When I discovered the concept of an ‘extroverted’ introvert, I was relieved.
Many of us love to be able to put various labels on ourselves, as it helps us navigate our thoughts and feelings, and helps us better understand the way that we are. I’d finally found one that, for me, had hit the nail on the head. I felt seen.
Previously, whenever I had tried to explain to friends, family and colleagues that I was an introvert, it was often met with raucous laughter. “Ha!” they would exclaim, “You’re the least introverted person I’ve ever met.”
I would often try to explain to my bosses that I didn’t really enjoy Friday-night-after-work-drinks because after 40 plus hours a week with the same people, all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch, alone. The last thing my introverted-self felt like doing on a Friday night was spending more hours with more people. It made me feel claustrophobic. Drained and anxious. But my bosses would always laugh a little, because I was usually quite loud and energetic at work, seemingly enjoying my social interactions (which, to be fair, I did). That there was no way I was introverted and that me saying I was introverted was simply an excuse to get out of putting in networking time at work. Not fitting the cookie-cutter mould of the standard introvert left me feeling incredibly misunderstood.
I would always feel so deflated. Obviously I knew deep down how introverted I was. I loved and needed my time alone. I didn’t enjoy shallow small talk. Even though I enjoyed being around people, spending too much time with them would leave me feeling incredibly drained. And one of the best feelings in the world to me would always be the feeling of leaving a party early.
But introversion and extroversion are more points on a scale rather than an either/or situation. And when I discovered that you could, in fact, be one and yet present as the other, I was chuffed.
I now had a way to explain that why I wanted to leave events early, but was usually still one of the loudest people at the party.
It explained that why I often craved an entire day spent reading a book or watching Netflix in bed, I enjoyed deep and meaningful conversations with people — sometimes for hours at a time.
It explained why I was good at giving presentations at work, but would still feel disgustingly nervous on the inside beforehand.
To put simply, it explained why I didn’t present as your standard introvert. I was an ‘outgoing’ introvert — something I, and many others, didn’t realise was a thing.
Below are 6 signs that you too are an extroverted introvert:
1. You are often confused as an extrovert.
When people think of an introvert, they usually envision someone who is quiet and perhaps a little timid. But not you. You can often be the loudest in the room, especially if you’re in the company of people you are comfortable with — like family and close friends.
It’s possible that even you didn’t realise you were an introvert until you read countless articles and began to realise that resonated more with the introverts. After all, your outward nature represented everything you’ve ever learnt about extroverts, how were you to know?
2. Some people drain you, others energise you.
Sometimes you will leave an interaction with someone feeling energised and ready to take on the world. For other interactions, you will leave feeling completely drained of energy and in desperate need of a day or two of rest and recuperation.
You have begun to notice that certain people in your life immediately drain you, simply by them stepping into the same room. You find that being around your close friends and family energises you more than most, but even then, you will eventually crave some alone-time.
You will always prefer alone time over below-average company — if you’re feeling drained, bored or uncomfortable amongst certain people, you’ll usually find a reason to leave.
3. You take a while to warm up.
When you first arrive to the presence of people, you usually start off quiet and a little introspective. People may assume you’re reserved (or even rude). But once you’ve acknowledged your surroundings, you begin to warm up little by little. Eventually, a switch is flicked and you can become quite the charmer.
When it comes to making friends or making a good impression, you often need a little longer to do so. You’re a slow burn, but it’s usually worth the wait.
Eventually, people begin to feel very comfortable around you, and you’re often the person that people tell their secrets or more meaningful stories to.
4. Small talk takes more energy.
You often feel bored, drained or uncomfortable during small talk. You would prefer to talk about the big picture, or topics that are more meaningful. You will often avoid small talk about weekends and ‘what you did over the break’ — but join in passionately when the topic becomes something deeper.
Small talk can make you feel awkward, but deeper conversations is where you thrive. You would much prefer to speak from your heart and soul than discuss what your plans are for the weekends or how great the weather is today.
5. Your energy is heavily impacted by your environment.
Similar to being around certain people, you find that your energy levels can be impacted on by your environment. If you’re invited to event or a party, you will immediately feel either a sense of calm or a sense of unease based off where the event is being held.
You may feel more comfortable and confident in a space that you know, or that is less crowded. You may feel a sense of anxiety if it’s somewhere you’re less familiar with, or somewhere you don’t enjoy.
Your energy levels aren’t just impacted by certain people but your surroundings as a whole.
6. You’re usually the one who reaches out, once you’re ready.
Once you’ve had enough time on your own to recharge, you will often get a burst of energy and a desire to be social. This is why you’re often the one who organises events and get-togethers — ‘extroverted’ introverts love social situations that they can take the reigns of.
Taking charge of social interactions means having control over the environment and the guest list — two things that can have huge impacts on your energy levels.
It’s still highly likely that by the end of the social interaction, you’ll be depleted of energy once again. So you’ll go into hibernation until you’re ready for another round.
There are many facets of our personalities but it’s the introverted and extroverted spectrum that, to me, really holds up a mirror to our feelings and behaviours. By better understanding where you sit on the spectrum, you will start to notice how different things (including people) make you feel, and where your energy is taken from and how to recharge it. You will be able to adjust your actions and thoughts accordingly to better suit the way you naturally are, and where you thrive to be.
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