Some of you may have seen articles floating around talking about “Signs of an Introvert.” “20 Things Extroverts Do. Introverts, THIS IS FOR YOU!” “ISFP, it’s okay to Party!” If you have a Facebook NewsFeed, then you’ve seen these articles. Most likely when you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, so you skip over the ones that seem formulaic…okay, all of them are like that.
I am an Extroverted Introvert. Party in the Library. A Rave of One. Shots with a Book in my hand. Whatever you want to call it, I do both. Most of my friends who understand Myers Briggs know that this is quite possible. Others may force me to choose a side. How can you be both? That makes no sense at ALL@!!1! How can you love people but also HATE THEM!?!!22!
Alright, calm down for one. Two, yeah, I’ve been doing both quite well for some time now. This isn’t a secret. And three, I don’t hate people. Growing up, I knew that having people in my life was a much more fulfilling life than being on my own. I have my amazing family to thank for that. Friends helped too. I would get a text from someone asking if I’m down for going out. Maybe we were meeting up with a few people, maybe it was a party. If I was content doing my own thing, I would feel a pull to continue enjoying my stay in. Still, in the back of my mind, a yearning to go out and have fun would be there…looking at me…waiting for me to act! Hey, stupid. Yeah you, Ginger. Pick up the phone and text back. You can do this “staying at home crap” tomorrow. Capiche?
It’s funny because recently, the situation has happened more than a few times now where I would inform someone that I am introverted, and they respond by furrowing their brow, turning their head and exclaiming, “Noooo. You!?” I never fail to get a kick out of this. To me, I know how Introverted I like to be. But to others, they see the extroverted me. I can only guess this is because my extroverted side is the most LOUD and energetically visible.
I reside in both camps. On my weekends, I’ll find myself reading, doing laundry, watching Netflix, hiking, or doing what I’m doing now….writing. But, if someone texts me with plans for imminent fun, I am all over it. I’ll be socializing, laughing, drinking, and getting up to stupid things. And I’ll enjoy it! Sure I have my moments where I just don’t want to talk to anyone. That’s fine. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to anyone. Often, I just like listening. Actually, chances are, I am much more interested in what you have to say, getting to know you, what you are like, what is your family like, what makes you tick. That stuff fascinates me. Over the years, I have honed a very important skill that came fairly naturally to me, but is now somewhat professionalized through my job. If you are talking to me, I will give you eye contact, I will listen, I will react to what you are talking about, I won’t become distracted…looking off, and I will comment on what you say instead of trying to get in what I want to say.
That being said, just…..steer clear of the minutia. Sometimes the thing I can’t stand, is talking about what I do for work…how my day was…so-on-so-forth. There is the exception to the rule on some cases, but mostly I enjoy the tough questions, the spice of life. We don’t engage with each other on this level anymore. Sometimes there is nothing more refreshing than a person coming up to me, introducing themselves, and asking me, “So, Eric, what’s exciting you about LIFE at the moment?” “What are your passions?” Honestly, inside, I would be going, “Oh YES!! Seriously, you rock, and I want to hug you. Thank you for being the one in a billion who don’t ask me ‘What do you do?’ Thank you. Really.”
I read an article recently talking about the things that really sum up Extroverted Introverts. Yes, I realise that I am feeding into the machine of articles talking about personality types. I’m sorry. Some of the examples are things I’ve already mentioned. If you want to know a bit about how I tick…this is an insightful bit of knowledge. You’re welcome. [Big emphasis on 1,2,3,6,16,18]
1. We’re often quiet, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want to talk.
We most likely have plenty of thoughts we want to talk about, but think that they won’t interest you. We’d rather listen to you talk because we want to learn about you and we know you’d enjoy talking.
2. And just because we like being around people doesn’t mean we want to talk.
Talking requires a lot of effort. For us, being around people is often enough to make us happy. I know, it’s a little confusing.
3. We like hanging out one on one better than groups. We’ll listen to you forever.
One on one hangouts are more intimate and we like that. It means we get a chance to actually get to know you and have a thorough conversation about what we real;y care about instead of making small talk that an entire group can contribute to.
4. We suck at responding to texts because sometimes we don’t want to talk – to anyone.
It’s not that we hate people or that we’re annoyed. Sometimes we’ve just been around people so much that we’re exhausted from talking and texting and Skyping and we just don’t want to talk. We’re totally open to hanging out in person, just don’t expect us to talk too much when we’re in one of these moods.
5. We’re open to meeting your other friends. Just let us know ahead of time that we’ll be meeting new people so we can mentally prepare ourselves to socialize.
We’re not closed off to meeting new people, it’s just a pretty exhausting thing to do. So we literally have to prepare ourselves to socialize. We have to get into the mindset of, “Okay, I’m going to be talking a lot.”
6. Despite needing our alone time, we do get lonely.
It’s difficult to balance between alone time and not feeling lonely. Often we’ll want to go out because we feel alone, but our apartment is so comfortable that we won’t want to leave.
7. It’s hard to get us out, but we’ll have a great time when we go out.
Sometimes we’ll require some coercing to get us out of the house. Again, it’s not that we don’t want to go out, we just start thinking, “What if it’s not fun? I could totally be reading my book. What if the tickets are sold out? What if they don’t actually want me to go and they’re just inviting me to be nice? We begin to draw into our own heads and make up things that could go wrong and use them as excuses to not go out.
8. We’ll happily chat up your parents/friends/girlfriend/boyfriend/boss/etc., but once it’s over, we require silence.
After so much talking, we really need to recharge.
9. We’re not always the most talkative person in a group, but if someone is in need of a social life jacket, we can step up and offer that.
Again, we’ll happily chat someone up if the situation arises. We get that conversation can be uncomfortable, so if we see someone who is worse than us at holding a conversation, then we’ll take the initiative to make them feel more comfortable.
10. We won’t plan a party, but if we do, it’s a really big deal for us.
We can’t imagine hosting an event solely for our own sake. We don’t even think people would want to come to a party that we host. So if we do host something, it’s a big deal for us.
11. We live in our heads even if it seems like we put ourselves out there.
Even when we’re being outgoing, our thoughts are still running and analyzing the situation.
12. Because we can be outgoing and calculated at the same time, sometimes we end up being leaders. But that does not mean we want praise, nor do we want to talk about how great we are.
People seem to think that we’re fit to be leaders. We can stand up and talk in front of crowds when we need to. We can make decisions when we need to. But we often analyze ourselves and don’t think highly of our skill sets. Sometimes we don’t believe we’re good enough to lead. We always think we can be better so praise often makes us cringe.
13. We get mad at ourselves for wanting to stay in and letting our friends down.
Which is why we sometimes force ourselves to go out. To let our friends know that we enjoy spending time with them, not because we want to be out.
14. We’re at your happiest in places like coffee shops and cafés: surrounded by people, but still closed off and keeping to yourself.
We just like being around people, even if they’re strangers. It’s the compromise of being around people but not having to talk to them.
15. We have a constant inner struggle of controlling our introverted side.
It’s frustrating because we’ll realize when we start withdrawing into our own minds and become extremely introspective. It happens when we’re in really big crowds. And the only thought is, “Oh no, it’s happening. No. I have to talk to someone now. But it’s so difficult. No. Yes, you have to talk or else you’re going to end up in your head for the rest of the night.”
16. We really don’t like small talk.
We’d avoid small talk if we could. We want to really get to know you. We want to know what you think about, what your goals are, what your family is like. We don’t want to talk about how bad the weather is. But if that’s what you’re comfortable talking about, then we’ll talk about it.
17. We don’t actually have a staple “group” of friends.
We often pick and choose one or two individuals from different social groups that make up our closest friends. But we make this handful of best friends our life and we’d do anything for them.
18. If we like you, we really like you. We’re extremely picky about who we spend our time and energy on. If we’ve hung out multiple times, take it as a compliment.
Seriously. If it’s such a struggle to talk to people and if we get so exhausting going out, it’s a big deal if we’re willing to spend our time and energy with you. It isn’t to say that we’re full of ourselves. We just wouldn’t want to spend that energy with people whose company we don’t enjoy.