Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mama Bean has some more thoughts on introversion (or: the drunkenness of being your Self)

I was commiserating with my guitar teacher, after my busy overly-social weekend, about burning out my introverted resources. I made an observation I've been mulling for a few months now - sometimes, it seems like an extroverted person, deprived of social stimulation, can then get a bit abandoned in a vibrant social setting (their! favourite! thing!), and it's almost like they're drunk - they're just a bit more punchy, a bit less inhibited, saying or doing things they might not otherwise, or might think better of outside of those circumstances. My teacher agreed with the analysis. I don't actually have many extroverts in my immediate circle, so I've been piecing this observation together for a while now.

But then I took the next thought-step which I had not previously considered: well, what about an introvert, deprived of time alone, suddenly gifted with solitude? Would they do the same? And my teacher kind of joked, "Yeah, that's why I stay up all night by myself." And he's right! The corollary for introverts exists: with an abundance of solitude, we will likewise get drunk on it - get punchy about the tasks we undertake, lose inhibitions on needing rest or other sustenance. Because it just feels so damn good to be alone :)

As I thought about this later, I wondered if it applied to other aspects of the MBPI categories. For example, I myself get a bit punchy and "social-drunk" in certain circumstances. Friends from real life might recall some sugar-fueled moments near the end of a recent day-long scrapbooking event, which involved many repetitions of the phrase, "Up your bum!" Yeah.

(Well, and I'm not claiming to be a paragon of self-control on the best of days, regardless.)

I was thinking this might be explained by the Feeler aspect of my personality sort of reveling in a surplus of Relationality. Social situations with an abundance of people I know and trust and love surrounding me provide a lush environment of friendly, relational thinking and interacting, which is my natural state, the way my head works (albeit, not always healthily.) And so, in those circumstances, I get similarly trippy and uninhibited, my brain skips some steps between The thoughts in my head and The saying them out loud.

In a way this is almost doubly dangerous, because at the same time the social-ness is depleting my introverted resources, it's potentially uninhibiting my feeler sensibilities, making for some very goofy, sometimes ill-advised behaviours. It's like simultaneously acting against type and acting totally within type. Yikes.

So what would be the "drunken" situations of the Thinker? Unlimited opportunity to sit and be logical? lol. Or for the Judger/Perceiver pairing? Or the Intuitive/Sensing pairing? 

You know, I think this just underscores the effects of trying to live a lifestyle which too often demands you behave against type. Under those circumstances, it's not surprising that the opportunity to behave as your inner being desires, as it most naturally is wont to do, will result in some relaxation, like your Self just breathing a sigh of relief, "Oh, thank goodness I can just Do Me now." 

And I think I'm going to become a bit more observant of when I feel this sort of personality-drunkenness (hopefully I can be self aware about it...) Because I think it will point out to me what parts of my current priorities are depriving me of the chance to be my most natural self.  I realize we can't get too entrenched in our Type - because there are weaknesses/challenges to every aspect of the Index. Life won't allow us to Never Act Against Type, and it is important to be flexible. However, I do think this phenomenon exists when I've been acting against type for too long, and that's a good reason to make some changes to lifestyle, so it's most in line with creating situations that don't constantly over-tax and over-stress the natural resources of my personality.

Just thinking about it now, I think this might be why I've been staying up so late at night, despite knowing a baby is going to wake me up several times during my sleep, despite knowing the toddler is going to wake up at 8 no matter what, despite knowing I'm sick and need rest, despite knowing what responsibilities face me the next day. It's because this is the only chance I get to be alone. And I relax a little desperately into it, trying to squeeze as much downtime activity into these brief hours as I can. I think it's also why I've been so frustrated with Sprout's unwillingness to go to bed at the same time as Bean. This is a good revelation for me to have. It will help me release the frustration, and help me go to bed at a reasonable time, instead of unreasonably indulging in meaningless, not terribly exciting late nights that only make the next day harder to get through.


  1. Oh so very true. The Rev positively glows when he is finally let loose in a room full of pepole after facing the drudgery of obligation for a while. And when I finally get alone time - real alone time - that's when I panic. Okay I need to do a zillion alone things right now aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Let's eat something ridiculous! Let's read flyers! Let's refresh the email again and again and again aaaaaaaaaa! Precious precious alone time! And of course the panic leads to squandering and then it's time to not be alone any more. ....sigh