Most of my friends know (or assume) I’m an extrovert. I’m generally very friendly, smiley, happy, easy to talk to and quick to make friends. In a group I’m usually right in the thick of things.
On the weekend I was away on a conference. My colleagues and friends who were with me at the conference became increasingly concerned about my well-being. “Are you okay? You’re not your usual bubbly self!” They were worried because by the end of the second day of the conference, I was sitting alone in my room, reading. (Everybody else was on the dance floor!) They were worried because on the third day, I was sitting quietly at the conference tables, not joking around making a nuisance of myself and being myself.
They just couldn’t understand my behaviour or my answer. But I knew exactly what was going on. “I’m fine. Just recharging.”
On all those personality tests (Myers-Briggs and the lot) I always score on the extroverted side. (Unless of course, I purposefully change my answers.)
My mother, however, doesn’t agree. I remember when I was a “tween” mentioning to my mother that I was an extrovert. My parents are very into all those personality tests and frequently encouraged me and my brothers to fill them out, too. She said “Actually, I think you’re more of an introvert.” Her evidence included the amount of time I spent happily by myself, certain situations where I became a wallflower, and all the times I display anti-social behaviour (like when I was invited out to a party and I wasn’t interested).
I was outraged. What did my mother know, anyways? I was clearly an extrovert. I found a reason to prove why, for each of her points, they were just one-offs, and not the norm (I was sick, I didn’t like those people, I wanted to go somewhere else, I was in the middle of a project, you know, that kind of thing.)
Years later, I still say my mother is mostly wrong. That said, I can acknowledge where she got the idea.
I’m an extrovert that is only extroverted outside of my house. The energy I spend needs daily “recharging” through quiet, introverted behaviour in a quiet space. My house is my “recharging” space, so unless I am purposefully entertaining at my house (infrequent!!) I go into introvert mode. On a conference away, with no recharging space (don’t get me started on the accommodations) I have to use other methods to recharge my “batteries” as it were. This weekend, I had to do it as we went, so I lost my “extrovertedness” as the conference went on. I became an introvert.
To allow for this weirdness in my extrovertedness, I propose a new personality type. The “Introverted Extrovert” or perhaps the “Extroverted Introvert.” Or both? I’m sure there are more people out there like me who don’t fit so neatly into the Introverted/Extroverted stereotype. 🙂