Introvert or Extrovert? (and why I care)

It goes without saying that I love to write. I also love to read. When I am doing either of these activities, I am submerging myself in another world. In the case of writing, it is even better because this world is in my own head. When I give myself time to do these things, I give myself a gift of sacred intimacy with my own mind.

The truth is that I need these moments in order to stay healthy. If I don’t get enough ‘me’ time, anxiety will begin to acumulate and I will begin to have more trouble dealing with social interactions. On the other hand, I need to be with people. I could never live alone without going crazy. I also need to do social ‘things’ in order to feel good, such as hanging out with friends, going to parties, etc. If I don’t, then I have a crisis and feel like I am not ‘going out’ enough.

You may be familiar with the terms introvert and extrovert. Apparently, two-thirds of people are extroverts, and the other third are introverts. It just determines where you get your energy from. Extroverts basically get their energy from being around others for most of the day. We can associate these people with those social butterflies we all know. They will be the first to ask one of their friends to hang out, whatever it is they are doing.

Introverts will be the friends that almost never ask. They are associated with the socially awkward nerds. An introvert does not always feel the need to have a companion to accomplish their daily tasks, such as doing errands. He or she will be fine alone.

It may not sound important to make the distinction to some people. However, realizing what type of person you are enables you to adjust your lifestyle to whatever makes you happy. If you realize that you are only going to the parties on every Friday night just to please your friend, then it may not be making you happy. If you feel miserable studying for that exam by yourself, get a study buddy. Sometimes making that conscious effort will make your days better.

If you are like me, you might be thinking that you have a little bit of both. Actually, most people have a little bit of both, but everyone belongs to one side or the other. I realized not long ago that despite the image I try to put out of myself, I really am an introvert. I like to come off as the friendly girl who likes to make new friends.

The thing is, I DO like making friends. Except I realized I don’t need a shit-ton of them. I feel much happier when I am spending time with my closest friends than with a bunch of people that I am trying to get to know. Usually, when I am in the latter situation, I will need more time to myself; basically, I leave early. That won’t stop me from spending time with new friends; it just means I spend less time with them.

A good day to me is a day in which I get to see people I love. A good day is also a day where I get several hours to myself, doing the things I like – such as writing or cuddling with my boyfriend/sisters/rats for a movie. I realized that family does not count when I talk about people. I could be with family all day, every day, and not feel anxious. That is probably why I don’t mind spending a lot of time with close friends; after all, they are like family.

So what does that mean for me? That means I don’t have to feel guilty for leaving early at a party. It means I have to recognize these needs in order to stay healthy and remain productive and happy. It means I should strive to spend quality time with loved ones instead of trying to go to ‘cool’ events, unless I’m in the mood to meet new people – in that case, it is a great opportunity to make new friends. It means I have to remember what makes ME happy, and do those things, so that when I do go out there, I can be my best self and make others happy that way.

What does it mean for you? Do you believe the way you are living your life socially speaking is making you happy? If not, ask yourself why you are doing certain things. I am not a selfish person, but in some circumstances, it is okay to think about oneself.