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Introvert? Ambivert? HSP?

Hey hey,

So I saw this tweet floating around Twitter (hi, follow me) recently and I could not agree with it more. I did a personality test the other week and it said I was 83% introverted which didn't surprise me. Call it 'only child syndrome' but I absolutely love my own company - no, not because I think I'm fabulous, I just get exhausted when I have too much social interaction. It's strange though, because I've had people say to me 'oh but you're so confident', 'you're so loud', 'you like spending time with people'; it's true, I do enjoy spending time with others and doing fun things, but it gets to a point where I've just had enough and want to leave. I've read a few articles about being an 'extroverted-introvert', or a 'social-introvert', or even an 'ambivert' so clearly it's not just me. Reading around the subject, I've also read things about being a 'Highly Sensitive Person' (yes it's an actual thing) and it's also made me wonder if it is linked to my anxiety too.

I guess to some people, maybe even my friends, it's hard to understand. Like I've agreed to be somewhere, take part in an activity, but when I'm done, I am done, and all I can think about is going home, putting my onesie on and getting into bed. I actually sometimes find socialising exhausting, like I get home and have to have a nap, even if the activity has just been sitting in a pub. Having read a couple of articles about it, it's kind of made me understand myself better, so thought I'd just explain a couple of bits that I recognise in myself:

I hate small talk and often need back up in social situations
So with strangers, or people at work, or people I don't know very well, I'm crap at making small talk. I don't care what the weather's doing, I don't care about your next door neighbour's-sister's-best friend's wedding. Obviously I wouldn't outwardly just tell someone to shut up, but I really struggle to force conversation because I don't see the point. I'd much rather have a meaningful conversation with someone about an actual topic, and with some people, I would rather sit in silence than make awkward small talk. I would like to think of myself as a thoughtful person, so I make an effort to remember things that people have going on in their lives and ask how those things are going, how they feel about things rather than waste energy on the weather. This is why I often need back up in social situations, I feel like a toddler hiding behind her mum's leg when I meet new people. I need someone with me to do the talking and I'll come along for the ride. I'm going to a hen party in the summer which I'm so excited about because I've never been to one, but it's me and a friend of mine and the bride's (omg it's so weird calling her a bride, hi Georgia if you're reading), and then the bride's friends from outside of work who I don't know. I've already told the friend I know that she'll be doing all the talking and I'll just chirp in when I can because I hate meeting strangers. I know it will be fine once I'm there but I'm already nervous.

I'm selectively social and I don't have time for shallow friendships
I've never been one to be in a massive group of friends, there was about 8 of us in my group at school but I know of some people who are practically friends with their whole year. I've also never been a person to float around friendship groups, I have my people and I'm happy with just them. Obviously I'm friendly towards other people, I may consider them a friend but not a close friendship. I also just don't want to spend my energy on shallow friendships - I know you have different friends for different reasons, but if I get nothing back from people that I put my energy into, that friendship won't last for long. The way I explained it recently was 'if you pour all of yourself into someone else and they don't pour anything into you, they'll end up full and you'll end up empty', and to be honest, I've been left feeling a bit empty by some friendships recently.

I need my own space
Whether this be with friends, family, at work, I need space. I go running at lunch time on my own just so I can have my own space and recharge my brain. Someone at work suggested coming with me recently and I had to kind of politely say no because it's time I need for myself. At home, sometimes I'll just leave my boyfriend downstairs playing on his PS4 and I'll go upstairs and read, or watch YouTube vids, or spend an hour doing my make-up because I just need some time on my own. Even with friends, I remember when I did World Challenge a few years ago, we'd all be playing games and chatting and suddenly I would just need some alone time, so I'd go and sit in my tent and do some crosswords, because I can just get overwhelmed by constant interaction.

The introvert hangover is a thing
I guess it's all linked together - being an introvert, being a Highly Sensitive Person, having anxiety (bloody hell, how many more boxes can I tick?!). It's like the whole world is 'turned up' in my brain and I can't always switch off from it. This is why I get so tired: there's always something going on, my brain is always darting between sights, sounds, smells, and trying to organise it all in my head. I laugh at myself because I'm like Lennie from Of Mice & Men with his dead mouse in his pocket - no, I don't carry a dead mouse around with me, but I have a blanket in my car that I often just touch and stroke with my thumb, and do the same when I'm in my dressing gown, or playing with my hair - feeling soft things gives me comfort and helps me refocus because I concentrate on what I can feel and try and ignore all of my other senses for a minute. So because of this, the introvert hangover comes after my brain has had too much excitement. Even the moment I want to leave somewhere, that can be what leads to the panic attack, because if I feel I can't escape to my safe place, I think I'm never going to get out and panic. The day after I've had social interaction, I could sometimes sleep for the whole day, or just sit on the sofa watching mindless TV - TLC is a great channel when you don't actually want to concentrate on anything and inevitably end up having a nap!

The couple of pages I've linked throughout this post give a really good understanding of all the things I've mentioned. I feel like I could write and write on this topic but don't want to bore you so I think this will do for now, but hopefully you have a better insight of what I'm like, and if you're someone who I know and do things with you might understand now why sometimes I need to leave or act the way I do! Maybe it will even explain something you feel in yourself and never knew it was a thing.


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