Have you ever heard someone say that they used to be an introvert, but now they are an extrovert? They have learned to be more social and now they are “cured” of introversion. Or maybe the other way around… They used to be more extroverted and now are more introverted since they like to spend more time alone at this point in life.

I am assuming that being a “cured” introvert means that they are more outgoing than they used to be. That does not make them an extrovert, but rather an outgoing introvert. I get tired of the word introversion having a negative connotation, that some people don’t want to be associated with. After all, introversion does not mean shy, timid, fearful, or insecure. These terms can apply to either an introvert or extrovert. And either an introvert or extrovert can overcome such things as shyness. Introversion is turning to the inner world of ideas more than turning outward, and extroversion is more of a focus on the outside world. Of course, everyone thinks and everyone pays attention to what is going on around them to varying degrees. You just can’t measure introversion or extroversion solely on the basis of how outwardly social someone appears. What is happening on the inside?

So, if you are as social as you want to be, why does understanding about your introversion matter? If you claim to be an extrovert, but truly have introverted preferences, you are not understanding your gifts. In my case, I am a deep thinker, a dreamer, and I can get lost in thought. I have always spent more time in my head, and this is not changing for me. I appreciate who I am and the gifts I have and would not change this if I could. Becoming more social would not change the following introverted traits:

  • I naturally spend more time in my inner world of ideas.
  • I think and then speak.
  • I prefer to communicate in writing rather than speaking.
  • I may be drained by social interaction, but am energized by deep thought.

Introverts deeply value relationships with others, but an introvert’s social and relationship needs may be different than the needs of the extrovert. As an introvert, I definitely need some time alone to think or time to recharge after certain activities. For me, it’s about finding the right balance between social interaction and alone time. It’s different for every introvert. The key is to figure out what your ideal balance is and work towards that. I can be very social and even outspoken, but at my core, I am and will always be an introvert. And learning to understand myself and embrace my gifts has made me better.

As an introvert, you can be as social as you want. But what do you want? Maybe Friday you want to go to a loud party and then Saturday binge on Netflix. You know what is fun to you and what is not. And just because extroverts have certain social expectations and needs, that doesn’t mean that an introvert will have those same needs or expectations of “what is fun.”  Keep in mind that an extrovert needs people to recharge. Their social needs are greater.  They need social interaction after time spent alone, or they begin to feel very isolated. On the flip side, an introvert can be perfectly comfortable and successful in social settings, but their need for social interaction is less, and, as I mentioned above, they may need time alone to recharge after.  The key is to understand yourself, your strengths, and what you need. Remember, it is not good or bad to be an introvert or extrovert, but it is important to be aware of what makes you happy.

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