I’ve been going to a lot of scholarship competitions lately. I usually go to them with either my dad or my mom, and I’ve noticed something. These trips provide fantastic insight into the differences between introverts and extroverts. I’d like to acknowledge that I am, in fact, an introvert. In fact, I’m so much of an introvert that my family calls my room “the cave.” My mom is also an introvert like me, and my dad is very extroverted.
For those of you extroverts out there, I want to explain what an introvert is. An introvert is not unfriendly. Introverts can be just as friendly as extroverts. The difference is in how we get our energy, or how we recharge. Extroverts get their energy from being around people. You leave an extrovert in a room by himself, and he’ll probably get depressed. Introverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being on their own. They often dislike being around large groups of people for too long, because it will burn them out. That’s not to say that we don’t like people. In general, we can be perfectly friendly. I should also point out that extroverts need their alone time too. They just happen to need significantly less of it.
What I’ve noticed when I go on these scholarship trips with my mom is that we’re both totally wiped by the end of it. She’ll quiz me for a minute or two, but then we’ll just not talk for a while, especially if we have to drive home the same day. For those long car rides home, I tend to sleep almost half of the trip. My mom is curious about my experiences for the day, but she understands that I need to rest. She’s tired too. My dad is almost the complete opposite.
After I finish a day of chatting with deans and politely asking questions of students, my dad and I get in the car to go home. And the interrogation begins. While I’m exhausted, my dad is energized. He wants to know all about my day right now. What did the interviewers ask? How did you like the food? What was your overall impression of the school? How do you think it compares to the others you’re looking at? And on and on and on. He turns into a chatter box the moment we pass through the gates of the college. Me? I’m just leaning the chair back, lowering my hat over my eyes, and praying he gets the message.
My family is evenly split between introverts (Mom and me) and extroverts (Dad and sister). My sister always wants to have parties. My mom and I complain the whole time about our house being invaded, and my dad will stand in the living room the whole party interacting with our friends. After the party is over, my mom and I will go to bed or to play on a computer, and my dad and sister will lurk around enthusing over the success of the party. It’s just how we roll.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?