I’m an Extroverted Introvert

Last week on Facebook, one of my Wench friends posted an article about Extroverted Introverts: How Extroverted Introverts Interact Differently With The World. Forever, people have been telling me how extroverted I am. Lauren, you’re so friendly. You always have a smile on your face. This part is true–most of the time. I’m super empathetic. Empathy can be draining, especially when you talk to someone and tend to try to talk out all their problems. People always feel like they can talk to me about big, serious issues in their life. I love being able to make those connections, but it can be emotionally draining as well. Plus, it makes me feel closer to them than they might feel to me. I get emotionally involved in people’s lives, even if I’ve just met them which often sets me up to be hurt.

I always wondered how I fit so well in an extroverted category when I don’t really feel like an extrovert. When I take the Myers Briggs test, I’m classified as an extrovert always. But in my down time, I love to come home, veg on the couch and recharge. In fact, I have to have that downtime or I feel so out of sorts. I like hours alone–sometimes days–and I feel overwhelmed when I don’t have time to recharge.

I feel very alone in a group of people, and I have a hard time breaking into new friendships. But other times, I’ll jump right in depending on the day. I use alcohol as a crutch in social situations to come out of my shell. I love to make people laugh, and I love to be the center of attention too. I do better one-on-one, but I don’t have a lot of close friends. I will have a friend for a few years, and then they drift away. I love to have deep conversations and sometimes this scares people off or is too much for them. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I say what I think. But, I have a hard time letting people get close to me. I have a tough time with intimacy and space. I see this same quality in my middle son, who shirks away from being kissed and hugged. I know how he feels–that overwhelming feeling of being captured or suffocated and needing my me-space away from people. I have felt that way on so many occasions.

The worst part of being an extroverted introvert is the over thinking. Sometimes my mind tacks onto a question and rolls in circles around it. Big questions like, why are we here? Is there a God? When we die what happens? – questions no one can answer, but that my brain won’t give up trying to answer. And not so big questions and fears that I can’t stop thinking about. Overthinking will make you miserable if you let it, and I think it is the source of depression in a lot of people, including me.  My brain is in overdrive so much, and the only thing that can stop it: writing. Writing has been such a great outlet for the introvert part of my mind. I love to go out and hang with friends. I love to drink socially and talk, but when my introvert-side clicks in then I need to be by myself–just ask my husband. I want a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, quiet, veg-out, write and recharge time. I need a bath with a good book. I need to revert back to myself, recharge, and feel like my happy little self again.

What about you? Are you an extrovert, an introvert, or a little bit of both?

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11 thoughts on “I’m an Extroverted Introvert

  1. Have you ever read Quiet? It’s a book about the power of introversion. The author also gave a good TED Talk about it. The book really resonated with me, though honestly I’d class myself more as an ambivert or introverted extrovert than a true introvert.

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  2. I am an introvert. I am more of a behind-the-scenes person. I agonize over every detail. If my wife and I are in a conversation with other people, she will do most of the talking. Many people wonder how I ever got married and had children. I guess to do that, I had to be a little extroverted.

    So, I do have my moments. I don’t say much, but when I do, I try to make it significant. Like you, I turn to writing when my introverted side takes over. But with everything else, I tend to overthink every detail. Sometimes, it’s a wonder I get any writing done.

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  3. When I heard about the concept of being an extroverted introvert, I thought that’s me! I can fake my way through social situations, but need a big chunk of quiet time to recover.
    I think it’s interesting you mentioned the empathy issue. There is something about me (it’s probably the fact that I am willing to listen when people talk) that makes people tell me their deepest darkest secrets within moments of meeting me. Just the other day, a woman sat down next to me in the lunchroom at work and told me about how she was living in her car and hoped this job worked out so she could get an apartment. My first thought was ‘Gee lady, I just want to eat my cottage cheese. Don’t make me care about you.’ I went back to my desk feeling exhausted and was compelled to pack an extra lunch for the rest of the week.

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  4. I’m an introvert: I’m fine on my own, I usually recharge during activities that don’t involve people.
    At the same time, I somewhat “trained” myself to be talktative, cheerful, and full of jokes in the company of others. Most people don’t even think I could be an introvert because of that, and as much as I enjoy their company (though small groups are much better than big crowds), meeting them is draining and I do need the time alone to recharge.
    Funny enough, alcohol might make me more talkative at times, but in general, it’s more likely to push me into melancholic/reflective mood, so even though I drink socially, it’s not too much and it doesn’t help me out of my shell.
    It’s good to find balance: as you said, you like being around people, but then, you don’t deny your introvert needs for the sake of social appearances. If you need to be alone, no one should tell you it’s “wrong”. Because it’s not. 🙂

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  5. Hi Lauren, I think you’ve described me perfectly. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Sometimes it’s complicated and confusing and so hard to explain to others. So it’s always a good feeling when you learn you are not alone.
    Cheers.

    Like

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