Have you successfully made an intentional transition from introversion (socialization = draining) to extroversion (socialization = sustaining)? If so, please step inside and share your insights with me.
I have always been an introverted person. Partly I put this down to social anxiety and a sort of contempt during my teenaged years for my adolescent peers, which probably caused me to lose out on some opportunities to learn how to socialize well. Mostly though I think that it is just an intrinsic personality trait of mine which developed along the way into a pervasive worldview and series of life choices that have reinforced that trait. I have recently decided that I would like to try to turn that around a bit or at least develop some ways that I can overcome the sort of emotional exhaustion that I often feel following even very pleasant social interaction. (Note: I do like to get out and socialize, it just wears me out.) I am not really looking for ways to socialize more effectively (that is a separate issue) but rather for ways to help make social interaction a more nourishing and energizing activity for me rather than one which is draining and exhausting.
For the purposes of this question, my working definition of introversion vs. extroversion is basically the one that is espoused in this somewhat-famous comic
. That is to say, for right now what I am going with is the idea that while both introverts and extroverts may find socializing perfectly pleasant, for introverts it is an activity that fundamentally costs them energy
whereas for extroverts it is an activity that charges them up
. I realize that this is not a complete or perfect definition of the personality types (and that the whole introvert/extrovert dichotomy is hardly unproblematic in and of itself) but it reflects this aspect of my own life experience very well and for right now it is an excellent way of illustrating the transition that I would like to make.
My feeling is that these two ways of experiencing socialization are not wholly intrinsic to one's personality, but that they are at least partly representatives of two different outlooks or worldviews, and I would like to work on changing my worldview so that I can eventually come to see socialization as something that will make me feel good and energized rather than something that might mean I have to take a recovery day the next day. If you feel you have insights into how I might make the transition from a more introverted to a more extroverted experience, especially if this is something that you have managed to do yourself, then I would be most grateful if you would be willing to share those insights with me.
I realize that I am about to get a dozen different people telling me that I should seek therapy, but this is something I would prefer to work on on my own and I am OK with it taking some time. Also I do not have mental health insurance, am broke, and already have a calendar that is badly overloaded. I have a fair amount of experience at developing coping mechanisms and building internal change on my own, and would like to apply that to this situation rather than try to work it out with a professional. As always, thank you to everyone for your understanding and your thoughts.