Monday, December 12, 2011


I've been thinking about being an introvert over the weekend.  So much so that I cracked up when Christianne posted the following facebook status last night:

"Sometimes I hate being an introvert. But then I realized that I only feel that way when I'm in an extroverted setting that has demanded way more energy than I can muster. Other than that, I totally love introversion."

I totally get that feeling. In fact, it was one of those extroverted settings that had me thinking about this whole topic.

On the weekend I spent several hours at my brother's engagement party.  My brother and his fiancee are both extroverts.  They thrive on interaction with others, and they have more and more diverse friends than anyone I've ever met.  (I love this about them - they're wonderful at including just about anyone in their lives.)

The engagement party some of their friends threw for them reflected their personalities.  There was a huge and diverse crowd mingling, enjoying food and beverages, and eventually moving down to the basement for a dance party, complete with a rented smoke machine.  It's the kind of party that the two of them and many of their friends thrive on.

It's kind of my idea of hell.  Hours and hours of making conversation with people I don't really know, in a crowded room, over a huge assortment of background noises.  (Let me be clear in saying I greatly enjoyed many of the conversations I had at the party, and I loved the chance to celebrate my brother and his fiancee.  This was not about my preferences at all, it simply highlighted the differences in our social tendencies.)

And so, on Saturday I found myself avoiding all people.  I'd had a few tentative plans, but all of them involved more groups of people I didn't know well.  I skipped all of them and took a nap.  As I thought about why I was so tired, I realized it was because I was still drained and overwhelmed from the previous night.  It took a large portion of the weekend to recover, and highlighted my introversion for me again.

I don't draw energy from people in a group setting.  Over the last year I've learned that I do need people. That I need interaction, particularly with those who are heart friends.  But I don't find energy in a large group setting.  I find it draining.  My soul and energy are restored in time alone, reading, writing and creating, and in one on one or very small group settings with my soul friends.

Having this tendency highlighted again, especially in the midst of a season where I've had time to rest, create and be with my soul friends, reminds me that these are the things I need to make time for, even in the seasons where life is busier and demanding.  It reminds that I was made this way, and that it's not something to regret, but something that I need to honor.  That this is something important to my life.  That it is important for my mental and emotional health, but also for my spiritual life.

And for a realization like that, I'll gladly attend a party celebrating people I love, even if it drains me!


terri said...

amen to this lisa. i am an extreme introvert married to an extreme extrovert. i learned to be more present in extrovert settings, but it takes me a good long time to recover and come back to myself afterwards. i used to think i was just anti-social, but i've learned that i just socialize differently. it's good to know these things because it minimizes all the self-judgment i used to heap on my own head.

hope you are refreshed and ready for all the extroverted holiday stuff that can't be avoided. *deep breath*

Lisa said...

Terri - it is so helpful to realize that it's not just being anti-social, isn't it? And I love what you said about how it helps minimize the self-judgement - I've absolutely found that too.

and yes, it has been so lovely to have time to be quiet and rest before the holiday extroversion hits! Hope you are getting some space for that in preparation for the holidays as well.