The other week an impromptu after work drinks thing was arranged.
Normally this is my most hated of things. I hate impromptu stuff, it gives me the willies and the shakes and I don't like it. It wasn't planned, it wasn't on my list of things that need to be done. That makes it scary.
My initial reaction is to say no to these things but I also knew that someone who complains that she doesn't have friends and then turns down opportunities to go out and make friends is a very sad person indeed.
"I'm just going to go out for one" I told The Person, "I'll be back about 8pm."
I did not come back at 8.00pm.
I came back at 1.30am.
I, however, was triumphant. Not because I'd broken down the barriers and actually made people realise that I'm super fun and brilliant. Not because I'd just had a great time. Not because I'd drunk all the drinks and danced to all the songs.
I was triumphant because I was the first person to leave the night out and come home.
Welcome to the world of an Extrovert.
There was a point at 10.00pm when I actually wanted to go home - I'd had a few drinks, had a good chat with people and was feeling good. I knew I had to be up early the next day as my Dad and his wife were coming to see us and I also knew I needed to text The Person to point out that I had indeed not come home at 8.00pm as originally planned.
If I was an Introvert, also known as The Person, this is the point at which I would have gone home. For all the reasons I just listed above.
But I am not an Introvert. I am an Extrovert and Extroverts don't leave the party early.
I made a noise about maybe going home and everyone went "No, come on to the next pub" and I, after absolutely no further persuasion whatsoever readily agreed.
For me it didn't make sense to leave the party early. Yes there were all those reasons I just listed above but you see there was one overriding factor - I was still having fun. Why on earth would anyone leave when they were still having fun? My brain cannot comprehend the thought that a person can have fun and then say to themselves "That's my fun all topped up now, I can go home."
I want more fun. I want my fun to run over and overflow. I want to keep funning until the sun comes up.
I do not get drained by being around people, even when I didn't want to go out in the first place. Once I'm in a group and talking and chatting I feel my energy levels slowly building and lifting. There have been times when I've been accused of being drunk on a night out when I've been stone cold sober. I'm not drunk, I am just giddy on the fumes of excitement, lightheaded on the vapours of jollity, blinded by the dazzle of friends. I get silly and loud and raucous and I just never want it to stop. Ever.
If I had left at 10.00pm when I had absolutely had fun and a great time I would have been left feeling a little bit empty inside. People would still be out having fun and I wouldn't be with them - not being with people who are having fun is incredibly difficult for an Extrovert. As I spoke about in this post - last year was so hard for me because I haven't had friends to go out and have fun with.
For an Extrovert my own company isn't enough. I know it's terribly uncool to admit that. We're all supposed to be self-contained hives and the internet is full of people absolutely desperate to let us all know that they are the person that is the most ok with being in their own company. I think the trouble sometimes is a misunderstanding of the phrase. When I say my own company isn't enough I'm not saying that I couldn't survive without a man in my life or I couldn't bear the solitude of living alone - believe me, as someone who has a man in their life and lives with him there are many times when I long to be in my own space. What I'm saying is that I need real life human interaction on a regular basis in order to feel happy and content.
I thank god for Twitter most days now. During the past year when I didn't have real life friends about Twitter was a god-send. I go on there every night and talk to at least one person, that was how I tried to keep my Extrovert happy. I felt like I was talking to people and making connections and being part of something. But unfortunately 140 characters just isn't enough for me, I like having actual voice conversations too.
Recently the internet has been talking a lot about being an Introvert. By doing this it becomes easy to cast Extroverts as limelight stealing show-offs who drain the energy from the poor Introverts.
But we don't mean to drain your energy. It's just that sitting at home and not talking to people for really long periods of time leaves us feeling just as shitty as you do after a long period of socialising.
And that sucks too.
For an Introvert's view of things, please go and read this post by Janet
If you have a sense of humour and are able to laugh at the tongue in cheek nature of the list then please go and read 15 Unmistakable, Outrageously Secret Signs You're an Extrovert. If you are neither of those things then don't bother, you'll get all huffy and offended on behalf of Introverts everywhere.