A few years ago, I complained to a girl friend about how my then-boyfriend was getting on my nerves. I told her how we would be hanging out in his apartment on the weekend and I would ask for some “alone time” to read or go online. He would say okay, but couldn’t go for more than a few minutes before he would start chattering away to me as I sat on his couch with a book. I would ask him to please let me have some time alone; he would get angry that I, as he put it, “didn’t want him to talk” in his own home. I felt so frustrated that he wasn’t respecting, or perhaps fundamentally understanding, what “alone time” meant and why it was important to me.
“You are an introvert,” my friend told me. “You relax and recharge your batteries being by yourself and withdrawing inside your own head. It sounds like he’s an extrovert. That means relaxing and recharging means being with other people.”
Oh, I thought. No one had ever explained my personality to me quite like that before. I used to believe I had strange, inexplicable over-stimulation issues; I also used to think I was a “loner.” Deep down, though, I knew that word wasn’t correctly descriptive, because I have many friends and a close family. Fortunately my friend’s metaphor about recharging batteries made perfect sense. It’s not that I hate people or don’t have any friends; I just need to have quiet in my head to, well, recharge. Keep reading »