Yes, I’m an introvert. I avoid parties. I don’t like crowds. I would prefer to get together with one friend than a group of people. Socializing takes a lot of energy. I have to have time to recover from the things other people find “fun” – if I have to participate at all. As a child, I was the kid who brought a book to the party.

(image text: When the invitation says BYOB, so you bring your own book)

(image text: When the invitation says BYOB, so you bring your own book)

I’m also not someone who wants to talk about whatever is bothering me. Talking it out might work for some people, but for me I need to be alone to think about things and process what the next right thing is. So while some of the more extroverted people I know are content to vent to their friends or ask advice on what to do, I retreat into myself. Neither introversion or extroversion are wrong (or right), in my opinion. They’re just two different ways of being.

One thing I’ve noticed in the past few years is that a lot of people seem to think that all autistic people are introverts. I used to believe this stereotype, too, until I got to know more autistic people. But now I’ve gotten to know enough extroverted autistic people to understand that we are all vastly different, so much more different than I once thought.

I always knew we were all different, of course, but somewhere along the way I assumed that the common traits of introverts were also common traits of most autistic people. I was so wrong. Some autistic people WANT to go to parties, and they want to have a million friends who invite them places, and they LOVE to talk about what’s bothering them and get advice about their next big decision etc.

Additionally, all introverts aren’t the same, and all extroverts aren’t the same. As individual people, we all have different preferences and needs, and we also might change over time.

I have noticed that I have grown more introverted as I age. At 23, I was more up for socializing. I cared more about what other people thought of me, and I sought out the approval of others more often than I do now. At 37, I usually wish I never had to leave my apartment. Perhaps if I live another ten years, I will either be a complete hermit or be more social. Who knows.

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?