It's kind of like how a couple of my friends have adult-onset lactose intolerance, but I can still eat dairy. So it's not really the same, actually. And wow, I love me some fro yo.
Growing up, I was the definition of extroversion.
And by growing up, I mean "anytime between age 0 and about a year ago." If there was a party, I had to be there. I hated missing any social event. My dad, he was the opposite. He's the funniest person I know, but only a few people know it because he always hides in his room when too many people come over to the house.
Introversion and shyness are not the same thing.
My research (see: googling and talking to other people) has taught me that introverted vs. extroverted is not the same thing as shy vs. outgoing. An introvert or extrovert is defined by how they get their energy: introverts feel drained by a crowd, and extroverts feel energized. Introverts recharge their energy reservoir with some quality alone time. It is entirely possible to have a shy extrovert and an outgoing introvert.
For me, shyness is purely situational.
If i'm in my element (usually somewhere I spend a lot of time) I feel confident talking to anyone and everyone. But if I'm the new kid in a crowd of people who all know each other, you'll find me hiding in a corner somewhere. When I first started the job I'm at now, I barely talked to anyone for the first couple months. I ate lunch out in the same room as everyone, but I rarely contributed to the conversation. To their credit, my coworkers did exactly what I prefer people do in that situation: acknowledged me but didn't draw too much attention to me or push me to say anything.
I attended a networking event not too long ago where I quickly slipped into my "I'm intimidated so I'm going to be quiet" mode, and one of the other attendees would repeatedly call attention to me with statements such as, "Don't say too much over there!" (Cue more intimidation and not even a remote desire to open my mouth or interact with anyone.) (Also cue a desire to throw my appetizer at that obnoxious woman.)
Leadership is a huge factor.
One theme I've noticed is that being placed in leadership positions brings me out of my "I'm shy around new people" shell. If I attend a small group gathering where I barely know anyone, I'm really not likely to say much. But if you tell me I'm in charge and I need to lead the discussion or take other people under my wing, I blossom. (Side note: I hate the word blossom because it makes me think about awkward puberty lessons in elementary school.) But really, if I know I'm expected to step up and be animated, I totally do. Otherwise, it's the quiet corner for me.
So what am I?
But shy vs. outgoing aside, am I an extrovert or an introvert? Like I said, back in the day I was a large-gathering-i-love-parties social addict. NOTHING could have been worse than sitting at home on a Friday or Saturday night!
And then something funny happened.
Sometime in the last year, I stopped liking parties. I stopped caring if I missed a social event. I even started to love being alone. Like, LOVE. A weekend night with no plans?? Hallelujah to high heaven! At first I thought it was "a phase I'm going through," but then it became clear the habit was going to stick around.
Last Friday night I took a hot shower, pulled on my favorite striped pajamas and crawled into bed to read a book and watch netflix.....at 7 pm. And I would probably do it every night if I could. Which basically means I've turned into my dad, so maybe this is genetic?
So I've diagnosed myself: I have adult-onset introversion.
What about YOU? And did it change as an adult?
more netflix and striped pajamas please,