Are you an Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert?May 31, 2022
Where do you get your energy from? Simply put, introverts get their energy from spending time alone. Imagine curling up with a good book under a minky blanket and a cup of tea. On the other hand, extroverts get their energy from being social and interacting with other people. Picture a weekend filled with social events - birthdays, reunion lunches, events, and shows. Now, of course, we may all enjoy these types of activities from time to time, but the nuance here is which type of activity energises you and which leaves you drained or agitated?
How to distinguish your tendency?
Look at your past couple of weekends. Where, how and with whom did you spend your time? More importantly, was this energising, or did it have the opposite effect? Were you enlivened by social interaction or did you need a lot more downtime than you got? Alternatively, google 'extrovert/introvert test' - there's one on the Ted ideas website.
And, as always, it's a pitfall to relate to this theory like it's the absolute truth. Use it where it's useful, throw it out when it's not empowering. Why? Because someone made it up loves. (Jung made it popular.) It's not like if someone opened me up, they'd find an introvert or extrovert inside me. So only use what empowers you.
What if you recognise yourself in both of these?
Then you might be like me - an ambivert. I am approximately 46% introvert and 54% extrovert. And that sure does seem right to me. Here's me a couple of weekends ago...
We have three overlapping social events to go to including two birthdays and a get-together. I am committed to doing it all because I believe that you can have it all, even if you just get a bite of each type of cake. I want to have my cake and eat it too and believe there is a time and place where that is possible. And so we bundle up the new puppy and start the rounds. I love people. So it was great to see so many people I love and care about - even if it took almost 7 hours of being out and about.
Fast forward to 7:30 pm that night. I'm in bed already and we're watching Home Alone for the ten-thousandth time. It's dark and rainy outside and I'm already in my comfy clothes. I am exhausted. The moment Kevin wakes up and finds his family disappeared having gone on holiday without him, hot tears start streaming down my face. I wish he hadn't told his mum that he wanted his family to disappear. 10 minutes later, the mum is on the plane and has a strong feeling that she has forgotten something. Suddenly she springs forward in her seat, "KEVIN!!" I start sobbing! By 8 pm, I'm now lying down in bed, fully horizontal with my minky blanket pulled up to my chin. Again the tears flow and I sob to Chris, "I just want to be asleep!"
We're up early - as you do with kids and puppies and off to meet Chris at their hair appointment. Our daughter climbs on every seat she can find in the small but beautifully decorated salon. She settles into an empty salon chair and after making faces in the mirror announces that she wants her haircut. Suddenly I find myself with scissors and comb in hand being instructed on how to cut hair! (Thank you My.) I will give our daughter the shirt off my back - and have done, so I rose to the occasion. Stressful much? My finished it off thank goodness.
Why don't we go to the Addison Rd markets? Great idea! We bundle everyone into the car and interact with many people - as you do when carrying a cute puppy in your arms. As I said, I love people, so I was more than happy to share the love.
After a full morning, I'm glad to be home with the rest of the day to potter at home. But no. I check my calendar and we have 20 minutes to be out the door to a VIP pre-show showing of I Want It That Gay by Cara Whitehouse and Anna Gambrill (Showing at The Red Rattler on Thurs 9 June). We are out for the rest of the day, watching a very funny and fulfilling show, in the way that only gay re-writes of 90s classics can be.
And there you have it. My fully booked, social weekend with as much human interaction as you can poke a stick at. Upon reflection, I could see that my extroverted self was satisfied but my introverted self woke up on Monday morning in a right tantrum. "I need my minky blanket and a good book!" Rather than giving in entirely, I found ways to soothe my introverted self during the day and take a very gentle and easy approach to my work.
What's useful about this model of personality tendencies is that you can design your life around the activities and interactions that energise you versus the ones that leave you a sobbing mess underneath a minky blanket, as in my case. Luckily I don't take myself too seriously and have learned to laugh at my humanity, knowing we're all in this together.
Participating in life gives us energy - just check in which activities are life-giving and which activities are life-sucking for you and notice if it's different at different times. We, humans, are so adaptable, so we can adapt as we go.
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