Monday, July 25, 2011

A Social Introvert

I think there is an assumption by a lot of people that I am an extrovert. I know that most writers are introverts, and according to Myers Briggs, I'm a very strong INFP.

But I think about all the stuff I DO and I wonder if I really am an introvert. As a lot of you know just from reading this blog, I am always on the go. I'm out all the time with the husband and with friends, I'm constantly overbooking myself, and the biggest thing keeping me from making the progress I want to make with my writing is packed social calendar. I have chosen a job where I am surrounded by people all the time, and I am constantly "on." And then I have this second job where I am surrounded by people and constantly "on." And I look at my life and I am constantly go go go and do do do and run run run.

But I also look at my life and see that I am burned out a LOT. Any time I am NOT out and on the go, I'm curled up in a ball on the couch, totally spent.

So I've finally come to the conclusion that I must be a really social introvert. Is that a thing?

With my girlfriends at Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan

I just got back from three days in Vegas on Saturday where my friends and I did the pool thing and the delicious dinner thing and the bar thing* and we collapsed on to the plane having sucked every ounce of fun from the weekend that we could. And then I pretty much went straight from the airport to an outdoor concert with Matt Costa right on the bay in Newport. Even though the husband wasn't really all that into the idea (which was funny, because it was all of his friends who were there) and I was the one who should have been pushing to stay home, I pushed him out the door. I didn't want to sit at home, I wanted to sit in front of the back bay and watch Matt Costa! So we did. And it was awesome.

Matt Costa playing all of my favorite songs of his + sunset + beers = amazing

But then yesterday, even though I said I would hang out with the husband and some friends, I opted to stay home. The thought of spending time out, even if it was floating on a raft in the bay in Newport on a gorgeous day, was entirely too much for me. I actually started to get mild anxiety at the thought of having to do the social thing for another day.

I said I was going to be productive with my day alone, but I just napped on the couch, cuddled with the dog, and recharged. I needed it. I desperately needed the alone time to get back to myself again.

So just when I was thinking that maybe I am a bit of an extrovert after all, I realized how DRAINED I was from all the social time this weekend. This is why I'm thinking I must be some kind of highly social introvert. Because I love being social. I love Vegas and I love going places and doing things with my friends. But it takes every ounce of my energy. It doesn't invigorate me. When I'm out, there are times I just need to walk away from the crowd and have some time alone, or times when everyone else is talking and laughing when I need to just hang back and not participate. Even in my "on" all the time jobs, I create quiet time for myself, otherwise I can't handle it.

I may have a ton of fun being social, but it's being alone that makes me feel like me again.

Have you taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? What type are you? Is there anyone else out there who feels like a social introvert like me? Or am I totally making this up?

 *You know that awkward moment when you run into a former student in the bar in Vegas? Yeah, my work bff and I had that. 


  1. YES YES YES. You're like my long lost sister. I'm the exact same way. I enjoy being out and being social, but it DRAINS me. My husband, on the other hand, can go out and GAIN energy from socializing. It astounds me...

  2. I'm an ENFJ.

    The description fits me pretty well. I find that I need a good balance of being around people and being alone. What's interesting is that even before having kids, I was not out and about as much as you are (and I'm an extrovert).

    People are surprised when they read my blog after getting to know me in person. I am very introspective on my blog and I think I give the impression (in groups) that I am probably just happy-go-lucky or something. I am so not like that but around people I am able to forget the things that are bothering me.

  3. I totally know what you mean! I'm an INTJ but I also am on the go all the time. I'm a substitute teacher, a volunteer at my son's school, a Sunday School teacher, youth group leader....I'm "on" all the time. My husband knows the look I get when I say, "I need to get away and write!" Even in the buzz of Starbucks, I can have some quiet. :) Retreating into my head and just writing and not having to talk to anyone. Or smile. That probably makes me sound totally anti-social! :)

  4. Funny I should read this post. Last week I took the Myers Briggs test for the fourth time in a handful of years, and I'm still INTJ. When I read about the description, it fit me to a T.

  5. I know what you mean! I'm an ENFP, but I'm such an introvert! I am such a homebody that I can not step out of my house unless necessary for 3 days. But then I'm super bubbly and talk NON-STOP with my good friends or some social situations. But others I just shut down. Could it be a transition? From E-I? Or with you I-E? Or have you always been like that?

    <3 Belly B

  6. I am the same way. I love hanging out with friends or going out but man, I am ready to get back home and relax by the time the night is over.

  7. I totally understand how this works! I'm an INFJ and though after being around people and social settings, I need a break. People look at me crazy when I tell them I'm an introvert. I guess I'm just a highly social one like you. :)

  8. It's actually a common misconception that introverts don't enjoy the company of others or that they're shy -- what it means is that while introverts might love being around their friends, what they (you!) need is time alone to recharge and be alone with your thoughts. It's more of a social preference than a social aversion :-) So I'd say you're perfectly normal!

    (PS: I'm an INFP, too!)

  9. My Myers-Briggs results tend to vary in the T/F and P/J aspects because I'm fairly close to center, but I usually score ENTP.

    Here's a thought: sometimes people act in ways contrary to their inner nature(s) because of perceived expectations. It's possible that you might, at some point in your past, accepted that heavy socialization was the norm, or something to be desired, or that its absence might lead to consequences you wanted to avoid. But that doesn't have to be the case - anyone can enjoy something that's contrary to their general preference.

    It's also possible that, like my T/F, your E/I is fairly close to the middle. When you take the MBTI, where does the indicator put you on the E/I continuum? Mildly E, or way E?

    (By the way, a moment of narcissism here... does my writing come off as incredibly pretentious?)

  10. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I tried explaining this to my friends (particularly my roomie who gets miffed when I'd rather stay in my bed and read or listen to political podcasts than go out because I've already gone out multiple times that week) and they just DON'T GET IT.

    Although there is food involved tonight so I probably will end up putting on pants and leaving my cave eventually.

  11. "Omg I'm so popular!" :P LOL j/k Love

    I'm just jealous I don't have YOUR problem. I'm like a leper compared to you.

  12. What an epic weekend! So glad you had a great time! I've taken this test so many times and I always forget what I am, but I am like almost equal in all categories--the mark of a true psycho?! lol.
    It sounds like I'm the same way, I love a good party and love to socialize, but I need my balance and my alone time/at home time. I've always been the homebody bookwarm crazy dancer party girl! haha

  13. I am definitely an introvert, but I thought this was most insightful. I do love being out with my friends, but there are times I relish even just a simple trip to the bathroom to take a break from everything. And even though my social-o-meter does not parallel yours (I'm kind of jealous!), I get it. And it sounds like you're doing the right things to recharge.

  14. I totally get this. People never believe me (IRL ppl) when I tell them I'm actually very socially awkward and don't always do well in crowds. I've had the exact same 2 "social" jobs. I'm not on the go as much as you, but I can totally sympathize. I don't think I've ever taken the M-B, so I'd be interested to see how I rated.