Fortunately, I have a friend who is an expert in communications and conflict resolution, so her knowledge of personality types goes way beyond the Myers Briggs testing language. Several years ago, when I shared my E/I dilemma with her, she responded with a question. “Where do you get your energy?” she asked. “From being alone or from being with other people?”
“Oh my God!” I replied quickly (no thought required), “From being alone!”
And thus, I was deemed an introvert.
And that totally works for me.
In fact, once I’d learned the formula, I also came to acknowledge that when I make social plans, I need to remember what could drain my energy. I need to space apart my social plans and avoid over-committing. If I line up too many get-togethers, I will rebel. I will end up cancelling some of them and/or I will be cranky company at a time when I’d be better off alone.
I’m glad I know this about myself. I’m glad I’m not socializing for socializing’s sake, thinking that if I don’t, there’s something wrong with me.
That goes for dating and relationships, too. There really is nothing worse than “feeling that you must.”
…A dear friend came over recently, and we noshed on the types of Trader Joe’s foods you only buy if someone will share them with you. As we caught up, she shared with me the story of several of her friends whom she’d grouped together as “Bad Boyfriend Recidivists.” When she’d told me about their current situations, I was struck by how absurdly they were involved in their respective dating/relationship games. They were actively participating in some shit that was riddled (I mean, riddled!) with red flags.
I can’t answer that for the women in question, but the conversation led me to share two thoughts with my friend.
First, I’m glad I was once married. Sure, it didn’t take, but it happened, so I have that behind me, and maybe that history prevents some desperation I might otherwise feel.
Second, I’m glad I am okay being alone.
I then shared with my friend a line from the poet May Sarton. I should tell you that I only know of this line because I heard it on NPR. (I’ve never really taken to poetry, and I’d not previously heard of May Sarton.)
Regardless, the line is this: “Loneliness is the poverty of the self; solitude is the richness of self.”
(At least, that’s the wording I found just now through a quick Google search.)
So, I guess I’ve got a rich self. Because for all the time I spend alone, I do not feel lonely.
Still, though, there’s the conundrum. While I am quite comfortable being alone, I know that the company of another introvert would give me a joy I can’t get on my own.
I have to remind myself of the good times I’ve had sharing occasional space with a man who appreciates his own solitude. A man who craves quiet but also has good social skills. Who is an entertaining and thoughtful conversationalist. Who likes people.
… Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to read like a profile on match dot com, but if you know of anyone in the L.A. area…
Never mind. He probably would rather be alone.