This weekend I decided to take a last minute trip to Chicago. My aunt and uncle live in Chicago and are two of my favorite people in the world! The hub of their home in the summer is their giant front porch. Whether we are sipping our coffee in the morning and making up stories about the people who walk by or sipping our wine in the evening analyzing some in-depth psychological topic, it all takes place on the front porch. What I love most about our conversations is that we inter-mix our chatting with reading or knitting. You see, we are all introverts and we do a wonderful job of chatting and regrouping all at the same time.
Most people think of introverts as people who are shy, quiet, reclusive and extroverts are the life of the part, outgoing, friendly, loving people. However, according to Myers Briggs personality testing, the main difference between introvert and extroverts is where you prefer to focus your attention and get your energy. Basically introverts get their energy from being in their inner world, being alone, having time with their thoughts and feelings, while extroverts get their energy from being with other people. For example you go to a party and you talk to people and you leave feeling exhausted (you are an introvert) or you go to a party and you talk to a bunch of people and you leave feeling energized and wanting to go to the after party (you are an extrovert) .
I admit my life has become much more peaceful and happier once I realized the fact that I am an introvert. I enjoy my alone time and need it at the end of the day. It has also helped with my relationships knowing my loved ones might need time to regroup from a long day and it has nothing to do with me. Especially those of us who are introverts who can fake being extroverts. Those of us who are social and interactive, who like attending parties and having intense conversations and then need time to reenergize and be alone. We confuse the around us (especially the extroverts) who don’t understand why we aren’t energized and excited. Frequently if I have had a quiet day at home writing and reading and my nearest and dearest has been at work talking and leading he needs time to regroup. He wants to sit quietly and zone out and I am already re-energized from my day of rest. Knowing he is an introvert who needs to regroup and that it doesn’t have anything to do with me, is helpful. To the same end it is helpful to understand the people in my life who need more ‘people interaction’ who are energized and fed by being around people and crave it more. As we understand and embrace these differences we can all live happier.
So pay attention to where you get your energy. When you leave a social interaction are you more or less energized? What about your loved ones does being with people energize them or exhaust them?