Figuring out of you’re an introvert or an extrovert is important so you can embrace how you recharge and renew your own personal battery, it’s a way of incorporating the best self care tools for yourself.

What often happens is that introverts feel that they have to be more outgoing or should “love to party” and then end up drinking more or using drugs and alcohol to feel more comfortable in a social environment, or to recharge in order to help themselves “keep going” when they would really prefer to call it a night and go home and watch a movie in their pajamas.

It’s also really helpful in relationships to understand the introvert-extrovert dynamic.  My husband is extroverted, he always wants to go out and celebrate after a party of dinner gathering and I am the opposite.  I love being social but afterwards all I want to do is go home and take a bath or read a book.  Now that we recognize what’s happening, that it’s more about recharging and self care we are better able to meet in the middle.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet and the TED talk: The Power of Introversion, recommends asking ourselves 3 questions* to tell if you’re an introvert or an extrovert:

  1. Imagine that you’ve been at a party that you’ve enjoyed and you’ve been there about two hours.  If you are an extrovert, at the end of those two hours  your batteries are probably feeling very charged and you want more party time and if you’re an introvert you are probably starting to wish that you were home in your pajamas?
  2. Do you tend to think before you speak as introverts do or do you tend to process your thoughts more out loud as extroverts do?
  3. Do you tend to prefer one on one conversation as introverts do or larger group settings as extroverts do?

According to Susan Cain, “Extroverts are generally defined as people who are outgoing, confident, and assertive, and they frequently desire social interaction. In contrast, introverts are often described as introspective, reserved, and contemplative, and they often need more alone time to reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and experiences.”

Do not confuse introversion with isolation. Introverts are social, we all love being around people. We are all innately social beings that are wired for connection.

Introverts simply feel more able to rejuvenate and renew their energy in periods spent in quiet solitude. Perhaps it’s time spent in nature that helps you feel renewed.

Extroverts often feel most energized when creating with others, and want to go out into crowds in order to re-energize, they often love the action.

We can all find ourselves along the Introversion-Extroversion spectrum, some of us just lean more towards solitude to rest and recharge. I know I do; I need my  solitude time in order to feel balanced and renewed.

I was so excited this week to bring in this concept to my Inner Peace Group that I facilitate at Soba Recovery Center.  We discussed introversion and extroversion and identified where we felt that we fit on the spectrum.  Almost everyone talked about how we often used drugs and alcohol to feel more comfortable in social situations, and would drink in order to be more outgoing and extroverted.  We discussed the idea of being fine, just the way we are and beginning to accept not always feeling comfortable in all social situations.  That feeling uncomfortable or drained after being in a crowd doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with us.  That we don’t have to be a social butterfly all the time if that doesn’t resonate with you as a person.

Ways to recharge as an introvert: journaling, nature walks, baths, reading, relaxing, spending time in solitude… And as an extrovert you can incorporate the same self care tools but also adding in time spend in coffee shops, around people, busy restaurants, taking a stroll down a busy part of town, layering activities back to back with friends…I would love to know your thoughts on this or any other idea of recharging as an introvert or extrovert!

Below is Susan Cain’s TED talk:

    *3 Questions from Susan Cain’s Podcast Episode 1, “The Long Runway” found HERE