I assure you, my alone time is for your own safety.
Most people who've just met me think I'm extroverted. All outward-facing signs back it up: I can work a conference like nobody's business and I will small-talk you until there is not one trivial life fact that I don't know. If there's a lull in the conversation, I'll fill it and if there's a dance floor, I'm on it. I have no trepidations against introducing myself to complete strangers and and if you dare me to take a walk on the wild side, I'll probably do it. (I'll definitely do it if I've had a few gin & tonics.)
So for a long time, I assumed I was extroverted. (After all, I'm an Aries, and let me tell you, us Aries are a life-force, and that's putting it nicely.) But then I realized what the heck being extroverted really means: that you derive energy from being around other people.
What, whaaaa? Oh, no, no, NO. That's not me. Like at all. Like my favorite person is my cat, and it's mostly because she doesn't speak to me. Here's 3 other signs I'm an extroverted introvert.
1. You do not, under any circumstances "derive" energy from said social situations.
In fact, it's the complete opposite. By the time I've introduced myself to you and asked about your child, your child's pet, your child's pet's name, and your child's pet's name that was actually the adopted name before you renamed it, my tank's already depleted a few notches.
And once that tank starts teetering on the verge of empty, you best believe my acting chops come out in full force, like some sort of deranged Shakespearean conversationalist, if Shakespeare was interested in the weather, your new haircut, or the colleges your step-daughter's applying to.
(That sounded harsh. It didn't mean to. I care deeply about learning about new people, but you know that slight panic you have when you're not sure how many miles your car has left and you can't, for the life of you, find a gas station? That.)
2. You're worn out by extensive small-talk — or conversation in general.
Even on extended "girls weekends," when I'm with people who are my bestest of best friends, who I've known for years and truly get the real, quirky me with all my myriad flaws, it's still tough. It's still exhausting. There's only so much time I can spend shootin' the shit before I need to physically step away from the chatter, even if it's good, deep, real chatter, and a find a safe, quiet place. If there's a glass of wine and a good memoir in that safe, quiet place, even better.
3. Silence is how you energize myself.
It's the place I'm most at peace. Simply: I love better when you leave me alone for awhile. (Do I sound like a recluse? I might be a recluse.)
But if I'm not a recluse, what does that make me? A social introvert? An extroverted introvert? An introvert who is well-versed in extroversion? I don't know, man. You decide. And while you're at it, I'll be over here in my den of serenity, petting my non-verbal cat and charging my batteries for this upcoming weekend. Join me? Actually, you know what? Don't.
To read more of Andrea's writing, head over to Angiecat.
This article was originally published at Angiecat. Reprinted with permission from the author.