I read somewhere that the key difference between introverts and extroverts is in the way they gain energy or momentum, in the way they recharge themselves, so to speak. For example, if one feels energized from solitude or in the submersion of a solitary activity that interests him/her, that person is likely an introvert. On the opposite end of the spectrum, an extrovert recharges him/herself in social situations and prefers group activities to one-on-one conversations. I am beyond a doubt, an introvert.
Which isn’t to say that I’m shy or meek. (I’m sure I’ve never been called either of those.) But I prefer social interactions with one or two people to those with large groups, I like to work alone without interruptions and after a particularly long day, I unwind and recharge my batteries by spending time alone or with only my husband and dog.
But even we introverts need to bond, to connect with others at some point. We humans are, for lack of a more appropriate term, pack animals, after all and even the most introverted of us needs someone with whom we can connect. And lately, I’ve been feeling a lack of kinship with the folks around me. You see, for a few years I worked with two or three people with whom I had a great deal in common, more so than I do with the average person I might happen to meet. About a year and a half ago, I took a promotion that removed me from that group and placed me in another larger group of co-workers. And there isn’t a single one with whom I have three things in common. Sure, we’re all scientists and have similar professional interests but that’s about it. We have entirely different senses of humor, different personal lives and personal goals, different perspectives on politics, religion and life, in general. This isn’t entirely a bad thing; I like to think we’ve allowed each other (a few of us, at least) to learn new things and gain a broader view on many topics. As an individual and certainly as a writer, that’s something I greatly value. But it isn’t without its drawbacks.
I’m not prone to loneliness. In fact, I quite enjoy my own company or that of a good book and I often dread social situations. (Bridal and/or baby showers are THE WORST.) But even I have found that spending 40-50 hours of every week surrounded by people to whom I can’t relate and who certainly don’t relate to me to be a lonely business. Perhaps I feel it more sharply now because I grew accustomed to spending 8 or 9 hours of every weekday with a couple of people who shared my interests and views and opinions and tastes in a great many matters and the transition from that to having NO ONE at work with even remotely similar opinions or tastes has left me wanting. I’ll admit I am a relatively restless person by nature but it seems I feel it more acutely now than I have in the past.
What’s to be gained from this? I am now more aware than usual of my need for the few people in my personal life to whom I always feel connected and for the projects in which I can lose myself – one of which is this blog. It has become a treasured outlet and even though I was reluctant at first to commit to it, I am happy I did.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: thanks for reading.