Is there anyone else who has re-taken personality tests because you didn’t get the “right” results the first time? Or just plain lied the first time because you already knew what you should choose as the “right” answer?
OK, people…whatever. I’m admitting I have done this. Multiple times. Why? Because the results of various personality tests over the years have consistently told me I was an introvert, and that obviously was wrong because I’m not at all shy. I’m silly, talk too much, and am good at public speaking and presentations. Hell, I was a media and presentation trainer in my first career. Why did I keep testing as an introvert?
Because – and this blew my mind when I learned it recently in a University of Virginia online class – being an introvert has nothing to do with being shy. Being an introvert or an extrovert is all about where you get your energy. Am I the last person to know this? While extroverts get their energy from crowds, introverts’ energy is drained by crowds and we need some solo time to recharge. That explains so much about my behaviors.
If you also do these things, you just might be an introvert:
1. Avoid shopping in stores, even before Covid. I hate shopping in big stores. They’re always crowded and I get discombobulated by all the noise and stimulation, which take my energy level down to zero. Amazon and Instacart to the rescue. If I absolutely must go into a store I look for a small one, or, thanks to the pandemic, shop during the dedicated “senior shopping” hours for those of us 60 and older. (Though, why in the hell they think we shop at 7 AM I don’t know.) You need to be careful using this option, however, if you’re just running in to pick up some vermouth, vodka, and Vaseline. And don’t even think about putting a bottle of Astroglide in your cart during senior shopping hours. I felt so guilty and judged that I threw in a can of evaporated milk and a bag of dried beans as decoys, then conspicuously displayed my Golden Buckeye Senior card in the checkout line (which is not even required), just to prove I had the right to early-shop for my essentials, too. (F*ck off, with Big Smile)
2. Build in “retreat time” during traveling. As a solo traveler I tried to book small-group or one-on-one experiences whenever possible, but even then large, noisy, sometimes aggressive crowds were unavoidable. The souks of the medina in Marrakech…the bazaars in Egypt…the markets of Bangkok…the train stations in Japan. All not-to-be-missed experiences but, for me, draining AF. Following my energy-sapping outings I always allowed myself periods of alone time to recharge. On a riad rooftop under the Moroccan sun, with just the soothing sound of the call to prayer as my companion. On an empty beach by the sea in Portugal, with my journal and a wine drink-box (that’s a thing in Portugal and they were only 88 cents!). Or even late at night in the deserted guest lounge/laundry room of a Chinatown hotel in Bangkok, washing my clothes for the next leg of my trip while enjoying the hell out of a bag of Thai Lay’s potato chips and my travel mug filled with tangerine juice and Thai Hong Thong whiskey ($3 a bottle at the ubiquitous 7-Elevens!). I love meeting and getting to know new people on my travels, but I also love my alone time to reflect and recharge.
3. Take breaks from or avoid social media. I only started an Instagram page at the suggestion of friends who said it would be a good way to keep in touch with family and friends while traveling solo. I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, or any of the other social media platforms necessary for a successful digital marketing strategy these days. I have loved “discovering” IG, and now WordPress, at 60 because they allow me to observe, learn from, and be inspired by so many interesting folks and badass women of all ages. I can engage with many people from around the world, from the quiet privacy of my own solo retreat. And yet, all the online buzz can become overwhelming, and I find myself needing to take a break for a period of time. That’s not going to “grow” my followers or “monetize” my blog (WTF?), I know. And that’s OK. I’ve given myself permission to do what’s right for me.
What about you? Are you an introvert? What works for you?
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