When I tell people I’m an introvert, I’m usually greeted with some variation of the phrase “but you TALK SO MUCH.”

And that’s where I think the word “introvert” kind of gets confused with being shy or socially awkward, etc. etc.

Being an introvert really just means that you get energized from being alone. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a social person or that you can’t be in social situations for very long, but it does mean that you need to take time for yourself to be refreshed and happy. A lot of times, us introverts do tend to be shy and catious in social situations, just because it’s not where we feel 100% comfortable all of the time.

Personally, I identify as what I like to call an extroverted introvert because I like to talk to people and kind of put myself out there as much as possible, but I honestly love nothing more than crawling into bed at the end of the day and just being by myself.

So if you know any introverts, or you are an introvert, as far as I can tell we are perfectly normal in social situations, but the minute the day is over we’re passing out from exhaustion and savoring in the comfort of being alone.

Alternatively, extroverts are energized from being in social situations, which is hard for me to relate to. I probably imagine that these people probably spend a lot of time on social media because they need that human interaction (not to say that I don’t, but that when I’m done with a long day of going out or being busy, I really like just being alone with my computer, my bed, and pizza).

The reason this came up was because I had a college interview day thing that I had to go to, and I did what I usually do in these sorts of situations: wait until my parents aren’t around, figure out who’s cool and relatable and nice, and stick to them like glue. It’s an effective method to building friendships and is also good because it gives almost a sense of familiarity when I’m being thrown in a completely new environment.

Also, my dad couldn’t believe that I was an introvert because he was an extrovert (I had to kindly remind him that my mom was the textbook definition of introversion). While he was off making jokes to college students and talking at a volume equivalent of a loudspeaker in a quiet room, I was observing and having stilted (but productive) conversations with the people around me. I do want to be more able to kind of have engaging conversations easily, but sometimes, all I can think is “When is this day over because my mind is not equipped for this kind of stress”.

The moral of this not-so-existential crisis: push yourself outside of your comfort zone and do what makes you happy.

In all honestly, I’m wholly convinced that I probably have two personalities because the minute I step into a social setting my smile turns up like 30 watts and I’m suddenly making bad pun after bad pun left and right. But when I’m alone (or with someone who I’m so comfortable with that I can be lazy and silent [talking takes EFFORT okay]) I change into hibernation mode. I literally came back from this interview thing, ate a slice of pizza, and passed out for like 7 hours. It was the most glorious thing. I highly recommend.