This is such a good question!! With knowledge, time and understanding, this answer has evolved for me.
I used to believe that I was an extrovert. I have always been very outgoing. I have always had tons of energy and I have always been really easy going and easy to talk to. Gregarious, charismatic and amiable are all terms that I would describe my organic personality. I enjoy spending time around others. I spend so much time in other's company that I couldn't stand the sound of my own silence. It is has been said that extroverts thrive off of the energy of others.
Once I was forced to listen to the sound of my own silence, I began to value it and honor it. I didn't want just anyone in my personal space. I didn't always want to hang out and be around a large gathering of people. I began to enjoy it less and less. I started choosing myself and my space over others. Not to say that extroverts don't value their personal space. This was the point of articulation for me.
There was also a very unhealthy side to this. As I sunk deeper and deeper into depression, I found myself spending more time alone. I didn't want others to see me go through what I was going through. I knew people wouldn't understand. The energy it took for me to put on a smile in public was simply draining.
Being alone was comforting. I didn't have to pretend to be okay. I could be still and silent without displaying the signs of depression by not being my lively, friendly self. I could drag my ass all day while I was alone and no one would ever know.
After spending all this time alone, I was no longer the same. I was becoming an introvert. I began to feel recharged by time alone. I felt exhausted by the energy of others. I enjoyed my personal time and space and I reveled in it. It was no longer a prison, it became a sanctuary.
I believe that going through this helped me to understand the pieces of introverts that wasn't made clear by the definition "shy". I had a great respect for introverts as I learned that they can be far more intuitive than I imagined. I ramped up my research on the two, how they differed from one another and ways in which they were similar.
So, to answer the question, let me first admit that I hate labels and boxes. There are tens of thousands of characteristics within one individual. To say that one or the other fits one person completely diminishes the totality of the person. To say that any one person is an introvert or extrovert is not fair to the facets that appeal to the opposite side.
What are your thoughts?
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