February 21, 2024

I promise I don't hate you

Erin' it Out

The terms introvert and extrovert have been growing in popularity the last few years, but I’m not sure everyone actually knows what these words mean. Being an extrovert is more than just liking people, just as being an introvert doesn’t mean you hate people.

Psychology Today describes introversion as “a basic personality style characterized by a preference for the inner life of the mind over the outer world of other people.” Extroverts are the opposite.

I like to think of it as how you recharge. An introvert recharges via alone time, while an extrovert recharges with other people. There’s a chart explaining some of the differences. An introvert generally seeks less stimulation, thinks before they speak and value one-on-one friendships more. Extroverts seek greater stimulation, think out loud and thrive in teams, crowds and larger social networks.

You don’t have to know me for long to see that I am an introvert. I am much more comfortable with just a few close friends. I’d much rather stay in than go out for the night. My favorite hobby is reading, a pretty independent activity.

I feel like the differences between introverts and extroverts is seen pretty quickly when growing up. A lot of my friends in grade school were always looking to have sleepovers and hang out all hours out of school. I, on the other hand, valued my alone time after school, even at the age of 10.

Sometimes I would play along and say I had to ask my mom first, but as soon as I got to her, I’d tell her what was up. They wanted to have a sleepover but I didn’t want to so we would just pretend she said I couldn’t go. Not all parents might be willing to go along with something like that, but my mom is an introvert too, so she understood.

Just because I didn’t want to have a sleepover with them didn’t mean I didn’t love my friends. The problem was, I already had spent all day with them, getting to school by 7:30 a.m. and then having volleyball or basketball practice after school until 5 p.m., or even later on game nights. Sure, I loved my friends, but after that much social time, I needed a break. Spending the next 16 hours stuck in someone else’s house without any of my home comforts sounded terrible.

I’m still like this, though I’m more likely to be OK stepping outside my comfort zone now. Oftentimes, after a long day of work, I’d much prefer curling up with a book at home. However, is someone invites me to hang out, I’m more likely to say yes, simply because I go out less in Creston.

Even though I’m more likely to say yes to doing things, there are still times today that I need to rest and recharge on my own. When I say I can’t hang out, it’s generally nothing personal. In reality, I’m just an introvert who needs a little alone time.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.