time. However, small groups of people can be energizing to me, especially if they are family or friends.

Large groups of people, on the other hand, can be very draining to me. When I was a kid, we would have these huge Thanksgiving celebrations with lots of extended family that I didn't always know that well. Sometimes, me and a couple of my other siblings would go hide in the closet, turn off the lights, lay on the floor, and sing. My dad got pretty upset that we weren't socializing, and honestly I've grown out of hiding from social situations, but at the time it seemed necessary. Large groups of people are still pretty overwhelming, but I can muscle through it and enjoy it much better than I used to.

I really like having my alone time. If I don't get some down-time away from people, I can get pretty tired. I do get energized from being around my husband, son, and other close family and friends. I also love having company over and I try to do it frequently. In general though, I also really like the moment when the house is empty again and we can relax.

According to this same source, an extrovert is a person who gains energy from being around people. I don't think I've ever been that way.

This was a surprising realization for me.

Socializing has always kind of been an issue for me. Knowing and understand social cues as well as what is appropriate in social situations has always been a struggle. Those actions don't just come naturally for me. I've had to learn how best to react when people say certain things and how to respond to different information so that I don't offend people. It often takes a lot of concentration for me to behave appropriately around other people. I'm not sure what that says about me.

I do love people and I like spending time with others. Please don't take this as a suggestion that you stay away so you don't drain my energy. Rather, this was just a surprising realization for me that helps me to understand myself better so I can better use my energy when I am around others.

Hopefully this can help someone else understand themselves better as well.

Are you an extroverted or an introverted person? How do you get energy? Tell me in the comments. I'm interested to know.
Growing up in a large family doesn't make you an extrovert. Surprise!


  1. I am a major introvert, even with my kids. Nap time is sane time for me so that I am ready to be a good mom again when the kids get back up (for this reason, when they refuse to nap--like right this minute--it really stresses me out).

    1. I kind of feel the same way. If I don't get my 1-2 hour break in the afternoon, I feel stressed out too. Whew. Guess I got to learn to deal with that too eventually. ;)

    2. Yeah, I know that someday nap time is going to go away and I don't know WHAT I'm going to do then! (Grow? Learn? Mature?)

  2. Hahaaaa! I am like YOU!! You described pretty accurately how I feel. Although I do find, after a long conversation with some even in my own family, pretty drained. Especially if there is tension/unspoken stuff that us important. ....and I your dad is funny because HE also hides in crowded social family situations. I guess we want our kids to be better than us...I also urge my children to go socialize when friends are over...& then leave & spend longer in the bathroom than I need to checking stuff on my phone :)

    1. Ha ha! You know, I never noticed Dad going to hide. It is funny that you point things out that I didn't know. I always thought Dad was the social one. It's true though, that I want Kevin to go and say hello to people even when I don't want to.

  3. You and I probably also give a good appearance of being social. Well, me only when I am not scowling and being antisocial.