Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inside Out

I am an introvert. 

"The Dickens!" you say. "I've heard you speak, I've seen how you are with clients and how easily you chat up strangers in the coffee shop." 

And you're right, I do all those things and I do them joyfully. But I am still an introvert.

People often confuse shyness with introversion but they're not the same thing.  A shy person is bashful or timid or lacks self-confidence. They tend to be very uncomfortable in new situations or in close proximity to other people. I feel shy sometimes but as a rule, I love being around people and I enjoy engaging strangers in conversation--especially if they appear lonely. In fact I often set out with a clear intention of making a difference in someone's day with a smile or a comment because it almost always makes a positive difference in my day.

The thing about introverts is that although we're very capable of socializing, we need solitude to recharge. We revel in our alone time. We crave that space where we can be alone with our thoughts to reflect, create or just do nothing. For me, introversion is a dichotomy. Because as much as I cherish my alone time, I much prefer to see a movie in a theater full of people because I find that shared experience adds so much more to the emotions of a good film. I like feeling like a part of the whole, connected to my immediate community. But then I want to go home and curl up on the sofa, not sit in a noisy coffee shop critiquing the characters or story arc.

According to Myers-Briggs personality experts, extroverts draw energy from interaction but those who prefer introversion expend energy through interaction. To rebuild their energy, introverts need quiet time alone, away from activity. We need space to reflect and analyze. Like, say, write a blog to justify why they are hidden away from the world, save for a beloved snoring dog, while unanswered emails and phone calls go unanswered.

The photo above was taken inside my little 1957 camper, parked in my driveway where I can see, smell and hear the ocean just outside my door because sometimes even the sea is too much much. This tiny room is where I go when I need space to write or reflect or just be lazy. What about you? Does engaging with the world charge your batteries or drain them? If it's the latter, where do you go to bring yourself back to full power? 


  1. I love that you wrote about this topic, Ellie! That one statement says it all: "...extroverts draw energy from interaction but those who prefer introversion expend energy through interaction." Yes, that's exactly it! I mostly just come home to bring myself back to full power ...although my beloved can come on pretty powerful ... and then I go stand outdoors under my big, private sky ... accompanied, of course, by a 4-legged creature or two.

  2. When I was younger, I was a MB ENFJ, but on the cusp of the I. I suspect that if I tested today I'd definitely be an I. How you describe yourself is how I feel about myself. I love how animals find small spaces to lay in and I know that when I go to bed to sleep I have to swaddle in blankets and turn the electric blanket up, at least in the winter. I think we all have a tendency to be in a den or cave, like an animal, or to return to the womb.