Monday, February 23, 2015

Introvert or Extrovert: Which Are You?

Throughout my life, I've been confused about the answer to one of life's most often-asked questions:



This is especially true if you minor in psychology, as I did. You're constantly taking tests and analyzing your own personality as part of your daily coursework. I graduated without ever learning the answer to the question.



My mistake was in assuming that an introvert had no social skills whatsoever. An introvert would sit quietly, introspecting, while an extrovert would be chattering away. All too often, I've found myself fitting that "chattering away" description.




Finally I came to terms with the difference. It's not about how you behave when you're face to face with other people. It's about how you feel when you're face to face with other people.




An extrovert feels energized and happy when around other people. An introvert feels energized and happy being alone. Two very distinct differences. Nervously filling silence while standing at the cash register at the grocery store does not make you an extrovert. It just means you're conforming to societal norms.




What's interesting is that writers don't have to be introverts to succeed. There are quite a few extroverts in the field. They tend to excel at marketing and promotion, loving the feeling of sitting at that table at bookstores, signing books. They also are more likely to be typing away at Starbucks, comfortable being surrounded by other writing extroverts.



Are you an introvert or extrovert?

99 comments:

  1. More on the introvert side. Used to be a lot more on that side, but it was because I didn't like people that much. (Especially anyone behind the wheel of a car.) Now that I've learned to love all of God's people, I enjoy being around them more. (I still don't like slow drivers that much though.)

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    1. I think it's important to learn to love everyone...but when they're faceless people on the road or in crowds, it's easy to forget they're people...they tend to become more like obstacles, getting in the way of you being where you need to be!

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  2. I've always related to both. I LOVE to go to parties, out to dinner in groups, really, any social setting, I'm good with. However, I also enjoy being alone and reading a good book.

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    1. I never liked big groups--especially if those groups were strangers. Small parties with friends are always nice, though!

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  3. Every time I've taken the Myers-Briggs, I have been right on the fence here--a little more extroverted, but just over the line... I think I need both sides--time alone and time with people.

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    1. I took it once when I was young, but it was from a book. I seem to recall it had a LOT of questions!

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  4. Definitely an introvert. Spending time with certain people can give me an energy boost, but spending time with other people or in crowds for too long often leaves me feeling drained.

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    1. Now that I work from home, I tend to get overly chatty with random people...like the sweet cashiers at Publix. They usually have no idea they're the only people I've spoken to except my husband in three days!

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    2. Ah, so that's why those cashiers look at me funny, too. :)

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  5. I'm an introvert, but I also like writing at Starbucks (or another coffee shop or bookstore or whatever) and I suspect if I ever have the privilege, I will enjoy book signings, as well.

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    1. I rarely work away from home but today I'm working at the library for a couple of hours. I found the quietest corner in the whole place...so that says a lot about me! There are just too many people at Starbucks for my taste.

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  6. I'd say I go more the introvert way. I mean I talk to cats more than people some days, that fits it, right? lol

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    1. When my husband's out of town I do tend to talk to my dog a LOT!

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  7. Introvert here; and could also enjoy being a hermit too :)

    of course married to an extrovert :)

    betty

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    1. I'm married to an extrovert, too. I think we do that on purpose!

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  8. A friend told me once I was an extroverted introvert. When I'm in bigger groups/parties, I tend to be the quieter one, but if I'm with 1-2 people, I can be quite chatty. And I'm fine around a lot of people, or by myself. So just a mix I guess.

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    1. One thing I remember from that personality test is that it said when I'm in a group of people with whom I'm comfortable, I'm an extrovert but when I'm in a new situation, I'm a total introvert. That fits! Although if it's just a one-on-one situation, I'm pretty outgoing, even with strangers.

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  9. I'm an extrovert.. I love being around people... and talking with them :-)

    I do enjoy a little alone time as it's good to have that but I'd rather be out meeting people :-)

    The funny thing is that I was shy back in the day and I mistook that for being an introvert... once I came out of my shell I never went back :-D ..xox

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    1. Definitely--I think shyness is a very complex thing. It's more about being secure with yourself than enjoying/not enjoying people. And we all tend to have a lot of that when we're younger and base our self view on what others think.

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  10. OH, I'm definitely an introvert. I think that's one of the reasons teaching exhausts me so much--being around all of those people/kids all day long...phew!

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    1. Yeah, teaching involves the same types of skills necessary for public speaking, which terrifies even extroverts!

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  11. I'm more of an introvert if I compare myself to my husband who is definitely and extrovert and a chatting machine. I don't feel that I need people around me to get energized but my husband does. I love talking to people about things I know something about but I don't like having total strangers giving me the story of their lives while I wait at the Dr.'s office so I usually read a book.
    Love my solitude but I also love helping people, singing and performing for a crowd.

    I may call myself an introvert who is comfortable in her skin when the conditions are right.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. I get easily distracted when other people are around. I can't even read while I'm at the doctor's office. I'll try, but I end up people watching too much.

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  12. I think I'm both. I love doing author events and being surrounded by other writers and readers, but I love being alone too and can't write with others around.

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    1. I can do my freelance writing with others around...but I have to be sure nobody can see my screen. I'm weird about that!

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  13. So interesting!! Always thought I was an extrovert but I'm always super quiet around others (I like to observe lol) so I guess introvert!! Tho I'm pretty hyper day to day lol

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    1. I wonder if people-watching is just part of being a writer. We have a curiosity about people. You actually learn so much more by sitting back and watching/listening.

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  14. I'm a total introvert and the "annual get together" pic is spot on for me LOL.

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    1. Me too! Big gatherings always freak me out.

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  15. I like to go to parties and sit alone and watch everyone.

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    1. I always have liked that more--but then someone inevitably comes up and accuses you of not having fun. That's kinda annoying!

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  16. I'm a hybrid, but mostly an extrovert. I spend all day talking to people, particularly strangers, but once in awhile, I do need my time alone to recharge my batteries.

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    1. When I worked in an office and freelanced part-time, that was actually my excuse for never doing phone/Skype calls. "I'm around people and on the phone all day. When I'm home I just want to write." I've found that now that I rarely talk on the phone, I actually STILL don't want to ever talk on the phone! Email is just so much easier.

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  17. Introverted all the away. I could have modeled for that "Annual Get Together" pic.

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    1. A lot of us are relating to that one!

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  18. Everyone I know would argue the point - they think I'm an extrovert on steroids. The truth is that I totally re-charge when I am alone. I need alone time like a fish needs water. The main reason is my need for creativity; being alone shuts out the distractions and lets me immerse myself in whatever I'm doing.

    But I can be the extrovert, if the situation calls for it...

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    1. I think being creative often requires a combination of both. It's hard to get through life without at least a little of the ability to communicate with others and enjoy it.

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  19. I'm an extrovert. Oh yes I am. I love my alone time, but I can still be the life of the party. Bring it on.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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  20. Hmm, more than happy with my own company, because of my mobility issues I spend much time at home .... alone. And yet though never what you'd call a social butterfly I do enjoy the company of others and probably over compensate for spending so much time alone by wittering on at length when given the opportunity.

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    1. Me too! I think we store up all our conversation and it just all comes out in one big burst!

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  21. Ahhh! I've missed so much being out of the blogosphere. I love your new header!! :) Congrats on all the success thus far. I've been seeing your book everywhere!

    The topic today made me laugh, as I am definitely an introvert, but most people would never guess it. I love being alone for long periods of time and really hate forced social gatherings.

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    1. Glad you're back. I don't know about "success," but fingers crossed.

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  22. I'm definitely an introvert. I am exhausted every day when I have to deal with people. Also, I need at least a couple hours away from everyone and have the house alone. Not getting alone time wears me out and makes me very cranky.

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    1. When I worked in an office, I used to be able to hide in my cubicle. Now cubicles are gone and it's all just open...I don't think I'd survive in the modern workplace!

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  23. i have long called myself an extroverted introvert. i spend copious amounts of time by myself and enjoy peace and quiet, but put me in a party scene and i'll work the crowd with the best of them.

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    1. I'm not so good at working the crowd. I always get all nervous and chattery!

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  24. Never thought much about it before, but I must be an introvert. Staying home, just my cats, me and my computer, makes me happy. I'm terrible at promoting, too shy to say "Buy my books," even at a book signing. I'm the wall-flower among a group of people. Just sit and listen.

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    1. It is tough to not only get out there, but to convince people to buy your book. It just feels wrong!

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  25. Artists in general are most usually introvert, which is why they have time to let their imagination roam and create art

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    1. True! And we also spend a lot of time watching others quietly and gathering information, which is what fuels that art.

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  26. I'm not sure, but I enjoy people - no matter what size gathering, and I love my alone time. Nice topic, Stephanie.

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    1. I think we all have at least some of both personality types...it's just a matter of where we fall on the spectrum.

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  27. I'm definitely an introvert. I have a personality disorder called Schizotypal Personality Disorder and because of that I tend to stay far away from people in real life.

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  28. I'm just a weirdo. I talk too much, yet I could spend days staring at a wall and never get bored.

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    1. I'm right there with you, Elizabeth!!! Although I do get bored easily. I just identify with the "weirdo" and "talk too much" parts!

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  29. I'm an outgoing introvert, meaning I have all the characteristics of an introvert with the exception of when I have spent too much time alone. Then I know how to be outgoing and get some fresh air! :)

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    1. Oddly, I tend to get cabin fever less now that I work from home. Do you suppose your body adapts to it, like people who live in cold climates get used to being cold all the time?

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  30. This is a great question, Stephanie. I know that I don't socialize enough, especially in the winter, but I get depressed and lonely if I'm by myself all weekend. Maybe I'm an introvert with extrovert tendencies.

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    1. I think we need human interaction...it's a biological thing. I know stay at home moms and dads have groups where they get together for that human interaction...they should have that for writers and other people who work from home!

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  31. I've struggled with this too. In personality tests, I'm an extrovert, and I mostly agree with that, but I'm not the in-your-face, louder-than-anyone-else type of extrovert. Sometimes I'm quiet and observant. And I'm energized both by being around people, and by being alone. I need both social time and alone time to be happy. I can't write without silence.

    I'm definitely a people-person, though. TOO much time alone, and I get the blues.

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    1. That's a definite distinction...you can have a quiet, dignified manner and be an extrovert. If someone is a loudmouth who always has to be the center of attention, I'm guessing there's something bigger going on there than just sheer extroversion. A little narcissism perhaps?!

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  32. I'm more of an introvert, have always been. I'm not much of a people person.

    My fiancee Daisy is more of an extrovert, she loves making new friends and talking and talking and talking and talking.

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    1. I think a couple with an introvert and extrovert is the perfect match. You need that person to draw you out of your shell and they need someone who lets them be the life of the party!

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  33. I'm an introvert who really wants to be an extrovert. I want to be filled with self-confidence to be comfortable in a room full of strangers -- I want to be, but I'm not. Sometimes though, I can fake it really good!

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    1. I would love to have that confidence...even more, I'd love to be able to get up in front of an audience and speak without fear.

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  34. I do fine in social situations, I get along with most everyone, and public speaking/networking have never bothered me. But secretly, on the inside, I LOVE being alone. I crave silence and "me" time. I'm most content with a book and a margarita. You'd never see me at Starbucks with a laptop, but you'd definitely catch me at Mi Ranchito with a drink and a book!

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    1. You're speaking my language...margaritas and books or Mexican food and books. Either sounds perfect to me!

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  35. I'm definitely an introvert. I can only re-energize when I have alone time. Thankfully my husband is the same way and we are content to give each other space after a day is over.

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Sorry about the deletion, it was accidental. Here's what I think I said: You'd think, at my age, I'd have classified myself as one or the other but have never consistently done so. I remember 45 years ago when Norma wanted to know why I wanted to marry her --other than being in love with her-- I told her I needed somebody I could think around. She has a quiet voice and independent disposition --not needy. We used to go to parties and see lots of people and think, "How lovely. What ARE they?" but now mainly have old friends. We also made our own friends who made grandchildren, so we're well stocked there. However, I'm still not sure I'm introverted or not --but you've made me think about. I'll go ask Norma if I am.

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  37. Introvert and fine with it.

    Love,
    Janie

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  38. I love people, but need to recharge after interaction. So... introvert. No one would guess I'm not a complete extrovert, though.

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  39. Hmmm ... I'd say I'm mainly an introvert, with some occasional extroverted moments thrown in!

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  40. Introvert. Crowds drain me. I like being around people that I like and getting into in depth conversations with them, but it's hard making small talk with people I don't know.

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  41. I am definitely, definitely an introvert. It's very obvious to me! However, some of the people I meet really don't notice it because around people I can be pretty loud and seemingly extrovert-ish (if I am feeling up to it. Some days I am so quiet in a group). But yes, I am an introvert who needs her alone time sometimes (aka a lot xD)

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  42. I remember having this very bluntly pointed out to me by my sister :) She couldn't understand why I liked being alone and I couldn't wrap my head around why she always had to be around other people. It is kind of amazing how a lot of people fall into these two ends of the spectrum!

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  43. I always react exactly like the introvert in the poster but usually end up enjoying myself once I get to wherever I’m going. I do tend to talk non stop in social situations but much prefer my own company and a quiet night in – so I guess there is no getting away from it – I’m an introvert.

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  44. Definitely an introvert. Parties exhaust me.

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  45. I am an introvert. I did one of those personality tests a few months ago. I'm an INFJ.

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  46. I am an introvert. I did one of those personality tests a few months ago. I'm an INFJ.

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  47. I can actually be either, depending on the circumstances. If I vibe well with a certain group of people, I'll definitely be more extroverted. If not, to the corner I go...

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  48. Am I an I or an E?
    Interesting question.
    My short answer is both . . . . it depends what mood I am in.
    Sometimes I like to be the life and soul of the party, laughing and joking and teasing ~ sometimes I wouldn't dare to say boo to a goose. Rather inconsistent I suppose.
    People like me more when I am more outgoing but I do like my quiet moments.
    The character, Eddie Bluelights, is a more extroverted version of me, Ed, and he can do all the things I would like to do in real life and get away with it . . . . lol. We all do that as writers don't we.
    As I grow older the inhibitions seem to fade and I am becoming much more like Eddie, which is nice. I was very introverted when I was young . . . . so we can change certainly from i to e, but I suspect less the other way round. Eddie is simply outrageous sometimes and has told me to mention that he misread the spelling of your name a couple of times, mistaking the i in Ferris for a t. I thought, as Ed, that such a nice lady would not do such a thing !!! . . . lol

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    1. Sorry, rather spoiled that by getting your surname wrong, Faris

      Best wishes ~ Eddie

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  49. I think I'm a midvert:) But if I had to choose a camp, it would probably be intro.

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  50. I am definitely an introvert although I am trying to become an extrovert. :)

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  51. I'm an intro...hate going out of the house!

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  52. I fall squarely and precisely in the middle of the two. I usually want to go to see shows/movies etc with other people, but I'm perfectly comfortable going by myself if that's not an option. Sometimes I look forward to social events, sometimes I dread them.

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  53. I am a huge introvert. Some days I don't want to talk to anyone. Or go anywhere.

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  54. I have taken tests since I work with people and majored in Psychology and i land right in the middle! This seems to work with me depending on my mood since I sometimes love to be with people and socialize and other times I won't even answer the phone

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  55. Fun topic. I'm thinking I'm 3/4 introvert and 1/4 extrovert. :)

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  56. I'm an extrovert as long as no one is looking. *wink* I'm practicing to become an extrovert. It's not going too well.

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  57. At heart, I'm an introvert.
    Because I'm in the entertainment industry, I have to "become" an extrovert during performances. I always say that I'd be happy to perform with a bag over my head. LOL

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  58. I think I am a mixture of both. Maybe I'm an extroverted introvert? Or maybe an introverted extrovert :)

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  59. Mostly an introvert. It takes me a very long time to warm up to people when I go to family get togethers, work related events or even basic socializing events. Once I do, I'm good to go.

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  60. I'm an extroverted introvert. lol I'm happy being either one and usually have that Ahhhhh when thinking about going out but then while out am perfectly fine too. lol

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  61. I am both! I get energized in both instances. Often the thought of a social gathering might have me cringing, but once I in the situation I have fun (usually). But, I love being home and being alone and feel very happy and energized. :)
    ~Jess

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