A couple of years ago, Brand and I were driving back from an event downtown Phoenix with a couple of friends. During that car ride, I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t wait to get home so I could just do nothing and not talk to anyone. It wasn’t that I was unhappy or over our friends’ company, it was just that I felt drained.
I’ve always known I was an introvert. At least more so than an extrovert. However, it wasn’t until that car ride that I had fully grasped just how much of one I am or what it meant.
Carl Jung who was the psychologist behind the concept of introverts and extroverts explains that “each person seems to be energized more by either the external world or the internal world”. While extroverts feel and get their energy from being around people, introverts feel energized and recharged by spending time alone.
Jung believed that everyone has tendencies of both extroversion and introversion. It’s not necessarily a one size fits all. Just because someone might be loud and outgoing doesn’t mean they are an extrovert. Or just because you are shy and quiet doesn’t necessarily mean you are an introvert. It has more to do with where you get your energy from than with your social skills.
That being said, introverts do tend to be less outspoken. They not only appreciate their alone time, but they need it.
After that car ride, where I felt this deep sense of needing to be alone, I decided to look a little more into what it means to be an introvert. I’ve always thought of it as a negative thing in comparison to being an extrovert but looking into it a bit more made me realize it’s not all bad.
The Pros & Cons of Being an Introvert
Introverts are Very Self-Aware
I’ve talked a lot about just how much self-discovery I’ve had since turning 30 and I think being an introvert has so much to do with that.
Being self-aware is something I am learning to accept. On the plus side, I can pay attention to my feelings. I can look inside myself to try and figure out what is going on. I truly believe that we are responsible for how we perceive the outside world and being self-aware plays into that big time. This is probably why I love therapy and “self-help” books so much.
However, being self-aware, I tend to overthink everything I do and say. There are few social situations that I can be in and not have to actively think about what I am going to do or say before doing or saying them. Even after I say or do them, I still overthink it…sometimes for hours. It’s draining and it makes it very hard to relax when around people.
Being an Introvert We Value Their Alone Time
Like I said above, the difference between introverts and extroverts is how they get their energy. Introverts do just that by being by themselves. Therefore, having alone time is crucial.
More often than not, when I tell people that I work in an office pretty much by myself (except for my boss when he is in), they always ask me if I get bored. No, no I do not. To be honest I love it. This may be weird, but not having to engage with people all day every day is something I much prefer.
Being alone is something I have truly come to value. I have learned that it is my ultimate form of self-care.
However, while I do enjoy being alone, spending time with close friends or even attending networking events is fun and enjoyable for me. It’s just not something I can or want to do all day long. Eventually, I will want to call it a day/night and head home. I want to be where I don’t need to be “on” any longer. In a way, this is kind of a damper, but at the same time, I know it’s what I need.
Introverts Loath Small Talk
I have never met a person who said they love small talk. Never. Everyone hates small talk, which I think is the only plus side when it comes to being an introvert on this topic. For introverts, small talk is the absolute worst. It makes our skin crawl.
Getting my hair and nails done has never been something I enjoy. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realized what I dread about these appointments was the small talk. Having to interact with someone I don’t know for at least an hour with no reprieve is the worst for me. I feel like I have to be “on” and being “on” is just draining.
To be honest, I’ve always been envious of people who can strike up a conversation with the stranger sitting next to them. Or of those who can effortlessly carry on a conversation with anyone in the room. It’s just not something I have ever been able to do because of the small talk aspect.
I know I am not on the extreme end of being an introvert. Like I said above, I do love spending time with friends, family and even attending networking events here and there. However, being aware that I am an introvert has helped me learn so much more about myself as well as how to properly care for myself.