General Question

Jeruba's avatar

After interacting with others, do you feel energized or do you need time alone to recharge your batteries?

Asked by Jeruba (41919 points ) February 2nd, 2009

To me, that (and variations of it) is one of the most telling questions on a personality inventory. In other words, does being with others pay into your energy account or take out?

Until I ran into this question for the first time, it never even occurred to me that people might get energy out of social exchanges. I figured it cost everybody a bundle just as it did me. Right after that, it dawned on me that the people who are always planning potlucks and celebrations and company picnics and so on actually like to do those things. It was a revelation. I could never figure out a reason for spreading so much suffering.

Which is it for you? Do social situations rev you up or drain you?

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25 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

They drain me more often than not. I am just this side of introvert.

Dog's avatar

I am an introvert. I am emotionally exhausted after conversation and need solitude to recharge.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I have to re-charge. That’s one reason I’d rather send an email than call someone. I don’t have to deal with the anxiety of talking to them.

jonsblond's avatar

I feel energized if we have something in common. Kind of like that first cup of coffee in the morning.

Otherwise, I hate big social gatherings. I’d prefer just a few friends. Introvert I am.

queenzboulevard's avatar

Silence is golden!

jonsblond's avatar

@queenzboulevard Lurve for silence. Can’t get enough.

Jeruba's avatar

I have this quote posted conspicuously on my cubicle wall at work:

“Silence is the essential condition of happiness.” —-Heinrich Heine

More quotes on silence here.

Sakata's avatar

I get fueled like a jetliner at any place/event where there is a group of people focusing on me. The more attention I have the more I’ll go. I’m not much for planning things too often though.

Very extroverted

jonsblond's avatar

@Jeruba My favorite would have to be “silence is the essential condition of happiness”. Lurve!

ok, I read all the qoutes on your link, picked one that meant something to me, then read the one that you posted. Didn’t mean to copy you. I guess we enjoy the same. :)

Jeruba's avatar

@jonsblond, I keep hoping my cubicle neighbors will treat me to some happiness. I can’t make my silence louder than their noise. Cubicle courtesy isn’t the question here, of course, but viewed as forms of torture the topics do have commonalities.

jonsblond's avatar

@La_chica_gomela You can’t do that with a 5 year old running around the house all day! She would go hungry.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@jonsblond: True, but cubicle neighbors can feed themselves. ;-)

jonsblond's avatar

So true.

I don’t miss the cubicle years of my life

augustlan's avatar

Anticipating the interaction: Draining. I dread it!
During the interaction: Could go either way, depending on the company and the purpose. If it’s fun or exciting, I feel good for at least a little while.
By the end of the interaction: Drained. If it was a pleasant time, pleasantly so. If not, I’m practically dead.

loser's avatar

Recharge big time!

cookieman's avatar

I’m energized in short bursts with people whose company I truly appreciate. Much longer bursts with my wife and daughter (who I rarely tire of).

Once I hit my saturation level though, I just want to be left alone for a day.

Bluefreedom's avatar

If I’m at a social gathering, with our without people that I know, it is rare for me to initiate conversations and be the center of attention. Being inconspicuous works well for me.

As far as joining in with a group that has already started talking about something, that is easier for me and especially when it is a topic that I am familiar with or a subject that interests me a lot.

During the discussion(s), I’m pretty energized if I’m focused and contributing a lot to the topics at hand. If it lasts quite a while then yes, I like to wind down afterward and take time out for me because I can get fatigued from all the activity.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I really like silence when I come home. I have so many interruptions at work each requiring multiple things to happen in order to act upon them, that having time to pull myself together mentally is golden. I could never plan exercise after work because its one more thing that requires me to think and act simultaneously.

StellarAirman's avatar

I’m an extremely strong introvert. Much happier in my room alone than out with a huge group of people. I do like a gathering of a few close friends once in a very long while but don’t like going to parties, especially where I don’t know many people. I constantly hear “You don’t talk much, do you?” from co-workers and other people I meet. Sigh.

One of the best articles I’ve read on introverts: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

wundayatta's avatar

I love being with people, yet am horribly shy and afraid no one will like me, or that I presume too much by talking to them. I hate trying to call people to ask them for things that benefit me, because I hate rejection (I can talk to people on behalf of anything that isn’t me). I won’t ask anyone to be a friend for the same reason. I live in fear of being told that I suck (so I say it to myself). Even when people are polite to me, I think that behind that politeness, they are wondering how soon they can get away. If anyone compliments me, I am sure they are merely being polite.

So, despite loving to be with people, I tend to hide in my cave, interacting with people virtually. I have no friends that I can hang out with regularly in meat space. Fortunately, I have a family to hang out with. Without that, I don’t believe I would still be able to write to you.

cwilbur's avatar

I am a classic task-focused introvert. However, once people have made it to the point where I consider them extremely close friends or family, I find that spending time with them is actually quite energizing. I also find that crowds are energizing, as long as I don’t have to interact with them as people.

Situations where I have to interact with strangers are draining unless there’s some kind of structure to it—I can handle teaching a class, I can’t handle a bar night.

cookieman's avatar

@cwilbur: That’s a really good point. In front my class, I’m the life of the party – but I feel as though that is akin to entertaining more than interacting.

tinyfaery's avatar

Introvert here. I hate parties and large gatherings, and I will avoid them at any cost. Just doing my job often drains my energy. I need a lot of time alone to recharge and to face the world. Good thing my wife understands this. My need for solitude has ruined many relationships.

augustlan's avatar

@tinyfaery Me, too. Thank god husband #2 is fine with my alone time!

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