Introvert or Extrovert? Do you give or take energy?

Introvert or extrovert?

I was out with a friend recently and the conversation turned to the inverse relationship between introvert or extrovert.  He had an interesting perspective on the dynamics of the pairing of these two types of people.  That got me to thinking…


When we hear the term introvert, I believe most of us think about that shy person who never speaks out much and just stays in the background.  That is certainly one type of introvert.  There is another.  Some introverts are actually very social in nature when out in public but it’s like that person who is a good sprinter that is very fast until they just run out of energy and just have to rest up for the next sprint.

My Son the introvertI’ll use the example of our son in high school.  He would be at school all day and when he came home, he would go to his room and we really didn’t see much of him the rest of the day.  We approached the vice-principal at his school because we were concerned.  We asked if he was quiet or anti-social at school.  She advised he was actually very involved, pleasant and social when he was there.  Then, she suggested he might actually just be an introvert.  That just didn’t make sense to me.

The vice-principal  then suggested we consider this difference between introvert or extrovert.  An introvert who is social during the day is like that sprinter.  Being social for an introvert requires a lot of emotional energy for them.   Where an introvert might naturally prefer solitude, they are required to be involved in a group dynamic and all of the efforts required to be more like the extroverts.  Until they reach that point where they don’t have to.  Then they need to retreat and recharge for a new day.

Consider the introvert like battery powered equipment.  Eventually they run out of energy.  Battery powered equipment eventually has to stop and be plugged in to recharge for a new day.