Introvert in Extrovertville

100_4262That’s not me in the middle of all the testosterone . It’s my friend Jan, an extrovert. I was hiding in the kitchen or pouring myself another glass of Chardonnay, because I am an introvert and that’s what we do at parties. We find one person to talk to, or have a glass of wine when the party grows.

As an introvert, I am at my best one-on-one. Too much time with lots of people makes me long for bed & a good book. I dread parties unless they are among long-time friends, and even then I am the first to leave. Unfortunately, my extroverted husband likes to be the last one standing. We compromise.

Many introverts suffer from social anxiety, now a recognized psychological condition. This explains why some people drink too much at parties. They are self-medicating. I have full blown phobias, so a little anxiety is like being a half pound overweight for me. Many extroverts are chronically overbooked and dive head-first into center stage, where they bask with pleasure.

I love people. I really do. But I also crave an abundance of alone time. I mean, like weeks and months where I go into my writing room and only come out to eat and sleep. I thought when I joined a writer’s organization, I’d meet kindred souls. Instead I found myself chairing a conference committee, the second in the last few years.

Introverts should not chair committees.

May is conference month and it cannot come and go soon enough for me. The event itself will be a challenge, but it’s the preparation and dealing with a committee of extroverts that really has me in a tizzy. I like to do things alone. Or with one other person. I do not shine when there are a dozen writers revising a simple letter, which is happening now and driving me insane.

The real trick for an introvert who finds herself in an extrovert-filled situation is to double up on the meditation. Or medication, or both. Because if we don’t, our nerves will fray until we lash out at others who are simply being who they are: extroverts.


  1. Great article! It’s important to understand your needs and meet them. We have to advocate for ourselves. I hope you can retreat from the committees and have more time for the one-on-one interactions that nurture you.


  2. I totally get this. A lot of people think I’m an extrovert but it’s just that I talk too much when put into situations where I feel awkward. : ) And I prefer to work alone. Being a team player creates so much tension within me that I end up exhausted.
    This year I officially retired from committee work. : )


    1. Robena, I am the same, wearing the mask of the extrovert in many roles. For years I thought I WAS an extrovert. Deluded. It was only when I realized my true nature, better late than never, that I began to listen to my inner needs. And sometimes I still get swept away, but I’m making a vow not to take on too much ever again.


  3. I hear you. It’s an internal struggle for me because I love the work that gets done in the company of others, but I listen most of the time and then I want to get things done and not just keep talking. I’ve been put in charge, too, because I know how to set an agenda and keep things moving. When people want to talk an item into the ground, I learned to delegate the work to people who were interested and could work on it at another time. It either happens or it doesn’t, and those most interested are in charge of the outcome.


      1. Nia, Sharon will get you off on the right foot. I think my plan to just go with the flow worked okay until now, mostly because chairwoman keeps great time. I may just be experiencing conference nerves. It’s an introvert thing:) Committee meeting at my house Sunday. Meditation and yoga double scheduled tomorrow.


  4. Sharon, our chair is an excellent business woman, great at moving things along during a meeting. But she’s detail-oriented where I see big picture and want quick result. I don’t think one way is better than the other, just different.


  5. I think if you are chairing any committee then the main thing is to do it your way and not worry too much about doing it the way you have seen others do. Delegating, as Sharon says, is an excellent idea. That way you are giving those who are most vocal and enthusiastic about a certain point the opportunity to do their best at something which will hold their interest rather than giving ‘Mavis’ the tea stall to do when what she really wants to do is ‘meet and greet’ 🙂

    What I used to do in the past is write down the tasks needing completion under each heading and then delegate accordingly. It is so easy for things to go off topic and my little list used to bring it swiftly back into focus and keep it all flowing!


  6. Lists are life-savers, Bodicia:) I’m finding my chairwoman is much different than I am, and this time around I like simply doing tasks instead of creating the whole event. Were in the final couple of weeks, so it’s almost over. Is that an introvert trait or just nerves? I find myself longing for “the end” even for happy events. I’ve never admitted that before!!! Love burying things in comments:)


  7. This post will resonate so much with so many people, I think! I really agree with Bodicia’s advice.

    The other reason people drink too much at parties is because they’re having a great time and going ‘yee-hah!’ That was me, anyway, and many like me, I think – I suppose I’m more extrovert than introvert, in that I did used to always find myself in the the centre of social gatherings – BUT!!! As I have got much older I find that I can’t be bothered anymore, particularly since I stopped enjoying drinking, so I do know what you mean, and something like your committee chairing sounds like a nightmare, so I do sympathise – mostly, these days, I just want to go home and not have to talk to anyone apart from my husband. I really get what you mean about longing for ‘the end’ even in happy events. I just like being alone (or with hubby) and peaceful, best of all! My oldest friend Helen, who I see every three months and is one of the few people I can always be bothered to talk to says ‘I’ve got enough friends now, I don’t need to make any more’ – I think I might have told you that before, but it sort of says it all, to me!

    Most importantly, please don’t feel guilty about it; you are as you are. Just find the best ways to avoid being with a load of people you don’t really want to be with – learn that ‘no’ word, and don’t join writers organisations – they take up writing time!!! xxx


  8. I actually used Bodicia’s advice yesterday and it helped enormously. As did the three glasses of wine and pizza with hubs after everyone left:)


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