Realising that I'm an extrovert

Photo by Norbert Kundrak / Unsplash

I've lived most of my adult life believing that I'm an introvert.

I always thought that I needed time alone to recharge. But recently I've realised that this is totally untrue.

It is certainly true that many of the activities that I enjoy are solo activities. I like playing video games and I'm generally drawn to single-player titles; I have spent many a late night wandering the frozen wastes in Skyrim, and working towards the perfect build in Cities: Skylines. I'm slightly addicted to YouTube and can spend hours and hours in rabbit holes, whether it's watching barbershop quartet videos or productivity advice.

But lately I've realised that these activities don't energise me; in fact, I often feel bored while I'm doing this stuff. But due to what I'm increasingly sure is ADHD, I struggle to stop and find something else to do.

Another realisation I've come to lately is that I don't actually have a proper social life. I do spend lots of time interacting with other people, mostly at choir rehearsals which I attend multiple times a week. But these interactions always come with a measure of expectation or pressure; I have to run or participate in a rehearsal, or have conversations with folks I wouldn't usually spend time with.

This means that the time I do spend around other people is often exhausting to me. This is what led me to believe that I'm an introvert: while I'm good at interacting with others, it doesn't fill me with energy like it would if I were an extrovert.

But recently I've started to actually socialise a bit more. This is largely thanks to my partner, who is much better at arranging to meet up with friends than I am. And whenever we go out to dinner with friends, or invite them over for coffee, I always feel invigorated by those interactions. That's what it means to be an extrovert: meaningful social interaction gives you energy.

Come to think of it, this realisation fully explains why I always love work meetings, where most of my colleagues seem to dread them and even implement systems to actively avoid meetings. Software developers tend to be more introverted on average.

So my resolution for 2023 is to seek out more meaningful social time. I'm doing quite well so far; the other day I asked my brother to join me at the pub, and we had a great evening talking through his academic research. My mood was immediately lifted by spending that time with him.

I'm really pleased that I've come to this realisation about myself; I'm sure it'll improve my life and wellbeing!