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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