Introverts, extroverts and family holidays – End of the Day for April 20, 2014

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In the pas, when I’ve been tested, I have come in about equal on both the introvert and extrovert scale. There are days I crave human interaction and days that I want to hud myself away. Today, though, was a day of extroversion, which drove me into an evening of introversion.After spending all day with family and friends for the Easter holiday, I was ready to get home and have a little alone time. The quiet drive home led to a quiet night completing some work I had postponed due to being away all day. Now I am settling in even further as I dictate most of today’s essay into my iPhone.

While I certainly enjoyed the time spent conversing today, after more than a few hours, it can really tire me out. Towards the end of the day, I found myself sitting alone in a chair — near to the conversation that was taking place but far and avoid having to interact with them — that I could read something quietly by myself. It was possible to remove myself entirely (and a but rude) so I moved to the fringes where I could be involved if someone wanted something, but far enough way that I didn’t have to manage all of the hubbub.

For me, the problem of any large gathering can be crosstalk. I have a bit of trouble hearing out of one ear and that makes it very difficult to differentiate one conversation from another when there are multiple ones taking place. After a while it all turns to noise and starts give me a headache. If you watch me closely in social situations, especially noisy ones, you will see me start to turn my right ear towards people when they speak. I might even cup my hand behind my ear as if I were truly hard of hearing. It isn’t the lack of hearing for me, though, it is the difficulty in getting all the 3D audio queues needed to pull one voice out of many. I can hear them fine, but their words turn into a babble joined with all the other words in the room. This alone can put a crimp in my extroversion at times, as I tend to avoid loud situations where conversations will be taking place. You’ll rarely see me at a meetup at a bar or club — as popular as they are these days — due to this limitation.

That said, it was a good day over all. Lots of good food was eaten and lots of conversation was shared. A few new folks joined us this year which helped make the conversations a bit more interesting. Most of us have heard each other stories multiple times over, so a few fresh ones are always welcome. This familiarity is just a sad artifact of being family and friends for so long. We all can begin to repeat ourselves unless we make a conscious decision to bring new stories and ideas to the table.

After having all this time with people, I feel I need to begin my week by creeping back into my hermit’s cave and getting back to work. As varied as my work and hobbies might be, I actually can into focus quite well, sometimes. I can get into a flow state as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and the hours just fly by. This can lead to a few problems of its own, but usually it’s a good thing. It allows me to get projects completed that might otherwise sit on the back burner too long. We all have projects like that. Of course, too much focus and other more necessary things can also get postponed far too long. It is all a question of balance, introvert vs. extrovert, just like everything else in life

Sitting here, in the quiet of the night, is a pleasant change from all the activity of the day. We all need a little bit of everything in our life, conversation and quiet, loud, raucous music and soft nature sounds, the sound of the wind through the trees and the sound of cars honking on the freeway. There is an energy to all of them and I think all are important in a well rounded life.

Are you in introvert or an extrovert? Do you love being with others or love being alone? Share your feelings in the comments.

Previously on End of the Day:

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