Thursday, August 09, 2007

Can a Recluse be an Extrovert?

I've been asking myself this question lately. I have serious reclusive tendencies. I can stay at home for a string of days without seeing or talking to a single soul and actually enjoy it. I crave quiet and solitude.

But...I am an extrovert. I'm not shy and I love to talk (really? you ask with smirk.) Put me in a group of people and I will get to know and probably enjoy every single person I meet. People energize me. They can wear me out too, but mostly, they energize me.

As much as I love people though, I've isolated myself a lot this summer. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. It's the recluse in me. And I've enjoyed some quiet and some space that I've needed.

But...all good things must come to an end, right?

The last two days I've been in the equivalent of extrovert heaven. Tuesday night I had dinner with a new friend, one I've only known in the bloggy realm. We "met" a couple of months ago, and realized that we live in the same town, our kids go to the same school, and one year our children were even in the same class. So, I asked if she wanted to get together for dinner. I haven't had a "moms night out" in a very long time, and she said yes. So we met at Chilis and talked until it closed. And it was so good for my heart! Holly is great, and you should read her blog sometime...she'll get you to thinking! And she posts some great pictures of Colorado. I'm so glad to have a new friend!

When I got home that night I realized how really reclusive I've been this summer, and how much I've missed my friends. I wonder if God was easing me gently out of my cocoon because yesterday I ran into friend after friend after friend. And I loved it.

I took the girls for their back-to-school haircuts and ran into a friend I enjoyed getting to know last year. We chatted while our kids got their trims, but we still have a lot of catching up to do.

And then I saw another friend in the library and so we just popped in to say hello and ended up talking for 45 minutes (and not quietly enough for the library I'm afraid!). As I was leaving I ran into Holly, who I had just had dinner with the night before, and we talked again, but ever so briefly. After lunch, we drove to another friend's house to swap girls for a playdate and we ended up talking on her front porch swing for over an hour. And if you think it ends there, forget it...I came home and another friend called to catch up. She told me she just got a teaching job. I'm very sad about it too because she's a close friend and we've always enjoyed doing stuff together while our kids were in school. Things are going to be quite different for both of us this year, but I'm very happy for her.

I spent some serious "people energy" yesterday. And that's probably why I fell asleep at 8:30 on the sofa. And probably why I grunted and rolled over when John tried to wake me up to come to bed.

And probably why I'm planning a nice, quiet day at home today. I need it if I'm going to catch my breath from the friend frenzy of yesterday.

So what do you think? Can one be a recluse AND an extrovert? Or am I an anomaly?


Lindsay said...

Liked your post, Mer. Yes, I think there is room for both recluse and extrovert in the same person.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I tend to be the same way, so I would have to say that it's very possible to be both an introvert and an extrovert, depending on when you catch me.

I enjoy spending time with others, but I HAVE TO HAVE "me" time. Even with just me and my husband here a lot of times, I still need alone times and those are mostly after he goes to bed at night.

Glad you caught up with your friends, though. ;-)

Love and hugs,


Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Great post Meredith! I think it's totally possible and I know people like this "in real life" :) Me, I'm more the recluse/introvert combination, but I wish I were more extroverted at times. I can totally relate to the line you wrote - "I crave quiet and solitude". That's me in a nutshell. I do enjoy getting out and seeing friends though, and it sounds like you had a great day!

Hope you enjoy your "home" day today, as well. Take care!

Holly said...

I can be all of those things depending upon the season in it's ok to be both! I had a great time, too and so needed to have some girl-time.

Baby cries! Love ya!

*carrie* said...


So glad you're having all these fun friend opporunities!

I have often said this same thing about being both an introvert and an extrovert. If I feel comfortable in a specific setting or with a certain person/group, I am very extroverted. But I can be shy in new situations, and definitely need alone time to renergize!

leigh said...

It was nice to hear that someone else feels that way too. I realize sometimes that it's been daaayyys since I left my house and yard and I'm still completely happy. But I love meeting new people and seeing old friends too. It sounds like you were overdue with your friends.

Kecia said...

Here's my deal--I love having fun with people, but I also feel satisfied having a daily routine for myself and my girls, and don't like it being disrupted, which makes me want to stay home and keep my girls home. And, sad to say, I'm not looking forward to starting all over again, again, making new friends in Magnolia. sigh.

Stephanie Kay said...

I'm the same way. I think it has something to do with being a mom. Being around little people all day consumes most of my physical, mental and emotional energy. I purposely plan our schedule so I don't go anywhere at least 2 days a week. I just need that time at home.

Unknown said...

Well I found your blog because I was wondering the same & googled "extrovert becoming a recluse" ... I've always loved social interaction & still do but recently found me self avoiding it. Just tired. I have 5 kids & a huge network & I think I'm just hungry for a lack of stimulation!