Introversion and Extroversion

Am I an extrovert who just loves some gods-damned peace and quite, or am I an introvert who is energized by the intellectual stimulation of ideas, with other people being the incidental vehicle?

This page is a stub, created on 2020-04-08. Its contents are notes on the issues and angles I want to address about this topic.


For a long time, I felt uncertain whether I was an extrovert or an introvert. I questioned whether it was even a valid dichotomy. I've understood the technical distinction as being whether social interaction is energizing or draining.

I found myself torn because in social circumstances, I was very outgoing and felt energized by the interactions. But then I also found myself feeling relieved when social engagements I had committed to were cancelled, full well knowing that had I gone, I would have had a good time. Whether I felt exhausted after was hit-or-miss.

Some years ago, I hypothesized that maybe what was energizing or draining wasn't the social dimension per se, but something else. Realizing that I'm actually quite easily overloaded by sensory stimulus (eg, background noise, dynamic lights, or even simply static dim lights that demand a lot of sensory attention), I guessed that maybe I'm "an extrovert who loves some gods-damned peace and quiet".

But as I reflect on it more, I think that maybe what I'm finding so energizing isn't even the social dimension of it at all, but rather my getting excited about ideas, and the social interaction is simply the vehicle for being intellectually stimulated.

In the last year or so, I'm finding myself increasingly introverted, behaviorally, and I wonder how much that has to do with some of the factors I identified about my natural dispositions in Logicking Myself into Emotions and my growth around practicing compassion and empathy.

Given that I am fundamentally oriented in a thing-fact-task-idea way, could my automatic expenditure of emotional energy in social interactions be what I find draining? And would that mean that I am truly an introvert, after all?