Everyone’s a Vampire: Being an Introvert in an Extroverted World

Learn the main difference between being an introvert versus an extrovert and learn some tactics to keep your energy up so you can be your best self.

Everyone’s a Vampire: Being an Introvert in an Extroverted World
Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

I am lucky enough to know a lot of amazing people. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, exceptional clients, and fantastic colleagues. It is important to me that I spend time with the people in each of these groups on a regular basis.

Every last one of my interactions sucks away at my limited pool of energy until I am completely drained.

I am an introvert.

Most people would not likely think this about me. I am sociable, I get along well with others, and I can walk in and out of conversations with ease. Yet, I dislike small talk, find crowds overwhelming, and being around other people is generally exhausting.

Introverts vs. Extroverts

  • Introversion is often associated with being shy while extroversion is associated with being outgoing.
  • While these can be attributes of either, the characteristics of both are instead defined by how you get energy.
  • Extroverts get energy from being around other people and are drained when they are alone.
  • Introverts are drained by being around other people and need to be alone to recharge.

It took me a long time to understand this about myself, and a longer time still to start paying attention to how I was feeling so I could take care of myself.

I began to wonder if being tired all the time was just my natural state of being. I was used to going 100 miles an hour, working on (and in) the business all the time. It wasn’t until I became involved in a few entrepreneur mentorship groups that I was introduced to the idea of giving and taking energy. I took a few personality assessments, which are good tools to reflect on yourself, and they all identified me as an introvert. I found this surprising since I have always been social and incorrectly thought being introverted meant being shy.

Pay Attention

I started paying more attention to how I felt after certain types of interactions.

  • I noticed that 1-on-1 meetings took less energy than large gatherings.
  • If I scheduled too many back-to-back meetings in a row I would often end up disengaged by the last meeting.
  • If I didn’t leave a day open on the weekend for a time at home I would feel burnt out the following week.
  • If I booked every evening in a week with work and personal commitments I would be completely exhausted by the time the weekend came.
  • I realized that I would often go sit in a bathroom stall at a large event to have a few minutes of quiet.
  • Even having my email, Twitter, and Slack open all at the same time sometimes feels overwhelming.

While I still often overdo it and sometimes don’t listen enough to my body screaming at me to take it easy, I am learning. I have started trying to build breaks into my days and week. When I am driving between meetings I often have nothing on in the background, just quiet. I often read in my office at lunch with the door closed. My team knows it is not that I don’t want to hang out with them, but that it is a recharge time for me. I try not to book more than 2 meetings in a row. I block evenings in my calendar with DO NOT BOOK so that I don’t overbook myself. I try hard to leave Saturdays open for me to stay home and be a hermit with my husband.

Knowing that I am introvert and need to build in alone time into my days and weeks means that I am more effective and less prone to burning myself out.

In our world of constant interactions, it has become incredibly important for me to pay close attention to my energy. Otherwise, I am doing a disservice to all the incredible people in my life by not giving them the best of myself. Do you know how you get your energy?