Sometimes I wish I were an introvert. Or that I weren’t an extrovert. Do you have to be one or the other?
It took me a long time to recognize that I have a real need to see my friends, to sit down with them and have a meaningful conversation. If I don’t get that, I start to feel off. And there is nothing, not writing here or texting with someone, that can give me what sitting across from someone and talking gives me.
I’m a weird brand of extrovert. I can do big gatherings but they don’t fill my cup. I only walk away fulfilled if I’ve found someone I can really talk to about more than just the niceties. I need to have that deep, meaningful conversation. I need to feel that very real connection.
Standing in front of my students doesn’t do it for me. Chatting with a colleague at work doesn’t do it for me. Being with my kids doesn’t do it for me. Texting or emailing help, but they aren’t enough. They are like a meal replacement bar when what I really need is a nourishing plate of food.
Most days I have just enough–between writing here, receiving and responding to comments, commenting on other people’s blogs, texting and emailing with friends, and the occasional chat with someone to sustain me. But it’s not enough for me to feel truly satisfied, if that makes sense (and I feel like an ass saying that, like what others give me isn’t enough, but it’s just who I am. I NEED that face to face, meaningful interaction.)
I know introverts have it hard. I know they are swimming against the current, being asked to participate in ways that exhaust them. I’m sure it’s incredibly difficult. But sometimes I envy them, because they don’t need anyone else to fill their cup. They need to find space and solitude, and while I recognize that can be almost impossible to come by, at least it doesn’t require a second, willing and able participant.
I NEED someone else to feel fulfilled. I can get by on my own for a certain amount of time but eventually my cup runs low and the only thing that can fill it is seeing a friend. And what do I do if my friends aren’t available? Or they live far away? Or they have kids and no coverage? It sucks to depend on others, especially when they are introverts and don’t depend on you. Especially when being with you is what depletes them.
So sometimes I wish I were an introvert, so that a long solitary walk, or reading a good book, or just lying in bed would fill me up. Because I can make those things happen. It’s tricky and requires a lot of work, but I can manage it. But finding a friend to have dinner with and making plans for that to happen? Most of the time that is damn near impossible. And I hate being dependent on others to feel like my best self.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What is hard about what you need?