WHEN YOU'RE NO LONGER THE LIFE OF THE PARTY

Life's short so don't force yourself to be an extravert if you're not the life of the party. You're allowed to socialise on your own terms. #lifesshort #partying

DOES AGEING CHANGE US?

Do you ever feel like you're becoming more introverted with age? My husband laughs when I say that I've become an introvert, but I really believe it's true. I'm also becoming a bit of a social recluse these days too - going out to social gatherings seems to have lost its appeal somewhere in the last decade or so. I'm content to be home in my own space and it takes a lot of incentive to get me out the front door. It feels like I'm forcing myself to do something that just doesn't appeal - and life's too short to do that anymore.

I USED TO BE AN AMBIVERT

I wrote a post ages ago about discovering the term "Ambivert" and feeling that it applied to me - an Ambivert falls somewhere in between an extravert and an introvert, they like to be sociable, but it wears them out after a while. Three years ago I could definitely relate to this, but now I'm finding I've taken it a step further and I really don't like going to large gatherings much at all. The idea of being the life of the party leaves me cold - the centre of attention is definitely not my speed at all these days.

I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me. Now I look around and wonder if I like them. #inrovertquotes

In my earlier post I shared a link to 9 qualities of an Ambivert and I could tick them all - but when I look at them now I can see that I've moved further into the introvert scale and my preference is to not participate and to steer clear of small talk and parties in general. I've listed them here if you want to see how you measure up on the Extravert/ Ambivert/ Introvert scale.

1. I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way.

2. Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much.

3. Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last.

4. Some people think I’m quiet, while others think I’m highly social.

5. I don’t always need to be moving, but too much down time leaves me feeling bored.

6. I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation.

7. Small talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, but it does get boring.

8. When it comes to trusting other people, sometimes I’m skeptical, and other times, I dive right in.


9. If I spend too much time alone, I get bored, yet too much time around other people leaves me feeling drained.

BECOMING AN INTROVERT

There's no shame in admitting that now days I don't want to be the life of the party. Life's too short to be forcing myself into a role that doesn't remotely appeal. I used to want to be popular, I used to put a lot of effort into going to places and parties because they were fun. Now I'm happier being at home or maybe in a small gathering of close family and friends. I don't want to meet strangers, I don't want to make conversation, I don't want to "party like it's 1999" (to quote Prince). I just want a calm and peaceful life.

when i say "we'll see" %there's a 100% chance tha it's not happening i may even throw in a "oh that sounds fun" for decoration but it's still not happening #humorquotes #introvertquotes

I Googled "do you become more introverted as you age?" and up popped a multitude of articles that confirmed my suspicions - including this one from Psychology Today that says we're more social when we're younger because it's important to get out there and connect and to meet our life partner. Once all those connections are in place, we're free to back off and not put ourselves out there as much. I think (for me) the desire to mix with strangers has continued to spiral down with each decade and now I've reached the point where I don't have the time or inclination to put myself out there anymore. I like my life as it is, and it takes something pretty special to shift me into "social" mode.

A large group of people is called a "No Thanks" #introvertquotes

SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Don't get me wrong, I'll always put my hand up to attend a wedding of someone I care about (or a funeral for that matter), I'll go to family events but not on the scale I used to - now I do Christmas on my terms and won't apologize for it, and I'll turn up for a small social gathering if I can leave when I've had enough. I just can't bring myself to go to work functions (thank goodness for retirement!) or to big parties where I know almost nobody. I know I'll hate it, I know I'll have a miserable time, and I know I'll be relieved when it's time to make a strategic exit.

The funny thing is that I still want to be invited, I still want to be thought about and to know that a friend would like me to come, but that doesn't mean that I'll necessarily say 'Yes' to an invition these days. I'll be weighing it up and then I'll be brave enough to say 'No' if I just can't face the stress of attending. I'm being kinder to myself these days and not putting pressure on myself to be something I'm not. Life's too short to be spending too much of it at social gatherings that drain me, or make me uncomfortable or anxious.

Listen, I still want to be invited - but I'm not coming #humorquotes #introvertquotes

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you still the life of the party? Are you one of those lucky people who loves to socialise in large groups? Or are you like me and finding it's all a bit too hard and you'd rather be enjoying a more peaceful life? We're all different - but life's too short to not be doing what makes us happy.

RELATED POSTS


Life's short so don't force yourself to be an extravert if you're not the life of the party. You're allowed to socialise on your own terms. #lifesshort #partying
Life's short so don't force yourself to be an extravert if you're not the life of the party. You're allowed to socialise on your own terms. #lifesshort #partying

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54 comments

  1. Hi BBB we are definitely sisters in another life as I would class myself as an Ambivert definitely. I also am not keen on big parties or having a hectic social life. Some of us will always be the life of the party, I know my ex sister-in-law is but for me a quiet night in with my darling is always special to me xx

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    1. I'm just not the party person of days gone by Sue - I love being with friends and family, but I cope with it much better when I'm one to one. Give me a coffee date any day and a party verrrrryyyyy rarely and I'm happy.

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    2. Yes me too! Congratulations on our 100th #MLSTL the time has flown hasn't it? I'm proud of how we have built such a strong community of bloggers who keep coming back each week. As you wrote on my post, the 'hostess(es) with the mostess' I've shared on SM xx

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    3. Hi Sue - #MLSTL has turned out to be a wonderful community and I'm so proud that we started it (and maintain it) together. I bless blogging for giving me such wonderful friends (and a BBB) x

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  2. I haven't heard of ambivert, but this does apply to me I think. My biggest issue is conferences and things like that - I can't be around other people for too long without feeling completely spent. I need an escape route.

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    1. Conferences and any gathering where I know almost noone are my biggest stressors Jo. I'm just useless at large gatherings of strangers. Some people thrive on it, but I find it a complete sweat-inducing-nightmare. Luckily I'm not important enough to be invited to them these days!

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  3. Based on these 9 statements, I am definitely an INTROVERT, not and ambivert. I have always been more comfortable in my own space, but even more so as I age. I like people, but not crowds. One on one conversation with an intelligent person is good, small talk in a group - not so good, but I can fake it if I have to. I am only comfortable being the center of attention when I am the leader,(and well prepared) as in book club discussion. Otherwise, I never like the focus to be on me. I definitely walk into a crowd and wonder if I will connect with anyone. In fact, I usually access that possibility before accepting the invitation. Malcolm and I attended a neighborhood Christmas party and left after 45 minutes. We figured that was a respectful time as to not offend the Hostess. At this stage of life we know what personalities we are drawn to and none were there that evening. The thing about declining invitations is that eventually you will cease to be invited, which is difficult at first, but I recognize that I can't have it both ways and am okay with that. I never feel the need to 'audition' to attract new friends and prefer to let relationships develop because of common interest and a genuinely soulful connection. Call me boring, but I choose to think of it as comfortable in my own skin.

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    1. Suzanne I'm exactly the same, I seem to be withdrawing further as I get older because I just don't have the headspace to be bothered trying to find common ground with people who I don't immediately connect with. I think that's why blogging appeals to me so much - it's a like minded connection with women who hold similar world views to me and who are articulate enough to express them. I love the thoughts I read, the comments people leave each other, and the similarities I discover.
      My husband says I'm an online extravert and maybe that's the case. IRL I tend to stick to one on one conversations and a very rare social gathering (where we're usually the first to leave). I'm not sure if it's because I'm married to an introvert that I'm tending that way more over time, or just a natural progression as I age. Regardless, my Ambivertedness has definitely edged further into Introversion and in another decade I'll probably be a stay at home crazy cat lady!

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    2. Leanne, you touched on something very important here - why blogging appeals to people like us. We value other women who articulate their views on a variety of topics. Most women I know IRL prefer to keep conversations light and on the surface. I like to think we go a little deeper than that here. Maybe it's safer than the real world?? Something to ponder.

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    3. I definitely feel that there is a lot more thought in the online conversations Suzanne - maybe because we're all working our way through the same questions - but from slightly different perspectives. It allows us to bounce off each other without worrying about going too deep or boring each other to death :)

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  4. Interesting post, Leanne. First time I have heard the word “Ambivert.” I have never been the life of the party. I used to think it was because I was working with people all day long that I was overstimulated and depleted. I appreciate my quiet time now more than ever. I also wonder whether writers especially enjoy solitude and they are very happy spending hours and hours alone. I especially like Suzanne’s last line “comfortable in my own skin.”

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    1. I think I used to be more social - I'm not sure if it's because I wanted to be, or because I felt like I should be??? Now I'm comfortable enough in my own skin (yes, great line!) to be able to recognize when an invitation holds no appeal and confident enough to turn it down or accept it on my own terms (ie: leave early!) I find that I really enjoy my own company and I'm really good at filling my alone time, so I just don't feel the need to step out into the noise anymore.

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  5. I'm not sure Leanne! I think I'm getting to be more picky with who I hang out with these days. We have a small group of friends who are easy to be with and know us very well, so we're always happy to go out with them. I've never been a late night party animal and as I'm not drinking these days I'm probably quite boring to some. I'm happy with a quiet night with close friends and family, who don't expect too much from me. Having said that I also like to be asked and included and sometimes I enjoy the limelight and I can become very animated when I'm in the mood. I am quite social and love a chat :) See I'm not sure what I am but I do know I am happy and that's all that matters to me :)

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    1. I'm the same in some of those areas too Deb - I can be quite chatty when it suits me, and I love being with people I love, but I just don't seem to thrive in noisy, busy environments any more. I find I end up with a raging headache and drained by the end of it all. Maybe your point about being a non-drinker comes into play (nothing to grease the works and make the interactions more interesting??)
      I'm also finding that blogging has taken up a lot of the slack in my interactions with others - there are so many interesting women to connect with online - it makes me less needy of connection in real life!

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    2. I agree with you Leanne, blogging is a wonderful way to engage with others with meaningful interactions and it makes the need for other connections a bit less. I also find my hearing is not good (it has been diagnosed as considerably reduced) especially in large noisy groups and so I don't also feel like I'm actually nearing a lot of what is said and find I smile and nod a lot. That's why smaller groups are more to my liking and they know me well! #mlstl

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    3. I'm sure my hearing isn't what it used to be Deb - but I'm too scared to get it tested in case I need hearing aids (I'm so pathetic - I feel like they'd make me look "old"!) So I do the smile and nod thing a lot - and also say Pardon?? to my husband a lot because he talks quietly - mind you he says it to me too, so maybe we both need help!

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  6. I can relate to this, Leanne. Having grown up as an Army brat and part of a large extended family, I learnt to be friendly and sociable, despite liking my own company best. In college and thereafter, I always had a large circle of friends and no one would think that I was an introvert. The fact that I always found parties and large social gatherings should have been a clue! It's only in my forties that I fully embraced that I was an introvert. Now, I know what to do to keep my energy up and guard my privacy.

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    1. I've been the same too Corinne - lots of parties and socializing when I was younger - I didn't want to miss out on the fun. Now I'm getting older I just can't be bothered with it all - the stress of who's going to be there, what to wear, how loud it will be, whether I'll end up with a headache, when I can leave politely..... it's endless!

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  7. I had to laugh as I read this because it sounds so much like me. I am still pretty outgoing but when I say "Maybe" or "We'll see" there is no chance I'm going to do it.

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    1. Me too Laurie! I try to faff my way through not answering so that I don't actually lie about not wanting to go, I actually do appreciate the invitation, but the thought of a party just does my head in these days. Fortunately there's less of them now - maybe because my friends are dwindling too!

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  8. Hi, Leanne - Another ambivert here. Sometimes I feel a bit more introverted in my retirement, and sometimes a bit more extroverted (because I have more time and energy)! Either way. I still definitely want to be invited!

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    1. I think I'm just enjoying my own company more these days Donna - and having my husband at home for random cups of coffee and chats during the day stops me feeling lonely. Blogging also fills a lot of my social needs - so I'm definitely an online extravert and an IRL introvert - which probably equals Ambivert at the end of the day.

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  9. Yes, I can certainly relate to this post Leanne. I am a Ambivert and proud of it. I enjoy one on one conversations, large parties are draining and with my hearing not as good as it should be I find keeping up with conversations quite challenging.

    I need time away from people to recharge. One lovely thing about being "older" is learning to love yourself and your own company.

    Have a fun week.

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    1. You're right about learning to enjoy our own company Suzanne - I can fill a day at home with no problems at all. It's nice to have something to do to break up the day, but I also love those days with no plans and just myself at home with a good book, or my laptop, or some other little hobby to keep me occupied.

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  10. Great post, Leanne. I didn't know I was an introvert until I took the Myers-Briggs several years ago and then it made so much sense to me. I had to laugh at the line "A large group of people is called No Thanks!" That's so true for me. I am much better in a smaller group (like another couple, maybe two but that's stretching it). We have an annual super bowl party that we go to and I always bring some sort of craft project to work on because I don't like football and I don't like mingling with people I see only once a year but I go because my husband likes to have me there. I'd much rather stay home and work in my studio.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. I did the Myers-Briggs test many years ago and came up as an extravert, when I re-did it a few years ago it came back as and introvert - my husband thought I'd cheated, but it's definitely a case of allowing myself to admit that I really don't like large gatherings, I don't enjoy too many people at once, and I'm much happier one on one or by myself. Maybe Midlife has just freed me up enough to be brave enough to say No Thanks and not care so much about not going?

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  11. Hi Leanne this is so interesting. I’ve never heard of am I wet but I think I probably am one. Biggest thing I can’t stand is making small talk, I hate it so much: #MLST Sharing

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    1. Jenali I laughed at what your autocorrect turned Ambivert into! And yes, I hate small talk too, and I especially hate it when I have trouble hearing and talking because of the background volume - it guarantees a headache every time.

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  12. I have always been an introvert. I have never been the life of the party, and never wanted to be. When I was younger, especially when I was in college, I thought it was some kind of personality defect I had. I was the only person I knew back then who didn't like going to parties! I do like small gatherings with close friends, but like you, I want to be able to leave on my own terms. I enjoy getting out occasionally, but I also enjoy being home and am very content there. At our age we get to do what we want!

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    1. You hit the nail on the head with the fact that we can do and be whoever and whatever we want these days Michele - and I LOVE that. It's sooo nice not having to accept invitations to things I don't want to attend. I figure there'll be so many other people there that they won't even notice I didn't turn up - meanwhile I'm happily home in my pajamas with a coffee and Netflix :)

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  13. Hi Leanne - I haven't heard of "ambivert". I'm an introvert with some extroversion :) I do enjoy social gatherings with my family and good friends. I'm also open to new friendship from people with similar interests like blogging. #MLSTL

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    1. I love my blogging friends Natalie - my husband says it's because I can interact on my own terms - and it's true. I come to my blog when I'm energised and ready to chat, I love the interactions and the feedback and the bouncing around of ideas with like minded people - it's an absolute joy - and makes going out almost unnecessary these days.

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  14. Hi Leanne- Great to be back with all of you at MLSTL. I've always been an introvert, and though I have an easier time talking to people since I've gotten older, being in large crowds, still doesn't thrill me. My husband and I are the same. When we get the occasional invite, it sounds good at the time but then we dread going. We like other people. We just prefer being around them in short increments. I love what you said about being kinder to ourselves in midlife. I'm glad that you are doing that. You really seem so much happier.

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    1. Hi Christina - it's lovely having you back here and catching up on your apartment adventures. I really do believe that now is the time to admit what we like and don't like and to allow ourselves the kindness of not torturing ourselves at events we don't enjoy or feel comfortable in. I'm less embarassed about leaving early these days - I just think it can be our "thing" that we show up for a while and then head home - at least we put in an appearance (most of the time!)

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  15. My goodness this post sounds like you're describing me! I hadn't heard the term ambivert before but it matches how I used to be. I was quite a social butterfly in the day but never an extrovert. Nowadays I'd say I'm very much an introvert. Socialising can drain my energy but it depends what it is and who it's with. I don't like big crowds/parties, preferring a smaller gathering. If I'm with people where I feel I can relax and be myself I am less likely to drain as quickly. If I'm with people I don't know well or with whom I feel I need to step up and be better than I think I am - more witty, more interesting, etc etc ... then my energy drains super fast! I also seem to need a lot of time alone nowadays which is fine ... but sometimes it can be too much and I can get lonely. It's interesting how we change as we get older. Once upon a time it was unheard of to be home on a Friday or Saturday night ... now that's my idea of a fabulous Friday or Saturday night - a night at home :-) I'm such a bore! xo

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    1. Hi Min - I wondered how you coped with the Bupa awards and the follow up sessions. I'd have felt incredibly out of my comfort zone and quite intimidated by it all, but you seemed to handle it well - I bet you were exhausted by the end of it all though. And yes, my favourite Friday and Saturday night activity is being home with my husband and the cats chilling out and not having any plans - maybe getting old isn't so bad after all?

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  16. I thought for a moment that I was reading about me. I so much prefer meeting someone for coffee and having a chat. I find some people are control freaks and last year I found that I didn't have much time for me. I volunteer at an op shop twice a week and both those days I help out on the counter. You have to be so out there and by the time I get home Im exhausted. I have decided Im going to do whats good for me. If its staying home on the couch with my lap top with a show on tv...yes doing more than one thing but thats me. I want whats good for me not whats good for those that really only use you. Oh dear Im going on again. #MLSTL

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    1. Bree, I think there are a lot of us who have put ourselves out for others for many, many years - volunteering our time, going out to parties so that we kept up appearances, attending functions etc that we didn't really feel like going to. I'm now claiming my time in the sun and saying "No" to things that are going to drain me, sometimes I'll step up if it's important, but life's too short to spend hours doing something I don't enjoy and then recovering from it the next day.

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  17. Hi Leanne, this post describes me quite accurately. I could tick off most of the characteristics of the Ambivert, and have known most of my life that while I can socialize with a group of people, after awhile I've had enough and need to get out of there! I recently decided, though, that too much at-home time was not healthy for me, even though I don't mind it, so I decided to re-join the church choir I was a part of in the past. And I'm glad I did that. I'm trying to maintain the balance in my life and this was one way to get out there, use my talents, and be okay with the people contact. :) Shared on SM

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    1. I push myself to keep up social contact too Candi - staying at home is easy (especially with my husband working from home) but I do need the variety and stimulation of people contact too stop me becoming too dull. I'm keeping up my exercise class and Tai Chi and some coffee dates - and adding in a new volunteer position this year to tick my social boxes.

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  18. There's no "becoming an introvert" for me. I've always been that way and need to force myself to attend events, parties, etc., and to engage with people when I'm finally there. Even on the day of, I might find an excuse to back out.

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    1. I'm getting very good at avoiding a response when I'm invited to a large gathering. Sometimes I go and actually enjoy myself, but other times (usually when I know almost nobody) I resent being pushed into being there and start looking for an excuse to leave at the first possible opportunity. I'm okay with being the boring early leaver now - nothing to prove to anybody (other than myself!)

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  19. I love the first quote, it’s so funny and true for me.

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    1. I loved all the quotes Amy - each hit the nail on the head in its own way - I'm definitely not a party person any more!

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  20. YES! That's me to a tee! The sad thing though for me is that I just moved back home 4 yr ago, and I've worked really hard at connecting with old friends as well as trying to make new. However, it seems that everyone is in their own groove and there's no space for me (or not much). So, now that I've settled into my introversion, people want to sometimes connect and I'm like .... Yeah! No thanks!

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    1. Hi Sandy - I've found that making new friends in Midlife is nigh on impossible. They all seem to be in their little circles and cracking the barriers is impossible. My friendship numbers have dwindled down to a bare handful, but with the lovely friends I've made through blogging, I don't seem to miss the IRL friends these days. I think I'm an online extravert and an IRL introvert!

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  21. I would say I have always leaned heavily towards the introvert end of the spectrum but I have always been able to function as part of a group. I prefer doing things alone but have been part of many teams. I wrote a post myself on this same subject because I do feel I’ve become even more introverted since I’ve retired. No more forced socializing for which I’m grateful.

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    1. Linda - judging from the name of your blog, I'd assume that introversion was a definite for you! But you're also right that retirement seems to make that even easier - no more putting ourselves out there for workmates or work parties, and I definitely spend more time alone than when I was working (and I don't mind that at all!)

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  22. Such a good post. I would have said, and still to a certain extent I am an extravert. However, for me that means I am comfortable-ish in large groups as I can socialise pretty well. Being a teacher, then deputy principal and a school principal meant I needed to often be a leader and speak in front of large groups. I get bored with social chit chat that is vacuous and I don't drink. But give me a small group and conversations on life and topics of appeal and I am there. I know when I became, for me an almost recluse, I hated it. I knew it wasn't me but it was anxiety and IBS keeping me tethered. Cancer and all those appointments made me get out of that horrid rut. I do not say I have to be in company all the time. I have some of best times alone, with my coffee and journal when I go out by myself...am about to do that now. I also add I still get a wee bit nervous about new settings where I need to meet and greet but I do those things anyway because for me, I would feel worse not doing so. Denyse #mlstl

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    1. Denyse, I think teaching and leading both hone our social skills and give you the qualities needed to enter social situations with more confidence. I just feel that a lot of my socializing over the years has been through obligation rather than choice (and being married to an introvert meant that I had to be the one suggesting that it would be "the good thing to do" when we accepted invitations).
      I don't want to spend my time as a hermit either and totally get what you mean about becoming a recluse if we're not careful. I'm trying to find the balance and for me that means getting out with one on one conversations and small group activities where I'm part of it, but not having to interact too much (ie: Tai Chi etc).

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  23. Interesting to think about, Leanne. I think I am probably an ambivert, but nearer the introvert end of the scale. I like going out and even meeting new people, but not too frequently and not for too long. If I can kind of sit back and soak it all in, that's better than if there is pressure for me to fill in the silence. #MLSTL

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    1. It's such a strain for me to meet new people Christie - I love the idea of it, and of making new friends, but the reality often means making idle chit chat over loud background noise, meeting people I have nothing in common with and will never see again, and then being relieved to come home again. So my partying days are definitely over!

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  24. Leanne, I know what you mean! :D #BloggersPitStop

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    1. So I guess that makes you another Midlife introvert Jean :)

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