I am neither shy nor quiet, I LOVE people, but I'm very introverted (being around people uses up all my energy).
My son, otoh, is a *raging* extrovert. He could be around 50 people 24/7 and be in hog heaven. He's the kid that in classes and camps gets paired up with the shy kids because he'll just talk and talk and talk and talk, and introduce them to everyone else (that he's never met), and tries to make everyone feel included. Charismatic. Natural host.
He actually *likes* being in Children's Hospital because there are always interesting people about, and our room fills up with residents and students (doctors, nurses, paramedics) as well as other room's nurses, doctors that aren't his (using him as an example for their residents) because he'll just be chattering away and he *remembers* everyone who comes across his path and little bits about their lives that he tells them (although he doesn't remember names...CLASSIC example is "Oh! Do you two know each other? No? She has a toddler at home, too, and likes going for runs. Betcha two could meet up for a jog around greenlake with your kids sometime. When you're done, you could stop by our house. But you should think about taking your kids jogging. Unless you do already? He has a red stroller with plastic windows, so they go running in the rain. Do you have one like that?" and gets a 3 way conversation going between 2 strangers and himself, never needing to actually remember their names because he's got pieces of their lives stored away so no one notices (usually) ... and he's ALWAYS inviting people to our house.
The boy may be the death of me.
People MISTAKE me for an extrovert all the time... but I'm not. I'm just an outgoing introvert. I need a few hours a day at LEAST of peace / recharge time, and given the choice would often rather spend time on my own than being with people. He, otoh, gets exhausted being alone, and recharged around others. I'll regularly fill up our house with kids and he's just sooooo happy. But he doesn't care. Kids, adults, he just wants to be around PEOPLE, as many as possible, 24/7.
((All away-school parents in our area can thank me, right now, for homeschooling. My son is a CHATTERBOX, and a class clown, and can pay attention to more than one thing at a time. He can be *deep* in conversation with another student, and totally absorb the lesson the teacher is giving / repeat her words back to her verbatim (he's adhd-c, that's skill many adhd'ers have) , while the kid he's just been talking to is absolutely clueless as to what's been going on in class. It used to drive his teachers crazy, because they KNEW he was the instigator, and yet, he'd get everything perfect, so the kid he was distracting would be the one in trouble. Unfortunately, when they explained why he shouldn't distract others, he took that to mean/ came up with the solution that he'd "ramp up" the kid on what they missed in about 2 minutes flat. Which he did. So he didn't STOP. His amazing K teacher, started putting him in the ESL group... because his talking helped their language skills and then he'd show them 1:1 how to do the lesson... but how often does THAT situation present itself? Anyhow, Mister Distracto is no longer in public school subverting other students. Thank goodness. And NOW (4 years of homeschooling later) he can sit through 1-2 hours of outside classes and NOT be Mister Distracto. But full day school? Foh'ged'daboutit.))
It also makes parenting difficult, because OTHER parents (so I hear) got "quiet time" when their kids were little. My son's 9, and only THIS YEAR have I gotten 30-60 minutes where he can be playing independently (although he checks in with me every 5-10 minutes), and that was *hard work* getting him to a place where he doesn't need to be attached to my hip. ((It's also closely related with my doing chores he doesn't want to be doing with me <rolls eyes>)). He just, pure and simple, gloms onto people. Put him in a mixed party (kids and adults) and he could just live there for the rest of his life. This. Kid.
It's also not humanly possible to HAVE him surrounded by other people 24/7, although we do a pretty good job of feeding the extrovert in him, being an introvert... it's a balancing act. There are some days I just CRAVE to send him to away school and let someone else "deal", but a) that's cheating b) impractical and c) I'd end up in daily parent teacher conferences anyway.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore my son, and there are few people I'd rather spend time with (and he's a HUGE help in all areas of life since he's attached to my hip whenever I don't have him in playdates, outside classes, etc; from helping me cook/clean, to building fences (he's gotten pretty good with tools -HE nailed in all 200 some odd planks in our fence, I'd cut them and level them, he'd hammer...yes, actual hammer, not nail gun)/ hanging drywall/ painting/ etc.-, to coming up with field trip ideas. He's an absolutely GREAT kid... but it's really challenging being so diametrically opposed in what is "relaxing/energizing" to us.
Playdates, activities, lessons, parties. He also loves "babysitting", which is less babysitting and more "mother's helper" type thing... as he'll GLADLY play with a toddler for hours on end, and is *extremely* polite/ cautious with them. At the park, he'll hold their hands going up stairs at a snail's pace, check in with their parents (Can she do the slide yet? Or should we stay over here in this section? Can you see us if we're digging?) He'll also modify games with his friends so their younger siblings are always included. Poor kid. He's a natural 'big brother', but I can't/shouldn't have more kids.
I also freely, and unashamedly, plug him in (movies, xbox, computer) at least 1-2 hours every day. That started out as an ADHD and early-reader sanity-check (if his bum was safely ensconced in a chair I didn't have to be on accidental suicide watch for more than 10-12 hours a day -note to parents of toddlers- you do NOT want them reading. They read everything, not just books- and toddlers have no common sense yet/ take warning labels as instructional guides). Getting a dog helped as well.