Please don’t be alarmed if you see me fleeing the scene of a party. You see I’m an introvert (shock horror! Not you with the cat and the i-view). I need regular spells of alone time to decompress and cope with time spent in public. My idea of a good time is reading a book then watching ‘Midsomer Murders’. My idea of hell is a music festival with crowds of people, line-ups for everything and loud noise. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy spending time with (some) people and I love to dance, it’s just that I need time to recharge regularly by not interacting with anyone except for the couch. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Extroverts gain energy from time spent with others whereas introverts gain energy from being alone. The world sometimes seems set up for extroversion; open plan living spaces, hot-desking (it’s a thing apparently), communal tables at cafes and big events and festivals. I feel like I can’t hear my thoughts properly in these spaces and begin to feel anxious, frustrated and claustrophobic.

For many years I dealt with my introverted tendencies at parties by drinking. Suddenly, I’d become an extroverted introvert wearing a lampshade on my head and the like (or so I was told-the memories are hazy) but I’d pay the price the next day feeling hung-over as hell and guilty about what I might’ve said or done or who I might’ve offended. And I’d go into hiding until it was hair-of the-dog-o’clock. Now that I don’t drink, I deal with social interactions with a self-inflicted curfew and a can of ginger beer. I will eat, drink and be merry but I’ll disappear like a smoke bomb at 10.30pm (and just like that-puff-she was gone). `

 I also love living on my own. Some have asked if I get lonely but I actually don’t. It works well for me currently to have a quiet sanctuary to come back to after a day surrounded by people (especially a class full of 4-year old ones-it ain’t quiet, that’s for sure). There’s always a book friend or a TV friend or a cat friend anyhoo. If I feel like some human interaction I can walk down the street and say ‘one coffee please’ to the barista or unsuspecting members of the public or phone a friend and say ‘one friend please’ or ‘is it A, B, C or D’.

In her book, “Quiet”, Susan Cain talks about how the world is often set up for extroverts. With value being placed on being loud, having lots of friends, making quick decisions and collaboration. Introverts are more inclined to be quieter, have a few close friends, make considered decisions and work best alone.Introverts are also very sensitive to noise and lights and take on the emotions of others. So this is why we feel much more at home in a library rather than at a music festival.

Now I know when I start to feel the world closing in, it’s time to hang up the lampshade and go home or take a breather and a brisk walk around the block. How do you deal with your introversion or extroversion dear reader?

Love, light and libraries 4 lyf xxx Yvette

 Susan Cain: https://www.quietrev.com/author/susan-cain/