Of introverts, extroverts, and energy vampires

With all of this vampire hype, I have been thinking about what sucks the life out of me. I know. Sorta crazy to make that jump, but I did.

Why? Because for a writer, spiritual seeker, and songwriter , I am frustratingly un-self-aware. I even find it difficult to figure out whether I am an introvert or an extrovert. I mean, what really gives me energy (besides a double short latte and a chocolate chip cookie)?? Sometimes I am convinced that I am an introvert. After 3-4 hours with people, I want to just get in the car alone and drive, drive, drive. Or sit alone with my guitar or journal for a couple of hours. I recover when I am alone, lost in my own thoughts.

I am at my most introverted (or maybe “inert”) in the morning. Godforbid you say too much to me before I’ve had a cup of coffee. You just sound like that “wahh wahh wahh” teacher on Charlie Brown. Only much much louder. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss2hULhXf04 (Yes, this link is that memorable teacher- just a few seconds – give it a listen. It will make you smile.)

And then I think I must surely be an extrovert. After that first double shot, I think, “I don’t want to drive into work. There’s too much traffic and confusion – and too many people!” And, lordy, lordy, getting my middle-aged fanny in gear is rough some days. But then, I arrive and there are my precious colleagues. Instantly I’m all Chatty Kathy, and like “how was your weekend” and “has that boy got his act together yet?” It makes me really happy. Energy buzz – so nice. So, I am a little confused.

I suppose it makes sense in some ways. Most of the times I have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, my I  (for Introvert) and my E (for Extrovert) are fighting it out for dominance. http://www.myersbriggs.org/

Energy vampires, though, are people – or perhaps situations that suck the life right out of you.

For instance, I get energy from gardening. (And bad L4-L5 discs, but that’s another story.) Cleaning the house? UGH! That is why, at this point, my beloved garden is perkier, more colorful, and potentially cleaner than my house. We really should just get a tent and sleep out amongst the posies. I am not predicting a huge urge to clean house anytime soon. And – don’t turn your nose down at my skanky fridge. I’ve got compost to shovel.

Several years ago I had some choices to make in my relationships. I was finding myself increasingly sucked into people who had voracious emotional appetites of which I happened to be a main course. Seriously, I walked into the room where they were and it was like someone sat me down, poured gravy all over me and commenced chomping away. (Maybe that makes them more like  zombies?)

I am sure they didn’t mean to make me into their emotional Thanksgiving meal, but that is what was happening. So I made a radical decision. I began screening my calls. Just like that everything shifted! Before then I didn’t really know I had the right to do that. I felt a little guilty at first letting their rambling empty onto my voice mail, but that quickly faded. Now, and I kid you not, I LOVE screening calls and deciding if the call is worth my time and energy at that moment.

My advice for the day? Figure out who is draining you and decide what your purpose is in their lives. Now, think about who – and what – gives you energy. Even confused borderline introvert/extroverts can do this and create some balance. Your life energy is what enables you to make a difference in the world. Life is sadly short, as I was reminded this week with the dreadful killings in Seattle. Too short to become vampire bait.

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One Response to Of introverts, extroverts, and energy vampires

  1. Perhaps you’re an ambivert as I am realizing I am…

    Thank you for this reminder that we have the power to choose what gives us life and what sucks it out of us. And sometimes, who.

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