Recently I read a fascinating insight into How To Understand An Introvert. Not being an introvert myself, this was utterly revelatory to me.
I am an extrovert. Really, as extroverted an extrovert as one can be. And - whilst I am sure it can be challenging being an introvert - it is exceedingly challenging being someone like me.
Extroverts need interaction like other people need food. If I do not get my daily quota of meaningful interaction, I feel as spiritually hungry as you might without meals. I feel cranky, frustrated, empty, even a little depressed. And so I talk to everyone - and I mean everyone - to get my fill of conversation. I talk to taxi drivers, people at the grocery store, parents waiting at school, the barista who makes my coffee. I am one of those sad old ladies who talk to the bank teller when I'm depositing money, except that I'm not actually sad, and I'm not even all that old.
It was easy being an extrovert when I was younger and worked in an office environment. I would talk to people all day, and then come home and debrief with my husband.
Now I work alone, at my desk, writing words into a computer, and I live with my kids, without the company of another adult. My computer listens to me, but doesn't talk back, which makes getting my share of discussion immensely difficult to achieve. On the days I have places to go and people to see, I will talk incessantly to anyone who will listen. On the days I don't have anywhere particular to be, I will spend a great deal of time on social media, letting my fingers do the talking for me.
The thing is, despite being an extrovert, I am happy in my own company. I couldn't spend all this time alone if I wasn't able to entertain myself. And I can and do entertain myself. I read and I think and I write and I watch Girls on DVD and I keep myself occupied. But needing to find my daily fix of stimulation is a constant struggle.
As an extrovert, I don't much like travelling alone. And when I do travel, I prefer going to populated areas. I don't like huge crowds, but love being with small groups of people in which we can have meaningful interaction. And I find it difficult to rein in my conversation; I tend to get a little overexcited in the company of people I like.
Oh, and I tend to dance in my undies a lot. But I don't actually think that has anything to do with being an extrovert. I just think that has something to do with me.
Extroverts, like introverts, face challenges every day. We just need to talk about our challenges a whole lot more than you do. And we tend to hold up lines at supermarkets, because we're chatting to the cashier. I'm sorry about that. I'm happy to discuss it if you wish.
For challenges faced by extroverts, see here.