“Do we become more introverted or extroverted with age?” – This question is one of the most interesting ones for an introvert like me who is very interested in human psychology and personality development, and also loves to have deep discussions! Many introverts are interested in these types of topics for various reasons, which is also why I want to share with you my experiences and thoughts about this specific topic today!
My experience: Has my introversion changed over the years?
At first, this seemed like a tough question to answer, especially since I just started with my health psychology study and try my best to adjust my lifestyle to my personality. But the more I began to think about it, the clearer I saw my viewpoint on this.
Before I tell you exactly what my opinion about this whole topic is, let me tell you a bit about my own experiences!
When I was a young kid, I always knew that I was different compared to other kids my age:
- I never particularly liked engaging in group settings.
- I never really had many friends – always just a few but close ones.
- I always preferred to be alone and by myself over going out and meeting other people.
- I always disliked talking over mundane topics.
- I was generally more on the quiet side.
The older I got, the more things I started to notice about myself!
I always came back home super tired after having class at school. This issue, in particular, already started in elementary school. At first, I thought this was because of me being up too late at night, as I always had trouble with going to sleep on time. But soon, I noticed that no matter how early I went to bed, I always felt super tired whenever I came home from school. Often, I was so tired that I was incapable of doing my homework, and the older I got, the more of an issue this became. (Yes, you guessed right, I became a “very lazy” student as a consequence of that.)
I also skipped multiple school days because I couldn’t bear being with so many people in the same room every day who would suck out all of my energy just by their presence. This was also something that already started when I first got into elementary school as a super young kid and got worse the older I became. (This was also when I first developed migraine attacks due to the high amount of stress I was put through with every day I had to attend classes at school.)
All of that got worse through-out when I started to go to high-school. → But does that mean that I became more introverted with growing older?
While I would say that my issues got worse over time, my introversion pretty much stayed the same. You could say that my body was only capable of taking so much until it started to suffer more and more from the toxic lifestyle that I had.
This only got better when I left high school and started to go to university, but it only significantly improved when I finally switched to an online university. I’m nearly migraine-free, and I’ve never felt so active and energetic my whole life! Which, by the way, is such an improvement for an introvert like me who feels tired most of the time due to too much stimulation from the outside!
My nature didn’t change. But something has, right?
As I mentioned, the one thing that has significantly improved was how I managed my “human battery” in general, to make sure that I would always be able to make the most out of my day. My confidence has also significantly improved over the past years, especially during the past months, as I started working online on social media as a digital content creator.
But looking back, the introverted young woman I am now is just as introverted as the shy young girl I used to be. I’m just a little less shy, a bit more confident, and more conscious about myself and my energy. As a result, I have a bit more energy left during the day, which makes me happier than I ever was!
Does that mean that I became more extroverted?
Of course not. Confidence and changing my way of living to always get enough recharge-time to fuel up my batteries didn’t make me more extroverted in any way. (The human brain doesn’t work this way!)
Being introverted means that your brain functions a certain way, which ultimately influences how you perceive the world and how your body reacts to outside stimulation. (This doesn’t change over time, and I’m sure that nothing will do that for you.)
That’s why it’s vital for us introverts to regularly take care of our need for solitude and give ourselves the recharge time we need as outside stimulation tires us quicker than others. The perfect lifestyle provides us with enough recharge time to fuel up our batteries and leaves enough room for alone-time in general, so our batteries don’t get empty too fast.
This will, of course, make us happier and more confident, as we will also learn more about ourselves and how our body works, but it won’t make us more extroverted.
My conclusion and opinion…
I think that society often mixes up confidence and happiness for being extroverted and shyness and withdrawal for being introverted when, in reality, none of those things mean that.
Yes, I won’t say that there isn’t a specific connection, but just as much as introverts withdrawal to recharge their batteries, extroverts do that, too (even if not as often or as much as we have to). Does that make them more introverted? No. An extrovert who sometimes enjoys some time at home to do laundry is still an extrovert, no matter how much time they spend alone.
The life circumstances you’re in will always affect the way you live your life.
Introversion is a spectrum, that’s for sure. But at least for me, I feel just as introverted as I always was. The only thing that changed over the past months and years is that I created a lifestyle that fits my introverted and highly-sensitive personality, which helps me to keep my energy level as high as possible during the day so I can make the most out of it.
I’m still someone who tires easily. I’m still someone who spends most of my time alone at home because the outside world is too hectic and energy-sucking for me. But I’m still trying to live my life in the most fulfilling way, even if it means that on some days I can’t do more than just rest.
Please, keep in mind that this is just my own experience and opinion! I’m still very young and I can imagine, that those of you who are older than me, might have experienced things differently. I would love to know what you’re thoughts are about this whole topic, so please don’t hesitate to type them into the comments!
I also just recently uploaded a german podcast episode about this whole topic as well! Feel free to listen it on Spotify, Apple iTunes or Goolge Podcast.
For more inspiration and informational content feel free to check out my social media and my podcast! And if you enjoy my stuff and want even more, I would be thrilled to welcome you as part of my patreon community!