Human beings are like batteries. We charge ourselves, we carry out our tasks, we deplete our energy, and the cycle begins anew. What differs is the types of batteries we are, how quickly our energy runs dry, and what we can do to recharge ourselves.
Obviously we’re not really batteries, and, as any Matrix fan will tell you, we wouldn’t be very good batteries either, at least when it comes to powering something else. Processors maybe, but not batteries… Anyway, that’s a different tangent. Using the battery analogy, the thing that has always interested me though is how we go about recharging.
I may have written about this before, so forgive me if I’m retracing old steps, but it’s come up a bit in conversation really and I feel compelled to write about it. I want to discuss the differences between being an Introvert vs Extrovert.
Many people, myself previously included, think about the terms in pure black and white. Introverts spend time alone, they’re not very social, they prefer to read, watch tv, or hibernate, over going out into the open world and partying, meeting people, or spending time at functions. The Extrovert is, therefore, the polar opposite, they’re confident and chatty, they love just going out there and meeting anyone and everyone, they’ll talk to strangers, they’ll be the life and soul of any event they attend. The world is never so black and white though, and when coming to define ourselves we may often err on the side of one, but it’s unusual that someone is completely in one camp over the other.
This is where recharging comes into it. A few years back I read an eyeopening article that completely changed how I viewed the Introvert vs Extrovert debate. I’m quite introverted, I enjoy spending time to myself, but I also enjoy seeing my friends, going to the pub or having board game nights. That puts me into somewhat of a grey area. What the article did though, is help me realise I don’t have to be in one camp instead of the other, I just had to realise that one camp is where I recharge, whilst the other is where I expend energy.
See, I could spend all day playing video games, honestly I could. I’ve been known to wake up on a day off and just game all day until bedtime, that’s sometimes 16+ hours worth of gaming I could happily do. This is because being alone, having some time to just game, isn’t exhausting for me and doesn’t expend much energy. I’m not even talking physical energy, as obviously being on my ass all day isn’t exhausting in that respect, I mean mentally and emotionally. Now I also enjoy seeing people, my friends and family, but if you put me with them for 16+ hours I’d be drained. As an opposite, I have friends who could happily do something with someone every single day, whereas if they spend too much time on their own they start crawling at the wallpaper. I used to just think they were awful at entertaining themselves, “how could you not enjoy your alone time?” Well, the fact is that they actually do enjoy it, but it’s exhausting for them. Introverts expend energy in social situations, Extroverts recharge. Extroverts expend energy when entertaining themselves, Introverts recharge. It’s really that simple.
The beauty of this theory is that it covers that grey area nicely and it doesn’t limit how we view ourselves. Both types of people can enjoy both sides of the fence, but they only do so for so long before they need to take a break. I think we all understand the importance of needing a break sometimes. If I have a busy week at work, then a weekend full of plans with family and friends, I no longer feel guilty for planning in some alone time; some recharge time.