Which are you?
My folks are up visiting from New Jersey. My stepmother is a complete extrovert, and my Dad is a classic introvert. According to the Myers Briggs classification tests, an introvert is not the quiet and shy wallflower that you overlooked sitting in the back of the room, which is a popular misconception. How we navigate and process the world is classified by extrovert or introvert. Extroverts are recharged by being around more people or excitement and interaction. Introverts are recharged by quiet, alone time. They need time to digest what they’ve experienced and reconnect to themselves.
Classic example was after a long day visiting the local zoo, Out of Africa, my stepmother was ready to keep going. My Dad and I were cranky and ready to fall over. A little more stimulation and I would have overloaded for sure and my circuits would have fried. It’s not being “too sensitive” that does that, but the fact that I take in all kinds of information at once. A little goes a long way. I dive deep into the experience. Any more stimulation or input would be like adding more coffee to the filled coffee cup, spilling brown liquid everywhere over the table; there’s nowhere to go.
It’s not a right or wrong situation, although for years I’ve had to try to explain myself to extroverts who had no idea what was wrong with me when I pooped out early on long, interactive days, or needed alone space after experiencing a party of people. I definitely internalized that I was flawed or “wrong” until I discovered the classifications and felt deeply liberated! The world needs both. The big key here isn’t that we are like each other and change, but we respect each others’ needs.
And incidently, I understand the needs of both types. The last time I took the Myers Briggs test, I had an interesting revelation. My scores were smack down in the middle between Introvert and Extrovert! This would explain my continuous struggle for balance even within myself. I could see my need for people and interaction, but too much of that, and I usually got sick, anxious or headache-y, and desperately needed space. Not enough people interaction, I get lonely and moody. Add all that extra sensitivity, and I am thinking I lean more towards the Introvert side in terms of needs. Perhaps, you can relate.
Resources to check out:
The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D
My Care of the Sensitive class, of course