The exhaustion of extroversion - Denese Rodgers

One of my most favorite new toys is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality profile (MBTI).

It originally hit my radar back when I went through Leadership Henry. We took a written version of the profile back then. They use it as a way to help bond the Leadership class through an understanding of how differing personality types receive, process, and understand information.

It's really funny how you can have it in your mind that you are one type, and actually test out to be something entirely different. Nowadays, it is so fancy that you can actually take the test on line, although there is some argument as to whether that skewers the results of the Indicator.

Although extroversion and Introversion are the primarily components of MBTI, it is accompanied by characteristics for Intuitive vs. Sensing; Thinking vs. Feeling; and Judging vs. Perceiving.

I got so fascinated by it, that I went and got myself certified for MBTI. Now, I know I several of ya'll have thought I was certifiable for years, but this is different.

The textbook for this really cool course is "I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just Not You" (Pearman & Albritton, 1997). It is no great surprise that for my profile, I am an extravert.

I know that I draw my energy from my surroundings, but what I didn't know is that extraverts are actually "stimulus hungry." It's kind of funny that introverts have to get away from us extraverts at the end of a day to "refuel."

Gosh, that makes so much sense! A couple of years ago, Stuart and I went up to the North Georgia mountains to my mom's Hiawassee retreat. She had a lovely lakeside view, peaceful, serene -- and BORING! I was about to come out of my skin. Stuart was fine, but, Lord above, I was going through sensory deprivation. Yikes.

I need noise and people and music and food. Stuart very quickly recovered and took me over to Talullah Gorge where he trotted me all the way down into the gorge, and then all the way back up the other side.

Now, for something you may not know about us extravert types. In the same way that the "Force" has a light side and a dark side, extraverts have a hidden introvert tendency that absolutely must be catered to every now and then. It's sort of like running the Extravert tank on empty and having to access the Introvert until it gets filled again.

I cater to mine by way of a long afternoon snooze. The best siesta in the world happens after a brunch (scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, biscuits?) on a slightly chilly weekend day.

I'll turn my bed warmer on (yeah, I know I'm spoiled) and snuggle up for a totally worthless afternoon of nothing but REM. Then zoom, zoom - I'm ready to run like the Energizer Bunny again for a while.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.