Extroverts and Introverts
More than once I’ve met with someone who arrives at my office fatigued, stressed, irritable, and kind of depressed. After asking some questions about what’s going on in her life, I ask her this: What if someone offered you a place to go where you could be completely alone and not talk to anyone for five days or so – a silent retreat? If the response includes whipping out a notepad or smartphone to get an address and phone number, I know I’ve got an overwhelmed introvert on my hands.
Extroverts get their energy from outside of themselves. They get it by interacting with others. They are not necessarily the life of the party at every gathering; they can be quiet extroverts. But they do get jazzed by talking to people and having a buzz around them. Even if they are not the center of attention at a party, they will be the last to leave. All the introverts left an hour ago.
Introverts love interacting with people, too, especially people they love and care about. It’s just that it costs them energy. Introverts can be the life of the party – they just won’t be that for very long. And they’ll go home right after. Introverts crave and need time alone – all alone – to restore themselves. They need time alone every day and they need, from time to time, a longer break. They are not aloof or shy or nerds or snobs though they are often considered these things – they’re just introverts.
Trouble is, our culture rewards extroverts so introverts feel like maybe there’s something wrong with them. Oddly, more vitamins or more exercise or more caffeine doesn’t help. Time in quiet solitude is the only cure. Are you feeling overwhelmed by being “on” all the time for the people (even the ones you adore) in your life? Is the idea of a couple of days away alone something you long for? You may be an introvert! Check out this website and book: The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in and Extrovert World by Marti Laney. www.theintorvertadvantage.com. These include lots of insights for introverts and the extroverts who love them. And email me if you want the name of a wonderful retreat center.