Quick test to tell if you're more of an introvert or extrovert:
When you leave a large gathering of people (party, lecture, crowded store, concert) do you feel energized and ready for more, or drained and in need of quiet?
When you lack energy, do you seek out social stimulation, or prefer solitude to re-energize?
You've probably guessed that those who seek and gain energy from social stimulation tend to be extroverts, while those who feel drained and need solitude tend to be introverted. I am definitely in the latter category.
This seems to surprise people, especially those I encounter in my workplace. I can understand their confusion. At work, I am talkative and engage others in conversation. I prefer to be out "on the floor" than tucked away in my office when classes are visiting, and make it a point to greet those who stop by for materials or even just to chat. It's my duty as the librarian to make my learning community feel welcome in the space, and to be in tune with their preferences and needs; this is best accomplished by being present during their visits. I am "on" pretty much the entire workday, and then some. And I'm not faking it; I really do enjoy my job!
But when I come home...whoosh! All that interaction takes its toll, and I'm like a deflated beach ball. I'm ready for my usually quiet home environment, where I can take a power nap, collect my thoughts, and settle in for the evening. In the mornings, I wake up especially early just so my day is started in silence, gathering up my quiet energy to serve my patrons.
At first, I was worried about how tired I was at the end of the day. But then I realized that I was happy and tired. I imagine it's similar to the way runners feel when they complete a marathon; you've given it all you've got, and you're proud of the accomplishment. Most days, I've given the library all I've got.
Just don't ask me to Zumba with you after school. A nice walk alone, or a chat with a neighbor or two, will suit me just fine.
And if you're up for a really good read on what introverts can bring to our typically noisy society, check out Susan Cain's book. You might just find out you're a bit of an introvert, too!