The Outgoing Introvert

In undergrad, I didn’t want to spend any time alone.  Because my writing instructor insisted that we take time just to be, I would force myself to lie on my bed in ten-minute increments, doing nothing.  Just lying there, resting, being alone.  I’d feel so rushed and eager to do-do-do and be back with people that I’d check the clock and be shocked that it had only been three minutes and I had seven to go.

I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and I tested as an ENFJ … and 100% extrovert.

introvertAs my writing life grew deeper, and as I grew older, I watched this do a complete flip.

These days, I am a solid introvert: I value my alone time, I feel drained after spending a lot of time with company, I absolutely have to build in time for rest, recharging, and solitude.

And yet, I’m still quite outgoing.  I’m not shy.  I am a good public speaker.  My job is all about hospitality.  I think it shocks a lot of people when they first learn that I’m an introvert, probably because they have misconceptions about what “introvert” and “extrovert” really mean.

Even now, if I take the Myers-Briggs, it still tells me I’m an ENFJ.  The test just can’t interpret my outgoing answers in way for it to regard me as an introvert.  But trust me, I am.  No close friend of mine would argue with that.

How about you?  Do you get your energy from being with people or from being alone?  Do you fit into the stereotype– a quiet, shy introvert or a loud, outgoing extrovert– or are you like me, a mix that defies the expectations?

Image credit: couldn’t find source.  Let me know if you know!