Introvert

posted in: Introvert, Life 160 comments

I’m sinking deeper into myself. My introvert has finally caught up with my ‘extrovert’.

10 years ago, if I wrote that sentence above, my friends would have laughed. I would have laughed. My world then was full of friends, laughter, events, parties, discussions, frenzy and possibility. I was, by all accounts, an extrovert, what one would describe as “outgoing”, “loud”, and “brash”.

I wasn’t really. It was a mask I put on because it felt like the right thing to do. I was in an exciting and fast-paced world of public relations and marketing, where my days were filled with people and talking and allthethings. I was in the thick of the action, and I was in my 20’s. I wanted to soak it all in. I wanted to be liked and loved and thought about.

The mask was so familiar, I nearly thought it was a part of me. Until I met my husband-to-be, who, on the surface, was my complete opposite.

Turns out, we are more alike than we are not.

My inward turning was as natural as breathing. As the years went by and I thrived in my new role as girlfriend, fiancee, then wife, I realized that my inner introvert had emerged. The quiet me, finally breaking to the surface for air.

Motherhood completed the circle. In giving so much of myself (some days, all of me), I found comfort in solitude, in writing,  talking less, and listening more.

Lately however, I find my introvert self burrowing a deeper hole, so much so that I fear I am falling into an unfamiliar abyss of something dark. A cloud threatening to storm my way.

I’ve been unable to pinpoint any particular reason for this. My life is good. I have a loving husband who understands me, who gets my need for aloneness and occasional quiet. I have two beautiful children, who bring me much joy. We live a comfortable life, with an abundant future ahead. I have my blog, my writing, my business – all of which are going well.

And yet. Some days, I feel numb. I feel heavy. I feel joyless. I feel like crap for feeling like crap. I feel worse than crap for feeling ungrateful for the wonderful lot that is my life. So I turn inward. I sink deeper into myself and my thoughts.

In my former extrovert days, I could have easily picked up the phone and called someone, just to talk. Over the past few years however, many, if not all of my close friends have moved oceans away. We are lucky to have exchanged emails more than a couple of times a year.

I miss my friends. I even miss the old extrovert a little.

I don’t know how to get back to the comfortable level of introversion I was at. I’m afraid that if I turn inward even more, I’ll forever lose myself.

Or, I should just take Susan Cain’s advice in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (which I’m reading):

Introversion quote

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
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  • April 29, 2013 Sue

    I’ve got a little from both columns going on myself. And I think it’s ok. Can you perhaps be both as well? Do you need to trade one for the other?

    I’d love to chat about this over coffee. Ah, well. I’ll settle for a long distance {hug}.
    Sue recently wrote…Strange Gifts, Indeed.My Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I’d love to have coffee with you. It’s just the thing an introvert needs.

      I guess one can be a bit of both. It’s about energy. I need time to recharge alone. People and crowds exhaust me these days. A trip to the grocery store makes me want to curl up with a book for 2 hours after. Which is not a bad thing. 🙂

  • April 29, 2013 Kristen Daukas

    I’ve just realized over the past couple of years that I’m a forced extrovert. Most people would never believe it but it’s true. Paradise to me would be to go someplace tropical.. alone. Just for a few days a year.. time to not be forced to speak unless I want to… time to do whatever I want. You’re lucky that your husband understands your need to be alone. Mine hasn’t done that yet.. he takes my desire to “withdraw” as a sign that something is wrong when really what it is is just a need to recharge. So I can get up and be an extrovert all over again tomorrow.
    Kristen Daukas recently wrote…The Thing About Bullying – Love Is All You Need?My Profile

  • April 29, 2013 Alma

    I am totally an introvert. Always the one who is awkwardly social if in a crowd of too many people. But in the past I remember to be always this way. A loner but I could also blend into any group. I dresses my own way … combat boot, punk hair in colors , leather jacket. I never cared for what people said about me.
    The feeling you are talking about is all too familiar. Its a dangerous to teeter there for too long.
    What I do is change my routine to something completely different.It does not have to be anything drastic.
    I am a simple girl. I dont care much for extravagance so a little goes a long way.
    There was someone who told me there was something wrong with me because I could not get along with others in a social setting. I rather watch and study people.
    I only speak when I feel I have to. Words are important and should not be wasted.
    I hope you find your balance Alison.
    That book is on my list.
    Alma recently wrote…Saving Time and #IPPPMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I love you the way you are. You’ve always stood out to me as your own person and I think that is AWESOME.
      I hope I find my balance too. Changing things up may be just what I need.

  • I’ve never been an introvert in my life, but I can be a little soft-spoken with people I don’t meet, and I am a major BLUSHER. I blush at the drop of a hat. I need people all the time; it’s something that probably drives my truly introverted husband nuts. It’s going to be interesting to see how my son’s personality develops.
    I am sending a hug from far away, and I am trying to find time to read Quiet as well.
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for your hug, and hee, blusher!! Must be awkward 😉

  • This. yes … more and more it pains me to leave the house.
    I have this book sitting beside me, I have yet to open it – I wasn’t sure if it would confirm all of my fears, or help me get over them ….
    Sisters From Another Mister recently wrote…Mothers Day and shot@life with Sisters from Another MisterMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      It will help more than anything. You’ll be okay, sweetheart!

  • April 29, 2013 Kerstin

    What an honest and raw post – good for you. Good for getting it spelled out!

    I believe that we cannot stay at a comfortable level all the time. There will be ups and downs and joy and fear and harmony and anger. I personally am very much someone who would like to always stay at that comfortable level, it would make my life so much easier (that’s what I like to think) – but life just does not work that way. It’s ever evolving and changing and on those days when I’m particularly dis-satisfied I think back and wonder what I would change if I had to do it all over again – and I can never come up with any changes.

    I think as long as we are aware of where we’re headed and wanting to evolve and change and try out new things (because kids do get older and we do get new clients and…) we’ll be fine – you’ll be fine. xo

    (P.S. – I don’t know what kind of a “vert” I am – sometimes intro, sometimes extro, I guess ;))
    Kerstin recently wrote…Personal Revelation Revolution 2013 – April Round-Up. And Home Office.My Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I know I’ll be fine. Soon. Thank you, Kerstin.

  • April 29, 2013 Jessica

    I don’t think you need to try to “cure” your introversion; after all, it’s good to be yourself. However, if something doesn’t feel right, it’s definitely worth exploring. There may somewhere you need to grow, or something you need to learn. I tend to be an introvert, but sometimes, I feel like I really need other people, and to go out and play extrovert. I think we’re all a lot more complicated than just one label or another. I think the thing with introverts is that we tend to go inward for answers when something isn’t right, and maybe we don’t have all the answers, and that makes us feel worse. I hope you figure out what is making you feel crappy, so you can feel better. 🙂
    Jessica recently wrote…[27/365] Beach DayMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I hope so too, Jessica! I think maybe I just need a change of scenery. Something to recharge me.

  • April 29, 2013 Elaine A.

    I sort of feel like the introvert is coming out in me more too as I get older. But then I also just wonder if it is because I am older and wiser now and can easily figure out who and what I want to spend my time on versus sampling all kinds of things and even people. I can still talk to anyone about pretty much anything but the question is “Do I want to?”

    And I hear you on feeling numb sometimes, I do….

    xo
    Elaine A. recently wrote…A Day in the LifeMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Yes, I’m the same. I could, but sometimes, I’d rather not.
      I think age definitely has something to do with it.

  • April 29, 2013 RJ

    I am more of an introvert, my husband is the extrovert. It has definitely caused some fireworks over the course of our twenty year marriage. Glad you wrote this post, gives me something to think about. I have been feeling very similar feelings to what you described.
    RJ recently wrote…The Woven Tale PressMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      It’s so interesting when two opposites meet, yes?
      I hope you get to a better place soon!

  • April 29, 2013 Stasha

    I love my solitude. Well I always did but I crave it now. The thing is I used to be truly alone sometimes and now I never am again. Just cause there are no adults around doesn’t mean we are introverts. Just means we hang out with little people who are not old enough to drink coffee on a date 😉
    Stasha recently wrote…Monday ListiclesMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You have very good company though, yes? 🙂

  • April 29, 2013 Maureen

    I blame it on being a Pisces but I think I have both sides but I yearn to be alone most days. I don’t have any answer to this but if we live closer I’d take you out for coffee in a heartbeat 🙂
    Maureen recently wrote…Then & Now – A Personal GrowthMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I would love to have coffee with you! I wish we’d met when I worked for Nike Indonesia, I was in Jakarta every month and was bored out of my mind after work. 🙂

  • April 29, 2013 Single Mom in the South

    I’m both. When I was a SAHM, I had this need to get out and socialize with other adults or entertain in my home. Now that I work full time, that seems to take care of the social aspect and I prefer to spend my little time away from work at home with a very small circle of people. I’m definitely more introverted now.
    Single Mom in the South recently wrote…Everyday AcronymsMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I guess many of us balance both. It just depends on the season in our lives, right?

  • April 29, 2013 ilene

    I am a classic introvert! And I am very social and love in real life interaction – however, I recharge by being alone and I need this time! I am not myself without this time! Embrace your time alone, Alison. I think we all need that – especially with the external demands of raising a family and running a house. And never feel like crap for feeling like crap – I just hope that you don’t ever have to stay in that place too long. xo
    ilene recently wrote…In Praise of Pop TartsMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I definitely need alone time to recharge, and I think that’s what’s missing, hence the crap feeling. Thank you!

  • April 29, 2013 Nicole Nenninger

    First, I’d like to commend you for being so open about your thoughts and feelings. A lot of people have felt this way at one time another, me included. I’ve also lost friends along the way through moving and also through divorce as well as through my own psychological growth. Some people don’t like the improved version of me which can be a lonely place, but I’d rather be authentic with good solid boundaries instead of inauthentic and let people walk all over me or spend time with people who put me down or others down. Plus, I’ve really grown to love my own company because during my divorce I did a lot of deep inner work. Second, I’m both an extravert and introvert. I started life being extremely introverted and gradually over time, I’ve changed. I do need some alone/quiet time, but I enjoy others’ company too. I don’t like labels, though and I think it puts people in a box. I know someone who calls themselves an introvert and uses it as an excuse to cop out of life. In your situation, your underlying melancholia is your soul’s way of saying something is missing–and it’s your journey to figure it out. You don’t have to judge it, put it down, ruminate over it–it just is. I think a regular meditation time is good for that, seeing a therapist to tease it out, or talking it out with a loved one who won’t judge you, put you down, label it, or who wants to fix it for you–all those are good ways to find out what’s missing in your life. I think when you start focusing on the problem too much and not on a possible solution–that’ll get you in a spiral to nowhere. Maybe ask yourself “What’s the one thing I’m afraid to say right now?” Maybe you just need some fun and adventure to shake it up a little, or a vacation from your regular routine.
    Nicole Nenninger recently wrote…Co-Parenting and Dealing with Anger in Your KidsMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Nicole, thank you for your thoughtful comment. You’re right, focusing on a solution is way more productive (and better for the soul), than worrying about the problem. I think I just need a change of scenery, and I need some time to recharge alone (classic introvert right there), something I haven’t been getting. My husband suggested a vacation, and I’m going to take him up on it!

  • April 29, 2013 Tamara

    I think I’m a classic introvert. I love love love being alone and recharging. However if in the mind, I do love being in small and even large groups. I grew up in a large family and I learned tons about living with different personalities and I also always took the time I needed because I had a big bedroom to myself. Can you be both at different times in life? Are there true half and halfs?
    Tamara recently wrote…I Took a Breather.My Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I don’t know if there are true half and halves. Maybe. I could have been one in my heydays 🙂 But now, I truly just love recharging alone. I think that’s what’s missing. The ability to just be truly alone and in a quiet head space.

  • April 29, 2013 Ado

    Hi from Philadelphia: always thought I was an extrovert but I’m an introvert too. I figured it out by what recharges me: being alone. I need gatherings and social events to feed me too but I can’t keep up the front too long and find it exhausting. Hope you feel better my friend.

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Hiya!! We are much alike then! xo

  • April 29, 2013 Kimberly

    I’m an introvert…surprisingly.
    I still am aside from the fact that I write about serious issues like diarrhea. I mean, someone has to do it in the land of blogging.
    I think that we all change as we get older. And yes, we sometimes feel like a lost teenager with a pile of zits with a side of zits. But this is the time to look at ourselves, which you are doing, and change it. If you’re feeling llike you’re an introvert and are craving adult interactions, call a friend. Or just go out to a coffee shop. Can you mix both of those Alison’s and create something magical? Either way, you’re beautiful and really loved for who you are. You’ll find your way. xo
    Kimberly recently wrote…Mammoth Mom Myths And SEABUCKWONDERS Giveaway!My Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You are amazing and you say the right thing, always.
      Diarrhea. xoxo

  • April 29, 2013 thedoseofreality

    I think as we all get older it is normal to feel more introverted. I certainly do. And the world is sometimes just SO MUCH that we need the space and quiet. Great post.-Ashley
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You’re right, Ashley. The world is a lot, especially since we now have the online world to contend with.

  • April 29, 2013 K M

    I agree with Nicole. Please see a doctor & an intuitive or spiritual advisor. This sounds like the beginnings of depression with possible subconscious existential despair. Positive Disintegration maybe be a good route to go, but not alone and not everyone wants that. Please get help so you can figure out what you’re dealing with and have a support system for doing so.
    Please be well.

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for your comment, K M. I do know myself though, and I doubt very much that this is depression. I may have a touch of the blues, but I think it’s from not having had much time lately to recharge. Life has been busy, sometimes overwhelming, and it’s just sucking energy right out of me. It’s easy to be negative when tired. I’m making small changes daily, and my husband is helping me out by making sure I have pockets of time during the day to recharge, even if it’s just 15 minutes on my own in the shower. It makes a huge difference!

  • April 29, 2013 Kir

    I am an extrovert (as if you hadn’t guessed) but the past year or so, I find myself not wanting to reach out to other people, all of a sudden I don’t trust people anymore. I have never been very suspicious of anything or anyone but the way we communicate now (out in the open) is enough to make me want to stay inside myself.

    It doesn’t feel right for me. I feel fake and closed off, I have even caught myself not going in for a hug with people lately (and that is NOT ME) because I can’t seem to trust what I feel anymore.

    Alison , this was beautiful and heartfelt..it’s that space between the introvert and extrovert where I know you shine and glow (and wish). I think just being able to write about it means that you are on your way to the MIDDLE.

    XO
    Kir recently wrote…Help Make a Difference for the World’s Children with Shot@life and Some Incredible BloggersMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You know you can always talk to me, right? I wish we were closer!
      xo

  • April 29, 2013 Tricia

    I’m an introvert too. I tried so hard for so many years to be an extrovert because, like most introverts, I thought that’s what I was supposed to be. Only in the past few years (and yes, motherhood brought me to this place too) have I accepted and embraced my introverted ways. I’m overall happier now but I understand what you are going through too. It’s a tough balance. And it really is all about what recharges you. I hope you find your recharge.
    Tricia recently wrote…7 year anniversaryMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You’re right, it’s about recharging. I haven’t had the opportunity to truly do that on a regular basis, so I really need to get to it.

  • April 29, 2013 Arnebya

    If I am completely honest, I would have to describe myself as an introvert. Yet. I play the extrovert role so well and I use that when necessary: entertaining, out with friends, when the kids have friends over and I want them to want to come back, when the kids want “fun mom”. But I am more comfortable with being quiet. I notice it. I notice riding in the car w/the kids they are chatterboxes when my husband is in the car. When it’s just them and me, though, it’s quiet. There are a few sentences, or singing of a random song or two, but for the most part, it’s quiet. Sometimes it’s unsettling b/c I think am I so introverted that I’ve taught them to be quiet around me? OR, are they so comfortable that there is no need to fill the space between us with unnecessary words (ha! as much as I love words, it is curious that I would choose the word unnecessary to describe them EVER.)?
    Arnebya recently wrote…Abnormal New NormalMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I think you’re someone I’d love to be quiet with.

  • April 29, 2013 tracy

    Oh I’m a complete introvert. Says the girl who’d rather hide in a bathroom than talk to people.
    tracy recently wrote…Tween LessonsMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You and me, bathroom. xoxo

  • April 29, 2013 Poppy

    If you’re comfortable it doesn’t need changed, but if you have identified a few things you would like to do differently, pick up the phone and call an old friend. I’m sure they would love to hear from you. As much as I love a good party, I look forward to the time in my life when I’m alone with cats – I honestly don’t know which mask is my favorite sometimes.
    Poppy recently wrote…Angry Birds Lives – Chickens for KidsMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I see you as an extrovert, Poppy!! I’m really bad on the phone, I’d much rather see someone in person. I miss my friends terribly.

  • April 29, 2013 Alexandra

    Yes.

    The world is tough on introverts. Closet introverts. We are many different people at once. I think that retrieving into oneself for awhile is healing. When it goes on too long, I have my own internal alarms that let me know, time to do the work of getting out there. But it’s tough, when it feels comfortable to be who you are. The eye opening thing is how healing having children has been for me. I see my 3 boys, sometimes doing things with friends, and sometimes deciding to stay home, the youngest putting it best, “I don’t like it when it feels like a birthday party that’s too long.” Yes. Turn inside and anchor ourselves again, before we venture out. I love you.
    Alexandra recently wrote…This Made Me Laugh, And It’s Good To Do ThatMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Your boy is so wise! I love that saying. It’s true, I do feel that way. I need to recharge. Love you. xo

  • April 29, 2013 Kristen

    I’ve realized as I get older that I don’t need/want to be around a bunch of people all of the time. For me, my family unit is perfect most days for the company that I want to keep. On the days that I want to reach out, I have a core group of friends that I extend my hand to. They get me…the real me. They know that I can act the extrovert when I need to but they know the true introvert that I am.
    I agree, there is no need for a cure. There is just a balance between being an introvert and being lonely. I don’t think you’re lonely. I just think you’re maybe just now realizing that you don’t have to be in a lot of company to be in good company.
    Kristen recently wrote…Mother’s Day GiveawayMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I am a bit lonely I think. Most of the time, I only have my kids (not exactly talking companions right now) and my husband, whom I only see at night. I need a change of scenery, I need a friend or two. Thank goodness I have you and the others in our little group!

  • April 29, 2013 Shell

    Definitely not something that needs to be cured.

    I’m very much an introvert who has learned to extroverted when the situation calls for it, but then I have retreat back into myself. And I’m perfectly okay with that.
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I have to learn to be okay with it, and not sink too deep. I agree, not something that needs to be cure.

  • April 29, 2013 Shannon

    YES! People from my younger years would never have pegged me for an introvert. But, as I age, I have felt myself going more and more in that direction.I sometimes think I’m becoming more of myself. And I sometimes think I’m just hiding. I’ve tried, as of late, to put myself out there a bit more, to be more vulnerable, and I’ve enjoyed the results. I’m coming to realize that it is all about balance and that there are very few of us who are solely introverts or extroverts, but somewhere in between.
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You’re right, there are definitely more in-betweens than classic introverts or extroverts. I think I’m leaning more towards intro than extro though. 🙂

  • April 29, 2013 Greta

    I’ve always been an introvert, but I find that as I get older, it gets worse, I think. But you know, I think we all go through these phases where we’re trying to find our places and keep hold of ourselves. Sending hugs and lots of virtual support!
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Keeping hold of ourselves- yes, this. Slipping, slipping, slipping. I need to find focus. xo

  • April 29, 2013 Kim

    Like others have said, I am a situational extrovert but an introvert at heart. I like the middle ground – it lets me venture out of my shell for a bit and then retreat into the quiet of my thoughts again. Hope you find your comfortable middle again, Alison.
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I hope so too, Kim. Thank you!

  • April 29, 2013 Jennifer

    I think part of growing up (which we continue to do for all of our lives) is learning how to settle into ourselves and realizing that our lives are a series of shifting stages. With our kids, we are quick to say, “oh this is just a phase”, but it is the same with ourselves as well. Maybe you are settling into this phase, or maybe you are getting ready to make a transition out of it.
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I think so. Maybe. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like uncomfortable. But who does? Need to find a good balance and soon.

  • April 29, 2013 Jennifer

    I am both one and the other. I can be quiet when in a room of strangers because I like to people watch and gauge reaction from afar. I can also be the outgoing at a sales meeting, but sometimes that feels like I am stepping out of my comfort zone. I like to think I am 50/50, and I don’t think being any more or less of the other is a bad thing, just as long as you are true to yourself 🙂
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      It’s the being true to myself part I’m struggling with slightly. I feel off-kilter. I think I just need to recharge. Quietly. Like an introvert. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Kristiina

    I relate to this SO much. It’s hard because the people who knew your extrovert mask sometimes have a hard time realizing that you’ve been an introvert the whole time.
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    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Yes, exactly!

  • April 30, 2013 Amanda Jillian

    I totally know what you mean, people think I’m outgoing but really I’m just a homebody.
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  • April 30, 2013 Sue

    Introvert – or when I was a kid they just called it “shy”

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and making my SITS Day great 🙂

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      You’re welcome, I hope you had a good one!

  • April 30, 2013 Jessica

    I can be both, but I am, at my core, an introvert. I used to resist this title, but I’ve come to embrace it and love it. I think there’s good in both identities and that the key is just doing what feels right to you in the moment.

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I just need to embrace my introvert, and keep fro slipping too deep. Recharge, and refocus.

  • April 30, 2013 Lady Jennie

    You just described me! No wonder we’re friends. 🙂

    My mom says it must be because I (we) have young kids. That’s bound to suck any desire to be an extrovert out of us. But she can’t believe I’m as much of an introvert as I say I am. But there are also seasons. I always need lots of alone time, but there are certain periods where I especially need it and it’s so hard to imagine climbing out of the pit and communicating with people.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…She’s Come UnpluggedMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Maybe. I hope I either get better at being an introvert, or come out to play once in a while. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 keely

    Oh, sweetness- you do realize I’m never more than a Gmail/Skype/tweet away? (And with the time difference, it’s truly never too early in the a.m. 😉 I’d offer text, etc., but that shiz can get pricey. But I hear you. I’ve found myself craving the quiet and not-going-outtiness since marrying Peej/buying a home/having those kids. It’s nice to not HAVE to “be.” But yes. Then you wonder where it/they all went. Yes.
    keely recently wrote…GIRLFRIEND Had A Stellar Opening Weekend, And I Can Exhale.My Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      I think I just went further into my head 🙂
      You’re in Chicago, 13 hours behind. We totally must Skype one day.
      Also, do you have Whatsapp on your phone? Totally free. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Christine

    I so get this in so many ways. I’m definitely an introvert by nature but I loved surrounding myself with friends and family and life and joy and excitement. I loved being in the thick of things even if I may have been slightly on the edge of the thick of things. It definitely changed when my now-husband started dating, then got married and then had kids. Working from home doesn’t necessarily help matters. What I miss most is the close friends to lean on and rely on. The combination of my retreat + everyone’s lives moving on to different places + families + work makes it hard.Ironically, when I find myself slipping deeper in that hole and feeling numb, I need to turn to the things that are truly just about me and that bring me joy – ironically turn a little bit more inwards in order to come back out the other side. You’re definitely not alone.
    Christine recently wrote…Stop Trying to Achieve BalanceMy Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      This is why I need to do yoga again. It pushes me to turn inward in a good way.

  • April 30, 2013 Alexa (katbiggie)

    Oh boy do I understand this sentiment! There are days I just cannot wait to be by myself. totally by myself. Quiet. I really think it comes from being so exhausted from giving all we have to the others around us. I was totally an extrovert. Now I am at a point where I seriously thought about asking my husband to give me a weekend in a hotel by myself for Mother’s Day!! How wrong is that???? I get it Alison. And I’m here if you ever need to chat about how you don’t want to talk to anyone! LOL.
    Alexa (katbiggie) recently wrote…Purple Hair!My Profile

    • May 3, 2013 Alison

      Ooh, that time alone in a hotel?? OMG I can already envision the feeling of cool, clean sheets on the king-sized bed I don’t have to share!

  • April 30, 2013 Natalie

    I’m somewhere in the middle…and it depends on the day and the situation. I think you can be totally happy be an introvert or the balance that you need. Whatever works for you girl…and it’s fine if some days the extrovert comes out to play some. Maybe you need a good girls’ weekend with some old friends to remind you of your old self?
    Natalie recently wrote…My Baby at Eight MonthsMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      If only, Natalie. I don’t have many friends left in Malaysia – many are living abroad, and it’s hard to make new friends. Sigh.

  • April 30, 2013 Vivian

    Girl, its like you’re in my head! I was never extroverted tho, but I do find myself becoming more and more introverted. There’s definitely nothing wrong with it, just wish I had more motivation to hang out with friends or socialize more, even though I want to, I still don’t want to. You know? I am definitely going to post about something like this soon bc it’s been on my mind a lot lately.
    Vivian recently wrote…Cover Reveal – Until I Break by Michelle LeightonMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Let me know when you do, I want to read it. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Elizabeth Kane

    (hug)

    I’ve taken that Myers Briggs Personality test about 5 times through the last 10 years. I’ve gone between two or three of the profiles, but the one that gets me is the extrovert to introvert change. It’s odd – I think I’m more extroverted when I’m with the people I like/know. That’s when I feel like an extrovert. But in other situations with people I don’t jive well with, or activities that don’t interest me that much, I naturally become more introverted, but feel the “need” to be more extroverted (in work and large social situations). I think it goes back to a false cultural ideal (at least here in the states) that extroverts are more ambitions and liked more than introverts.

    Maybe depending on what we’re doing, how we’re working, and who we’re around, we camouflage into the introvert or extrovert persona that we feel will be the most successful and liked one?

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      That could be the case, flipping from one to the other to fit in. It is definitely true of when I was younger and working outside the home. Now with two young kids, I am beyond exhausted at the end of each day, and all I want, is to be alone to recharge. After reading all these comments, and thinking about it myself for a few days, I think what it is, is that I haven’t really recharged, so I feel like I’m slipping and sinking.

  • April 30, 2013 Vicki

    Try reading “Insight” by Beth Buelow and “Introverts at Ease” by Nancy Okerlund. (Nancy calls herself a “conscious introvert”).Consider joining an online group like http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/IntrovertRetreat/.Send someone a surprise email. Go for a walk.

    Get on Facebook (lots of nice Introverts there sharing articles and pictures. We don’t talk to each other but we communicate a LOT.)

    Finally – consider talking to your doctor (seriously; never disregard the possibility that you may need a little help there.)

    Sending wishes for a better tomorrow from a fellow “Innie”.
    Vicki recently wrote…Where Did My Rich Text Mail Go?My Profile

  • April 30, 2013 Meg

    I feel like I’m the opposite. I use be such an introvert. Now I feel like I have to be more of an extrovert as I get older. It is really exhausting.
    Meg recently wrote…5 Ways To Help Yourself Have A Good DayMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      It is, isn’t it?
      I think we all need a giant nap. 🙂

    • May 5, 2013 Vicki

      Oh, Meg, no wonder you’re exhausted. Pretending to be something we’re not is difficult and the I/E difference _is all about energy_! Acting like an Extrovert will drain you.. by definition.

      You should probably also try Nancy Okerlund’s book, “Introverts at Ease”. Take deep breaths and plan plenty of time-outs for yourself!
      Vicki recently wrote…Where Did My Rich Text Mail Go?My Profile

  • April 30, 2013 Vicki

    For everyone saying “I’m a bit of both”…

    The definition of Extravert is not “outgoing, likes people”. The definition of “Introvert” is not “stay-at-home reads books”.

    It’s all about energy.

    If you like people but being at a party for a few hours drains you, you’re an introvert.
    If you love to read but staying at home with a book for two days drains you, you’re an extrovert.

    Where do you get your energy? Where do you recharge? Introverts and Extroverts actually have different brain chemistry!

    If you’re an introvert who loves going out with people, go out! Just be careful to marshall your energy. Don’t stay beyond your “battery range”. Take a break if you need one. Go outside.

    And do read more — there are Lots of books on Introversion these days! t’s not what you think!
    Vicki recently wrote…Where Did My Rich Text Mail Go?My Profile

  • April 30, 2013 Pam

    Great post! Extroversion versus introversion is a common discussion in my household where my daughter and I are the E’s and my husband and son the I’s. When it’s too quiet or isolated (an unfortunate irony considering my hearing circumstances), I become anxious and crave THE NOISE, the more people the better, with numerous opportunities to meet and greet with various individuals. THIS energizes me. My husband doesn’t get that all, but I think he occasionally yearns for some genuine connection, and maybe that’s what your numbness is all about. One thing even I can find in the quiet: if you’re trying to find something to re-energize you, THAT is where you’ll discover it, not in the midst of frenzies.

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      I think you’re right, a genuine connection. And not just virtual (because thankfully, I do get plenty of that). I think I need genuine, physical connection, beyond my family (ironically, they are the ones draining me, hah!). I need to regroup. I need to call a friend and hang out.

  • April 30, 2013 Christine Organ

    I admire your self-awareness. Your heart will tell you what you need.
    Christine Organ recently wrote…An Overflowing HeartMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Christine.

  • April 30, 2013 Kathy Radigan

    Thank you for your honest post and for starting a conversation that I have found so interesting. I have my introverted ways, but I think that for the longest time I gave into them out of fear not desire. I think my true nature is more extroverted and I have become so much more comfortable in my skin, which I think is what it’s all about. Thanks again.

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Go you, Kathy!! Isn’t it wonderful, discovering yourself again?

  • April 30, 2013 Lucy

    I am an introvert as well, though I’ve used alcohol in the past to become an extrovert, at least temporarily. I can remember cringing at my memories from the previous evening, and carrying some extra weight (mentally, physically, emotionally) because of it. I am glad that I have finally re-discovered my introverted side, along with reading and writing. That being said, I do fall into those anti-social holes at times, and they are nearly as toxic as the forced extroversion. I have always had at least one best friend and I pray I will always have this. If I don’t have regular contact with my best friends, I go a little nuts.
    Lucy recently wrote…People Love To Hate (A Response)My Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      I think I’m at that point where I am going a little nuts because I haven’t spent time with anyone other than my husband and kids, and I need to change that.

  • April 30, 2013 Rach (DonutsMama)

    I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, I have become more into myself, but it’s also the fact that I have my own people to take care of (husband, kids, parents) and I’m also less willing to be friends with everyone and everything b/c I don’t have that kind of time. But I do get that it’s comfortable to stay where you’re at. If you’re unhappy with it, I would urge you to just make one connection per week (or month even!) but if you’re ok with it? Then you really and truly don’t need to change a thing. Being an introvert is not something that needs to be cured, it’s not a disease. I just wish we didn’t feel like we all need to be extroverts. The world needs us too!
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently wrote…In Sickness & SillinessMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Oh yes, the world needs us quiet types!
      I think I just need a change of scenery. As much as I like alone time and routine, I need to change it up.

  • April 30, 2013 Asianmommy

    I’ve always been an introvert–looking forward to reading this book!
    Asianmommy recently wrote…Knitting projectsMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      I hope you do!

  • April 30, 2013 Kerry

    I’m reading Cain’s book as well, so we’ll have to exchange notes. I find myself in a similar state. I need to turn on the extroversion at work since I work in marketing, but I’m exhausted at the end of the day. I think that’s why I’m drawn to blogging and reading in my downtime.
    Kerry recently wrote…10 Acronyms I’ve Coined to Protect Myself in Public and HomeMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      From reading these comments and other discussions I’ve been having, it does appear that blogging draws many introverts. It’s the innate nature of blogging, I think. Hope you’re enjoying the book! (I am not far along enough in it as much I’d like to be – these past few weeks have been kicking my book-reading butt)

  • April 30, 2013 jasi

    we have the same dynamic in my family. i’ve always had a lot of friends and did an awful lot of entertaining in the past. i’m very outgoing and comfortable meeting new people. thinking back, i’ve always found it exhausting to be around a lot of people and maintain deeper friendships. i like to spend more time in my own head than others maybe. my seemingly shy husband has helped me realize that i’m an outgoing introvert. he is not at all shy or inward, he’s just quiet on the exterior and i’m bubbly and boisterous outwardly. i feel more free now to be myself and be okay with taking some extra time for myself. getting older really hasn’t been bad so far. =)

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Sometimes, getting older is the key to getting to know ourselves better. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Michelle

    I think I am both. Does that make sense? When I go to an event, I can talk to people easily…I like networking. And yet when I go to a party or other social event, I tend to stick with my friends…not necessarily wanting to widen my inner circle of people in my everyday life. That’s not to say I don’t make new friends, because I do on occasion. But I’m definitely more reserved in my personal life, than I am in my business life.
    Michelle recently wrote…Why You Should Scan Your Printed PhotosMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      I think we need to put on certain hats when we are out and about. Especially in marketing. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Susi

    I definitely think, I’ve become much more of an introvert in the past few years. And I can understand that feeling so well… I don’t know if it is getting older, “growing up” or something else that’s brought it out. But I know, that my “switch” started happening when we moved from Germany to the USA – there were many days I spent in silence because I was so overwhelmed. Now, it’s a comfort most days, but some days I feel like you do – sinking too deep! I want to look up that book, it sounds interesting.
    Susi recently wrote…The Blog Workshop – I’m going… in my pajamas!!!My Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Do! Tell me when you’ve read it, would love to hear what you think.

  • April 30, 2013 Susan

    I’ve always known I’m an introvert. The anxiety disorder makes it so. But I don’t think other people realize that about me. I feel like the difference between intro- and extroverts is that extroverts gain energy by being around others and introverts lose it. At least that’s how I feel after a day around people – I feel used up, even if I’ve really enjoyed their company.

    I need a ton of alone time to feel whole. And I’ve grown into being okay with that.
    Susan recently wrote…Logistical NightmareMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Yes, you’re right. It’s about the energy. I am drained around other people (these days, it’s the kids, but that’s inevitable right?). But I think I need a little extrovert reenergizing, just to change things up a little. Then I can go back to being a more balanced introvert. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Krystal

    I used to be the extrovert. The one that was always with a group of people laughing at giggling. I was one of the group at work and was surrounded by people. The corporate environment was where I would “find my voice” but I secretly preferred to be at home reading a book. Now since the move, I find myself slowly cocooning myself. The only time I get out of the house is to work out or go to work and on those days that Mr. Big has off, we go fishing but even then its just quiet. I work on my own in a 1 person office so the interaction is not there anymore. I am taking efforts to put myself out there, just to slow down the sink a bit. You’re not alone 🙂
    Krystal recently wrote…Hey, It’s Okay: Do I Remember?My Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Slowing down the sink – yes. I am okay with being VERY introverted most days. But I’m worried that I will get hermit-ish if this continues. I think I need to let the extrovert out once in a while and recharge with a friend. Then I can go back into myself again.

  • April 30, 2013 Nina

    Seriously? We really ARE sisters from another mother. It’s getting scary! I feel EXACTLY the same way.

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Oh my gosh, Nina!!!
      Wish we lived closer. I think we’d be extroverting each other out of our introvertness. 🙂

  • April 30, 2013 Kate

    This post was so well written. I can’t express how much this sounds just like me. Thank you for sharing your feelings so openly.
    Kate recently wrote…Music MondayMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Kate, thank you for your sweet comment!

  • April 30, 2013 Chris Carter

    Oh Allison- I totally get you. I have times when I sink into the depths of the “alone-ness” and “quiet abyss” and wonder how I will pull myself out. I find it always always helps to see and connect with someone in Real Life and it seems that you really do need to reach out to make close friendships that can pull you out of isolation and shed a little light on your dark corner of the world. It just takes one friend. To call and reach out to- it’s amazing how just the act of connecting with someone ‘outside of your quiet’ helps pull you away from the depths you were heading toward.
    Chris Carter recently wrote…Devotional Diaries: Week 4My Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Chris. I think so too, I need one real life connection right now (outside of my kids and husband).

  • May 1, 2013 Julia\'s Math

    Perhaps the truth is in the middle and you are both- most things in life are not so black and white. I also think the stages of life play a part- you were spot on when you talked about giving so much as a mother to small children. I think as they grow up, and require less, you will have more to give. I find myself hesitant at times to make the effort to reach out, but I’m always so glad I did- I feel recharged. Please feel free to drop me a line- I’d love to get to know you better!
    Julia\’s Math recently wrote…Great ExpectationsMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Julia, thank you for your sweet offer, I most certainly will drop you an email soon! (I just need to get on top of my work stuff, gimme a couple of days!)

  • May 1, 2013 Marta

    I score highly on all of those tests as being an extrovert. I love being around people, going places, I get my energy from all of that energy. I’m chatty and nice and funny. And completely terrified of people. I hate strangers. I hate going places alone because someone I don’t know might talk to me. It’s the strangest thing. In my natural state I’m an introvert. I rather be at home behind a computer screen or a TV, but when you get me out with friends I couldn’t ever imagine being inside again. None of my friends would ever call me an introvert.

    You’re going to pull out of this. You have the power to do it. It just might be that you need to get deep first, something is pulling you in that you haven’t discovered yet.
    Marta recently wrote…Sunshine and Happiness.My Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      The idea of getting deep first is a little terrifying, but it’s something that I may have to do. Eek.

  • May 1, 2013 Blond Duck

    I’m a total introvert. It’s hard to remember how I used to deal with the chaos of a newsroom– now it makes me want to break out in hives!
    Blond Duck recently wrote…The Prom PondMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Oh my, the very idea!

  • May 1, 2013 Leslie

    Are any of your old friends easily caught by phone? Anyone that you were once so close with that a random call just to talk wouldn’t be too strange? Though in all honesty, my personality swings like a pendulum between being an introvert and an extrovert; though I think deep down I’m really an introvert.
    Leslie recently wrote…10 Months OldMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      See, I hate talking on the phone.
      Introvert, much? 🙂
      I’m much better in person. I need to get out and see a friend or two.

  • May 1, 2013 sarah

    I know what you’re talking about. I’m an introvert too, and while I need my quiet and aloneness–I also crave excitement and attention from time to time. I think it’s pretty normal. We all go through funks. If you need some extra help though, I’m here. and I know a lot of other people are here for you too. You know, to talk things through. xo.
    sarah recently wrote…cautiously optimistic on this strange dayMy Profile

    • May 4, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, my sweet friend. xo

  • May 1, 2013 Jessica

    I’m both depending on the day, my mood and even the situation.

    I think that we can be both and it’s okay.
    Jessica recently wrote…I Am… A Dealer in WordsMy Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      I think it’s okay too. As long as one doesn’t slide too far into the other.

  • May 2, 2013 karen

    I’m an introvert and very happy about it Once I truly know and trust you, I can be more outgoing and wild, but I prefer to just sit, watch, listen, and think. I don’t want to give myself to strangers or those who are not worthy, I rather hold it all in.
    karen recently wrote…Dinosaur Reads AloudMy Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      That makes sense!

  • May 3, 2013 Meredith

    I am naturally introverted and have to push myself so hard to work at this sometimes. This post is beautiful and know what you mean about getting into a hole. Sometimes I know how much chatting with others would help, but…anyway, from one introvert to another, know you aren’t alone!
    Meredith recently wrote…The Dishes Can Wait; It’s Time to Find the Funny!My Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Meredith. It is good to know that I’m not alone in this.

  • May 3, 2013 Tracie

    It took me a long time to realize that at my core I am an introvert. I miss some of my old extrovert ways, but I find that going out there and embracing them in small doses is the best way for me.
    Tracie recently wrote…This Is The True Candy Crush SagaMy Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      Small doses, I think that may be the secret.

  • May 3, 2013 FitBritt

    Alison, I really appreciate this post. I too believe I am an introvert and often feel pressured by the outside world to “cure” this characteristic. I think this partly due to our changed circumstances as we get older. As we have more responsibilities, deeper and more meaningful relationships (usually with a significant other), and introduce children into our lives, we become more satisfied with our home lives and feel less need to seek outside stimulation and support. I’m not ashamed to say I often prefer staying home and working on my blog to a weeknight dinner with friends (too exhausting to go to work the next day!). But I do try to make the effort to schedule those dinners every once in awhile to ensure I’m not losing touch with people who do add a lot of value to my life. I’m just glad to know that I’m not alone out there. Thank you for the post.
    FitBritt recently wrote…What’s For Breakfast?My Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for stopping by and weighing in. You’re right, we do need to keep in touch with those who add value to our lives. That is what is missing for me right now.
      Have a great weekend!

  • May 4, 2013 Charlotte

    I can absolutely relate to this. I dunno what shifted but I find myself embracing my inner introvert, too, lately. I know I’ve been a bit withdrawn and I have comfortably nestled in that, but I find I have to really make an effort these days to crawl out of my comfortable cocoon.

    In a way this is reassuring to read, though I wish it weren’t because I wish you didn’t feel this way, too.

    That all being said, there’s no reason to ever get down on yourself for feeling bad. Sometimes you just hit a funk. You’re allowed. No one–NO ONE–is judging you for it.

    I must pick up this book. Your words are always so wise; I am so very sorry I haven’t stopped by here sooner. Have been thinking of you a lot lately and so very much loved hearing you speak in the campfire video with Gigi~great job!
    Charlotte recently wrote…[sponsored post] Get Ready for Summer with Hair Removal By NairMy Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      Thank you as always, sweet Charlotte. I’ve missed you!
      Glad you caught the chat!

  • May 4, 2013 Adrienne

    Wow. Just Wow. I’m really shocked at the amount I am nodding my head and feeling a bit shocked that I could have written this myself. Well, probably not as beautifully as this post, but you’ve been able to find the words for something I’m dealing with in my own life. I just haven’t had the words. So thank you for sharing yours!
    Adrienne recently wrote…My Son Weighs in on Max and RubyMy Profile

    • May 5, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for reading, Adrienne. Are you? Retreating into yourself a bit more than you’re comfortable with? Lots of good advice in the comment thread, if you have time to look into them. 🙂

      For me, I think the key is to change up how I recharge (instead of diving into writing, reading blogs/ books). I think having a real-life connection, outside of my kids and husband, is just what I need right now. I hope you find your balance and solution.

  • May 6, 2013 My Inner Chick

    –I’ll have coffee with you this very moment.
    I have a feeling we’d have LOTS to talk about, Alison Lee.

    Sending love from MN. X

    PS. I am mostly extrovert, but at times, I just totally keep my mouth shut!
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Big Hats, Buck House, & Beautiful HarryMy Profile

    • May 6, 2013 Alison

      Oh yes, I think we would! If only.

  • May 6, 2013 Kristi

    I can be a serious introvert at times. My husband is a social butterfly and it drives me crazy!
    Kristi recently wrote…Mom Confession: I Wasted A Beautiful Saturday!My Profile

  • May 13, 2013 Runnermom-jen

    I’m sorry Alison. I know this snowball effect you’re talking about. There are days I’d like to crawl in a hole and wake up when it’s warm and sunny and all of our challenges have gone away.
    I hope you find your joy filled days again.
    xxxxxxx
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…Birds…My Profile

    • May 14, 2013 Alison

      I have, thank you! xo

  • Oh…this post just brought tears to my eyes. It is exactly how I have been feeling, exactly how I would have written a post but never have for fear that it would come out the wrong way. But the way you’ve explained it is perfect.
    Melisa – Mommy This and That recently wrote…11My Profile

    • May 15, 2013 Alison

      I’m sorry you’re feeling the same way. I found that I just needed to recharge, reach out and refocus. It helped tremendously. I hope you can find a way out!

  • May 19, 2013 Katie

    Through therapy (and motherhood) I have learned I am a total introvert. While I love attention, I “refuel” by being alone and quiet.
    Katie recently wrote…Project 365 {week 20}My Profile

    • May 20, 2013 Alison

      I remember your introvert post. That was actually started me thinking about this, even back then, yes.

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