When discussing my Myers-Briggs personality type with a friend, I mentioned my favorite buildings to live in at my university were the ones where people didn't try to talk to me every time I entered the lobby. This friend is a stereotypical extrovert: loud, always moving, viewing any interaction as a fun interaction. Immediately he claimed that this desire not to be accosted by conversation everywhere I go was proof I was not an extrovert, but an introvert.
A lot of issues with that, but let's start here: what does being extroverted or introverted even mean? Being one or the other doesn't refer to how shy you are, how much you talk to people, or how good your social skills are. The only thing the categories describe is where you get your energy: by being alone or being surrounded by other people. If you need a breathing period after being around people for a long time, you're an introvert. If you have an intense desire to get out and see other people after being alone too long, you're an extrovert. To put it even simpler: extroverts receive energy externally, and introverts receive it internally.
I don't get my energy from pointless small-talk with strangers. Small-talk doesn't drain me, but it's never excited me the way it seems to excite other extroverts I've met. What gives me my energy is meaningful conversations with people I'm building a continuous relationship with. Some may describe that is introversion because introverts also enjoy speaking to the people they enjoy. But for me, my energy is still being gained through these few-and-far-between deep conversations, which are external. Therefore, I am gaining my energy from outside of myself. Hence, naming myself an extrovert.
Extroverts aren't all obnoxiously outgoing, highly energetic people who talk a mile a minute. They aren't always the people screaming jokes and stories to anybody who will listen. Sometimes, they're the people like me: quietly listening and observing, gaining energy simply from being in the presence of people I love. Like other people, they go through seasons and moods. Sometimes those moods are to be less sociable than normal.
Additionally, it isn't true that every extrovert is incapable of being alone. Some, like me, gain so much energy from time spent with people that sometimes they need to let some of it go. For me, I do this by spending time by myself. But the difference from introversion for me is that my alone time is for letting my energy out, not for recharging my battery.
I don't believe it's healthy for someone to stay at energy level 10 all twenty-four hours of the day. We all need time where we're not bouncing off the walls or being amped up by our friends. Realizing I need time to just chill and be content with just myself isn't the same thing as introversion, no matter how much my friend from the Myers-Briggs argument thinks it is.
So for all my fellow extroverts who don't always want to be the life of the party, remember this: you are still valid. You're still just as much of an extrovert as the kid dancing on tables and going out of their way to talk to everyone they meet. You can be extrovert and hate small talk just as much as an introvert. You can be an extrovert and still enjoy your time alone and recognize its importance in your daily life.
And next time a high-energy extrovert tells you that you aren't really an extrovert, ignore them. Don't waste your time trying to validate your personality type. They wouldn't understand it anyway.