For a long time now I’ve been committed to my definition of myself as an introvert. In the introvert versus extrovert game, I know exactly which side I am on. Everything I have ever read about the introvert personality type rings true for me, including that:
- Introverts need a lot of alone time.
- Introverts are exhausted by people overload.
- Introverts have to figure things out internally before they share them externally.
- Introverts thrive on solitude and creativity.
This latest article on The Creativity Post is no exception. It breaks down some common myths about introversion, like:
I am learning that the introvert to extrovert spectrum is more nuanced than I thought. A coach I work with recently told me that being an introvert versus an extrovert is not a black and white choice. Most of us exist somewhere on the continuum of intro-extroversion and, in fact, from a psychological perspective, it’s most healthy to be somewhere in the middle — needing a certain amount of alone time but also being able to socialize with people.
I used to work for a yoga “master teacher” who got to know my personality very well after spending way too much time on the road together and seeing closely, over time, just exactly how much it clashed with his own. He used to tell me that I was not, as I thought, an introvert, but a “shy extrovert.” That confused me, because actually, I consider myself more of an “outgoing introvert,” meaning that I am an introvert at heart, but at some point in this challenging life I figured out how to make friends and integrate myself into the world. When I worked for said teacher, part of my job was getting up in front of hundreds of people at a time, with a microphone on, and making announcements and things like that. I got to the point where this activity did not even make me nervous, and I am still kind of okay about talking in front of large groups.
But get me to a party, and I will melt down. My own amateur definition of introvert versus extrovert goes like this:
When someone invites you to a party, do you feel:
Me? The latter. I have held countless conversations over the course of this lifetime about why I’m not crazy about parties. And I’ve had countless extroverts try to get to the bottom of “the problem” and fix it. It’s vexing to me that at this point in my life I am still having back-and-forths with more outgoing friends where they try to convince me that I just haven’t been to the right party yet.
My aversion to large unstructured crowd scenes is one of the main reasons I have never had even the slightest inkling of a desire to go to Burning Man and why, every August right around this time, I remember to feel extremely fortunate that I have free will and don’t ever have to go. And, furthermore, since most of my extroverted friends go to Burning Man (love you guys!), the end of August is an incredibly peaceful time in my life when I get even more down time than usual. I really cherish it. For this reason, I actually love and appreciate Burning Man.