Introvert or Extrovert?

30 Jan

Twice a week, I drive to work. After I park, instead of gathering my belongings and bolting out of the car, making a beeline to the office (as I’ve done – trust me – many times), I now stay in the car for 5 or 10 minutes scrolling through email, Facebook, Instagram, listening to the quiet from within the car, breathing deeply, preparing to begin my day. Allowing my mind to wander, settling into . . . myself.

That, and my morning shower, are the sum total of my weekly solitude.

It hasn’t always been like this.

Before I had kids, when I was single – or dating but not married, responsible for no one’s life but my own – I had alone-time every day. At home. With my cat. I craved this time and if I didn’t get it, it was like my personality got sucked out of the top of my head and I walked around like a quiet, deflated balloon, incapable of creativity. Or humor. Or conversation.

See, I’ve always had ridiculous dips in confidence. On my low confidence days – which used to drag on for weeks on end – I couldn’t make a decision to save my life. I doubted every little choice I made. Red shirt or blue one? Call her or leave her alone?  I always KNEW I was wrong, no matter WHAT I chose. This went on and on and on until at some point, I noticed a pattern. I noticed that when I had the time alone I so desperately craved, my confidence returned. I could wear any shirt at all. I could call the girl OR I could leave her alone. I could laugh, converse, and walk freely about the cabin. The FASTEN SEATBELT sign would turn off and I’d go merrily along my way!

That’s when I started building alone-time into my every day. I even turned off my phone {gasp!} sometimes, pretended I wasn’t home. I became unreachable. More stable. More purposeful.

So.

Does that make me an introvert? I don’t know.

My friend Marj  said that my opting for quiet time at home the night before our wedding, instead of a late night out with family and friends, could be an introvert thing, or it could be a Highly Sensitive Person thing, too. Could be.

In my early twenties, I took the Meyer’s Briggs test and landed in the low extrovert range. But things change.

It could be just a person thing, as Susanne suggested. Again, I don’t know.

What I do know is this: Alone time rocks.

Alone time steadies my soul.

So.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you know?

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6 Responses to “Introvert or Extrovert?”

  1. Shannon January 30, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Have you read Quiet by Susan Cain? I’m reading it right now and am learning so much.
    I lean towards introvert but only slightly. I love being around people, but need alone time to function.

    • RoiAnn January 30, 2015 at 8:13 am #

      I started Quiet this week 🙂 I’m liking it, although nonfiction is hard for me to stick with sometimes.

      I like the way you put it and I’m like that, too – love being around people and need alone time to function. Yes! Thames, Shannon.

      • RoiAnn January 30, 2015 at 8:14 am #

        Um. “Thanks,” I meant. Silly swype!

  2. debweeks January 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm #

    I am an extrovert with introvert like tendencies 🙂 I enjoy people. I enjoy being around people. I crave the interaction. When I spend time alone I easily get bored. On the other hand, if I’ve spent a lot of time around people and especially when there is constant activity, I begin to crave a little alone time. But only a little alone time, otherwise, I get bored.

    • RoiAnn January 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      I definitely have people like that in my everyday life! So many, in fact 🙂 Thank you, Deb – I always love hearing from you.

  3. verilp January 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    Now I know why your showers are so long!! Oops, did I overstep a boundary in saying that here? I think it would be very hard for me if the only alone time I had was during my shower and five minutes two days per week sitting alone in the car.

    Meyers-Briggs has told me on more than one occasion that I am an introvert, but with a well developed extrovert side. I think that’s still accurate for me. Regardless of whether I’m an introvert, all my life I have built in alone time daily without trying explicitly to make that happen. Certainly, growing up as an only child (hmm — someone else did that, huh?) I had lots of alone time early in life. Lest you protest that I had a brother, I must add that he was eleven years older, so we often thought we might co-author a book entitled, “I was an only child and so was my brother.”

    Looking back at my professional life from today’s retired life, I know that I built in lots of alone time. I had the liberty of sitting at my desk at work, in my semi-private office and later my private office, thinking. Just thinking. Oh, I always excused it as thinking about how to handle the problem of the day, but I was just thinking. And just being alone. On days that I had too many meetings to spend time in my office thinking, I usually had a 45-minute solo drive home.

    I love being with people. No question about it. Especially with family, friends, and a certain woman who is quite prominent in my life. I can handle large groups, but small groups are best for me, such as breakfast, coffee, lunch, and other outings with one friend. And small dinner gatherings or other “small” social events. These days I still get a lot of alone time. And it rejuvenates me for my time with others.

    For me, both alone time and together time daily are important in order to feel centered, regardless whether that means I’m an introvert or an extrovert.

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