21 June 2011

Introverts and Extroverts

Picture the Introvert.
Call up his face in your mind.
What do you see? A pale, thin, knock-kneed, spectacle wearing stammerer huddled in the corner over his book?

Would it surprise you to know that I am an introvert?
OK, so at one point I actually was a pale thin spectacle wearing shy-girl huddled in the corner over my book... but these days it might not be so easy to pick me out as the introverted type.

My Public Speaking Days...

I'm friendly and inclusive and have plenty of friends. I chat and laugh, I can be silly. I get dressed up and don't mind making a fool of myself. I've done plenty of public speaking. I bare my soul to the world on a regular basis.

How can I say that I am an introvert if I can be outgoing, friendly and socially confident?

Because introversion and extroversion have nothing to do with whether you are friendly or not.
Its about where you get your emotional energy. What drains that energy and what replenishes it.

Introverts get their energy from alone time. Or from time one-on-one with a friend. Being in crowds drains us. Social contact drains us. We might enjoy it... but afterwards we need to get away somewhere quiet to get re-energised.

Extroverts are the opposite. Extroverts are energised by people contact. Socialising re-charges their emotional batteries. People-contact is to an extrovert what water is to a fish.
They need it. Too much alone time drains them.

Introverts are the minority in our family.
My husband is a raging extrovert, a life-of-the-party type.
Two of our three kids take after him. Miss Fab and Scrag are people-people to the max.

Miss Fab gets twitchy if she has to spend too much time alone.
She needs social contact. Being surrounded by people energises her, revitalises her.
She comes home from school hungry for more.

Dash on the other hand, he takes after me. A friendly introvert.
He makes friends easily and mixes well. He's likable and outgoing, not shy in the least.
But. After a day of people contact at school he needs down time.
The days when there is football practise straight after school...? High possibility of a meltdown unless he gets some time to himself.

He loved the idea of sharing a room with Scrag. But after a few months the reality set in. No alone time.
He needs the ability to close the door and be with himself after a peopled-out day.
So he decided he'd rather have the smallest room in the house to himself, than share a large room with his brother.
Its no bigger than a cupboard but it's all his. And it has a door.

It really helps as a parent to know how my kids are wired. I know that I need to provide Dash with down time or he will fall apart. I know I need to provide Miss Fab with lots of opportunity for playing with others or she will erupt. And Scrag...? Scrag becomes destructive if left in his own company for too long.
It helps to know this about my kids! I can avert disaster far more easily.

Click here for the full Personality Test

So what about you...? Are you an introvert... or an extrovert?
{and how about those kids of yours?}

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jacksta said...

great insights here Simone

Anonymous said...

I too am an introvert. :)

Pamela said...

Great post! Now, I am sitting here re-examining my children and their needs.

leanne can blog said...

My son sound like yours, his alone time after school is bouncing endlessly on the trampoline with a ball.

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

Me: Introvert, Hubby: Introvert (but less so than me?) Mr Nearly 5 is also, and hmmm bit hard to say yet with Mr Nearly 2 - will have to wait and see!

Great thoughts on how to recognise and respond to the various personality types to ensure that we and our kids get the kind of interactions we need :-)

Dee said...

I have been waiting for a post like this (was actually thinking of writing one). Far too much baggage attached the the word introvert. I am one also. I'm not shy. I'm social, friendly, and I love people & actually quite enjoy public speaking. I get energy from socializing but *too much* socializing is draining & makes me crave time out. Same as you--and all the rest of us who have been hesitant to label ourselves as such because of the common misperception that introverts are dull and insecure. Another great post--thanks Simoney! :) xx

Elizabeth said...

Me extrovert - but not the 'life of the party' type, just the 'need social interaction regularly' type!

Hubby introvert - he'd spend every evening and every weekend at home with just us, as he deals with people all day!

So by the time he gets home - I am going crazy if I haven't been out (actually, I tend to get depressed), whereas he just needs time to unwind!

Still working out Button, not easy to tell at 13 months ;-)!

remaliah said...

I really enjoy personality 'stuff' and understanding myself and others more. It helps SO often in friendships and relationships (in theory, most of the time!) I'm also an introvert, but often people are *sure* I'm an extrovert for the same reasons you and Dee mentioned. I really don't like the idea of solitude, but when I'm tired I like to have space to myself knowing that others are nearby! I also enjoy public speaking and it doesn't freak me out. So interesting. We're not sure what our girls are. We suspect we have a little extrovert in our midst...it will be fun to see how they develop :) Great post...I really enjoy the mix of posts you have on here!

The Woven Moments said...

Is it weird that I think I'm both? Or at least have both inside me?

Jen said...

"Picture the Introvert.
Call up his face in your mind."

instantly I think of me

Im all right when I know people
however as much as I am looking forward to going to a 40th 70s based party on the weekend its also freaking me out - just the between the 2 of us and anyone else who reads this LOL

I always without doubt feel awkward at social gatherings
maybe Im talking things into existence
Im ok while people talk to me
Im not when I suddenly become the person in the room that while surrounded by people am all alone

I think it comes from my years at school

I know that I can go up to someone and talk about their costume
its the dread of picturing myself in that alone state
I know my boys will be with me
until they find the other kids

BTW Ive never wore specs
I have LOVED books forever
I know what its like to need that space - I realized why I like my bed to myself before I go to sleep at night - its my alone time after sharing the rest of the day with others

dearfutureme... said...

Awesome post! I just found out Im an introvert - although I think I used to be an extrovert! I like people, but less so than I used to... hehe.

Widge said...

Can't work out what I am, I fit into both. Friends would call me extroverted, hubby doesn't think so ;)
I think the need and realization that we can enjoy time alone comes with age. Spending quality time with someone I love totally fills my tank. Hanging out at a party not so much. So I guess that answers it :)

Ann Kroeker said...

Friendly introvert. That's me. That's most of my family, actually.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post on the differences and nuances! I am an introvert too but people around me don't understand that since I am bubbly, friendly and chatty in social circumstances. They even find it difficult to believe I struggle to keep conversations going with new people since outwardly I seem to be doing fine. I didn't know how to put it across to them but this is a beautiful explanation.

Thanks so much for this post. Love it!

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