Do you have a love/hate relationship with social situations? Are you outgoing, but only under certain circumstances? Do people always mistake you for an extrovert even though you’re pretty sure you feel much better when you’re alone? Are you totally confused about whether or not you actually enjoy being around people anyway? Then you’re probably an extroverted introvert. Welcome to the club!
When you’re introverted, you get your energy from time alone (rather than from being around others, AKA being extroverted), so you only have so much energy you can spend in social situations before you’re burnt out. It’s basically like walking around with a ticking clock that tells you how much time you have left before you just want to go home, take off your pants, and binge watch Netflix Originals. Being an extroverted introvert (or better put, an introvert with extroverted tendencies) throws another wrench into things when you love people, but they exhaust you. When you get a party invite on Facebook and always reply with “maybe” because you have NO idea how extroverted you’ll be feeling the night-of. When you enjoy being around others, but don’t necessarily love to be social 100% of the time.
And of course, as introverts, when it’s already kind of exhausting to have to talk to people in general, it’s even harder when it comes to explaining why you sorta-kinda-love-hate being social. If you fall farther on either end of the spectrum of extroversion/introversion and don’t know what it’s like to be a walking oxymoron, here’s what we’re trying to say:
We like alone time…. but not too much alone time. We recharge at home alone, but we get antsy if we’re there too long. But that doesn’t always mean we want to go out and actually socialize. Think coffee shops – surrounded by people, but not necessarily talking to anyone. It gives us a great sense that we’re not hermits and that we’re actually keeping up with an extroverted world. We genuinely like being around people, but it’s exhausting when we have to keep up with conversation, so being surrounded by strangers going about their own business is a happy medium.
Small talk isn’t our strong suit. Actually, we kind of hate it. Even though making small talk is just part of life and adulthood, if we could just jump straight to the meat of a conversation, that would be GREAT, THANKS. Meaningful conversation is where it’s at. Small talk feels too shallow, and it doesn’t get us anywhere – to be frank, it seems like an unnecessary waste of time and energy (which is very precious to us). This is basically why we don’t make many new friends, since the majority of friendships start with small talk. Don’t get us wrong, we’ll talk about the weather if we need to, but don’t be surprised if we jump into a deeper topic fairly quickly afterward.
We’re quiet, but that doesn’t always mean we don’t want to talk. We’ve got excellent people skills, but we love even more to absorb other people’s conversations and thoughts. We probably come off as creepy since we don’t necessarily love to contribute to the conversation 100% of the time, so we just stare at everyone talking and take it all in. Again, it gives us a great sense that we’re actually being social and helps us conserve that social energy that we so desperately lack. Our default is silence, but if you strike up a conversation with us, we’re more than likely willing to chat!
Sometimes you just have to drag us out of the house. We get so stuck in our heads that we sometimes forget that a world exists outside our doors. It may take you a few thousand tries, but eventually we will go out with you. Don’t give up on us. Once we finally go out, we normally have a great time and we occasionally become the life of the party if we’re comfortable with everyone there. And at that party is where people lose their minds when it somehow slips (probably during that awkward small talk that we’re terrible at making) that we’re actually not extroverts.
…. But If we’re going out, don’t be mad if we say we want to take our own car (or want to go home earlier than most). Not only is it nice to take something familiar with you wherever you go as an anchor (your car), it’s also great when you know you can leave whenever your social fuel tank is on E. We just like to have an escape plan so that we don’t go from being the life of the party to being the weird quiet one standing in the corner because we just can’t talk to one more person. Please don’t take it personally when we say it’s time for us to go home. If you force us to stay out after we’ve been exhausted, we may still be outgoing and having fun on the outside, but we very well may be secretly hating it and daydreaming about the drive home (and inevitably becoming the weirdo in the corner).
We also suck at texting. Oh yeah, and maintaining those new friendships. It’s not because we hate you or don’t want to talk to you. We’re kings and queens of what I call the Thought Response: responding to your text message in your mind, but completely forgetting to type it out and hit send. We desperately want to be social people, but we just get distracted…. by how great it is being alone…. sometimes.
….And making plans. We’re super great at the “Let’s hang out soon!” text and not following through whatsoever. Sometimes the text itself is all the social energy we have for the day. Refer back to point #3 and just make the plans for us sometimes. Again, we don’t hate you, we just don’t know how extroverted (or introverted) we will feel on any given day, so it’s hard to make plans ahead of time to grab coffee.
At the end of the day, we really appreciate you. Though sometimes it seems like we have trouble keeping up our end of the relationship, we truly appreciate you and all that you bring to the table. Of course, since this is a world made for extroverts, we just have to suck it up sometimes and be social, but thanks for putting up with us when we just can’t. We’re super envious of your strong social skills and your ability to stay out all night with friends without crying and wishing you were at home in your pajamas. Thank you for always understanding us, both on the days when we’re party animals and on the days when we retreat into our caves and you don’t hear from us for weeks.
Are you an extroverted introvert? Have any other things you’d like to add for people to know? Share in the comments below!