Everyone that knows me in real life assumes I’m an extrovert. I’m friendly, can navigate groups, and enjoy talking to people. Introverts are categorized as being closed, cold, and quiet. I’m none of those things. I genuinely like spending time with people. However, I definitely need to “recharge” with some alone time. That is the true test of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert – where do you derive your energy? How do you recharge?
Here’s an example, my best friend is the definition of an extrovert. She knows all of her neighbors and can talk endlessly to them about the day’s happenings, and the events affecting their neighborhood. She has hordes of friends whom think the world of her. Conversely, not long ago, Mr. Moe and I were on a neighborhood walk; and as we circled back to our house saw our (very nice but chatty) neighbors outside. We detoured around the corner to do an extra lap to avoid the mindless chatter of the day. If that wasn’t bad enough, by the time we circled back – they were still out. Instead of succumbing to pleasantries that would drag on for about an hour (it was the end of a very long day), we skirted the back of our house (our windows were open) and broke into our own home to avoid it. Who does that? An introvert… Just because I’m friendly, doesn’t mean I want to fill my days with chatter soon forgotten. I enjoy a long and meaningful conversation and a few close relationships. I don’t have hordes of friends who adore me. Introverts are hard to get close to, but once you have, our loyalty and intimacy is unmatched.
Mr. Moe is more extroverted than I (no one believes this, but it’s true). He used to always offer me rides home from work so we could spend some time together before going home. Yet, I nearly always opt for the bus. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy his company. He is my absolute favorite person on this Earth – hands down. I adore this man like no one has adored another human. However, to be my best me – I need to decompress, bury my nose in a book, and be surrounded with strangers (not co-workers) that I am under no obligation to communicate with. Every day I’m at work I use my lunch break to walk around outside (or a neighboring shopping center) always alone. Almost the rest of my co-workers coordinate lunches to travel in packs. After initially squirming through dozens of invitations to politely decline – they’ve finally understood, that I need some me time. I need to recharge. Extroverts find this odd, but introverts understand this perfectly. Just because we like to be alone doesn’t mean we’re unfriendly, unkind, or anti-social. I am self-actualized enough to understand what I need to be my best, I must give myself some time to recharge. By the end of my 25-minute bus ride or lunch walk, I’m ready to reintegrate with renewed focus and energy. As I’ve gotten a bit older (and hopefully wiser) I’ve let go of the guilt allowing myself recharge time.