Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Introvert or Extrovert?

I am currently surrounded by family. Right now, my husband's brother and wife and their five kids (five! can you believe it! I am barely surviving two!), sister and her daugher, and mother and father are all visiting from South Dakota. We live in Oregon, and don't see them very often, so it's wonderful to have them here. Still, I'll be honest--eleven is a lot of people to add to our little house. Surrounded doesn't begin to describe it.
Now for some of you, this may not seem like a lot. You may be like my husband--he's what I think of as a true extrovert. Meaning, when he's tired or bummed out, there's nothing he likes better than to surround himself with people. It gives him energy, all that interaction. Puts him in a better mood. When he's alone for too long he feels aimless, out of sorts. Depressed.
Now me, on the other hand, I'm the introvert of the family. (What? A writer AND an introvert? Surely you jest!) People drain me. I mean, I love 'em, but they make me tired. An entire evening of interaction with my own family can make me long for solitude and a little down time with my computer, let alone with this extended group. My favorite type of party is one I can host, so I can spend the night occupying myself with little tasks like serving food or cleaning the kitchen. Subtle ways to avoid sitting down and just plain TALKING to people all night long.
My assumption is that many of you writers are like me. But I wonder if that's true--is there something about writing that appeals to the introverts among us? Does it give us a way to interact without all the...er....people to have to interact with? Or am I wrong? Are there extroverts out there (Auntie Cindy perhaps?) who like nothing better than chatting the night away with a big crowd, and waking up in the morning ready for some more quality time?
What say you, Romance Bandits? Intro or extro?


Tawny said...

Hmmm, can I straddle the line? I'm largely an introvert, crowds drain me and I'm never as happy as when I don't have to leave the house (or my computer). But I love things like confernce -the energy, the chance to hang out with friends I hardly ever see, the sense of absorbing writing mojo through my pours! Of course, I do come home and crash for a week..not able to write for about two - but I love it. So - I guess I'm introverted with the occassional extroverted impulse LOL

Christine Wells said...

Oh, introvert, definitely, except at conferences. Like Tawny, I find the energy infectious and I'm comfortable with other writers, so I can be quite extroverted, especially with a few celebratory champagnes under my belt. But I like being the hostess, too, Inara, for exactly the same reason as you. And I thought I was being so devious! People tend to think I go to too much trouble, but often I'm just taking a leetle breather. Thanks for this post. At least I don't feel quite so alone in my weirdness anymore!

Anna Campbell said...

Inara, loved your post. I'm definitely an introvert - as anyone who knows me well will attest. In fact, an extreme introvert - I've done lots of Myers Briggs tests and I'm almost off the scale. But I think a lot of people misunderstand that an introvert is someone who hates people. I LOVE my friends! I LOVE conferences. I absolutely throw myself into parties and have a great time. But it takes me forever to get over it. And when I need cave time, I NEED CAVE TIME!!! Woe betide anyone who gets between me and my cave. I'll mow them down like a hungry grizzly bear. And when I'm tired, people are the last thing I want around me. Could never understand people who'd come home on a Friday saying, "I'm so tired. Where's the party?" Aaaaaarrrggghhh! Actually, when I worked in training, we did quite a lot of stuff with MBTI and I found it enormously reassuring. It was like it was OK to be introverted like me. The world seemed to be full of extroverts! Now, I love them, but I always felt that somehow I was dancing to a different tune.

Inara said...

I love conferences too--I like it best when they're so big you can lose yourself in the crowd (i.e., no actual interactions!) and feed off the energy there.

And like the rest of you, I can really have a ball at parties and with friends...but the recovery is so important.

LOL Christine about hosting parties--I think the secret is out! :-)

Looks like I'm not alone here. The introverts are winning!


Aunty Cindy said...

LOL! Inara, you nailed me!
EXTROVERT all right! But interestingly enough, I took the MBTI back in '98 when I worked for California Dept. of Social Services. Everyone in our Branch took it and only about 10% were extroverts. The woman interpreting our results said that was about average. So, while it may SEEM like we extroverts are in the majority, in actuality we are just LOUDER! :-P

Hope your company goes home soon, because even though I'm extroverted, I value my privacy,
Aunty C

Caren Crane said...

I'm with Aunty C! I am an extrovert, but value my privacy. When I'm ready to be alone, everybody knows it! On the Meyers-Brigg, I used to be right on the the I/E line (usually one more E than I). These days, I still score quite a few Is, but the E is dominant. I am from a large, boisterous family. Since I only have 3 (sometimes loud)children and a rather quiet husband, life is not always as rowdy as I'd like. I long for socialization! But only with people I like, like a big ol' group of Packers!

Joan said...

I'm an extrovert with introvert nuances. Ummm...does that make sense?

Perhaps it has to do with my job. Nurses HAVE to talk to people. I like alone time but I think it stems mostly from living alone, being single. I like alone time with my computer but then I'm working with Jared and Damon and Bran and really don't feel alone at all.

The Meyers-Briggs? I took that once and all I remember is I was intuitive and in a rare 5% of people with whatever that combination included. It said I would be a good teacher, a good WRITER and a good spouse. (Hello...Prince Charming...pay attention!)

Anyway, the intuitive part kind of feeds my extroversion....you can't FEEL other peoples auras without being drawn to do something.

Anna Campbell said...

Joan, I think we might be the same. As I said, I got quite into this and I think it's INFPs/INTPs who are the 5% of the population each. No wonder you like my book! Snork! Cindy, I thought Is and Es were basically about 50/50. Maybe she was talking about in social work. I'm very intuitive but unfortunately terrible with the physical world so I spend my life falling over because I don't see the chair in front of me. So I'm in pain but I know what's going on at a gut level!

Christine said...

What a great question, Inara. I'm basically an introvert. And of course I married an extrovert who could talk to anyone about anything. I so need my personal time and space, something he just doesn't get. While I do fine at conference and make conversation with people I don't know, by the time I return home I want to lock myself in my room for a week and talk to nobody.

Suzanne Welsh said...

I'm with Joan on this one. I'm what is known as a Protector Guardian. Know what career type they have listed for that? Nursing. We have to socialize quickly with patients, families and co-workers. But give me a day to stay home with my loved ones, I'm all over that. A party with my DARA friends, I'm there. A big gathering--I tend to stick with those I know, but I have a great time with them!

I straddle the I/E fence like Caren, but just slightly to the I side.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Another great question! Wow. Can you guess what I am? Yep. EXTROVERT!!! As Aunty Cindy says, we're just Louder. Snork! Each time I've taken the Meyers Briggs, I'm more extroverted. What it doesn't tell is that I then need cave time-down time in equal measure. Had to laugh about the kitchen clean up. I get all introvert when the party involves a group I don't like that much and do exactly that sort of thing, pick up, refresh glasses, busy work so I don't have to talk. Ha! It makes it harder to focus and write sometimes, being an extrovert. Sometimes I'm just itching to TALK TO SOMEONE and yes, it comes out as a shout if I've spent too much time alone, in my cave, with my characters; or with the short little men who live here with me and pretend to be my children. (They are, in actuality small, nefarious imps sent to make my life....interesting.) Heehee.

Grins, Jeanne

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