Although you find relationships deeply fulfilling, unlike a true extrovert, you don’t have the energy to maintain a large social network.
At times, when you read about what introversion means, you feel like someone is spying on your life. Yes, you love being alone. You hate making shallow small talk. Spending too much time socializing with other people leaves you feeling drained, irritable, and sometimes even physically unwell (a.k.a. the introvert hangover).
Yet other aspects of introversion don’t resonate with you at all. You have plenty of friends. You enjoy meeting new people. Even though you prefer meaningful conversation, you’re actually pretty good at making light chitchat.
So are you really an introvert?
What Is an ‘Extroverted’ Introvert?
Enter the “extroverted” introvert.
The extroverted introvert is known by many names. Some call it the “outgoing introvert” or the “social introvert.” Others argue that this personality represents ambiversion, which is a combination of both introversion and extroversion.
So what does “extroverted introvert” really mean?
The thing to understand about introversion is that it is not an all-or-nothing trait. Even Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist who introduced the concept of introversion/extroversion, said there is no such thing as “pure” introvert or extrovert. Really, we all act introverted at times and extroverted at other times, depending on the circumstances, our goals, and our energy levels.
So, instead of thinking about ourselves as “pure” introverts or extroverts, we should think of ourselves as falling somewhere on the introversion/extroversion spectrum. Some of us will fall closer to the far ends of the spectrum, meaning we are very introverted or very extroverted. Most of us will fall closer to the middle, giving us qualities of both introversion and extroversion.
If you think of yourself as an extroverted introvert, it probably means you’re an introvert at heart — but you may be more outgoing than other introverts because your personality falls closer to the middle of the spectrum.
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Signs You’re an ‘Extroverted Introvert’
Are you an extroverted introvert? If so, you’ll recognize yourself in these 10 signs.
1. Your energy level is closely tied to your environment.
You’re sensitive to your surroundings. To you, it matters how your environment looks, what kind of music is playing, how many people are present, the noise level, etc.. The ambiance of a place can either energize or drain you, depending on whether it fits your preferences. A loud rock concert in a crowded stadium might be overwhelming, but an up-close-and-personal acoustic set at your favorite club is soothing.
2. You find people to be both intriguing and exhausting.
People watching? Yes. Meeting new people and hearing their life stories? Fascinating. Spending almost every night hanging out with friends? Not a chance. Outgoing introverts enjoy meeting new people but can only endure so much socializing. After a busy weekend or a long day at work, you may feel the need to disappear and recharge by spending time alone or with just one other person.
3. Certain people and interactions drain you while others recharge you.
You have a few friends who you could hang out with for practically forever. It seems like you never run out of things to talk about. Being with them is easy. You actually feel better after spending time with them, not drained — and you act pretty outgoing around them. Other people tire or bore you quickly and you need to get away fast. For you, being alone is better than settling for second-rate company.
4. You can be charming but also deeply introspective and reflective.
You can make small talk when it’s expected of you, like at your child’s parent-teacher conference or when meeting a new coworker. You also know that small talk can lead to deeper, more authentic conversation. People tend to feel comfortable around you, because you read others well, and you also have a knack for getting others talking and opening up about themselves. When you’re out with friends, you might be the person in the group who makes sure that everyone’s having a good time. However, most people don’t realize how “in your head” you really are. Although you appear social and lighthearted, your mind is always running behind the scenes.
5. When you feel rested and recharged, you reach out to others.
You’re often the one who organizes social events for others. Playing the host is ideal for the extroverted introvert because it allows you to spend time with people — but on your own terms. However, when you run out of energy, you’re out, and like a true introvert, all you want to do is hibernate at home.
6. You need time to warm up in social situations.
Your first impression often belies your real personality. At first, you come across as quiet and reserved. But once you feel comfortable around the person, you have no trouble chatting. No, you won’t spill your entire life story or divulge your insecurities to someone you’ve just met, but you will reveal intimate details once trust has built up. The better someone gets to know you, the more “extroverted” you seem.
7. It actually takes less energy to say what’s on your mind than to make small talk.
True extroverts rarely struggle with what to say. It’s easy from them to shoot from the hip and make chitchat about almost any topic. But not so for most introverts. Many introverts find it difficult to force small talk. They’d rather talk about big ideas or connect in an honest, authentic way. This is especially true of extroverted introverts. It’s far easier for them to say what’s on their mind than to fake a rousing discussion about the weather.
Do ever you struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
8. You’re selectively social.
Although you find relationships deeply fulfilling, unlike a true extrovert, you don’t have the energy to maintain a large social network. Plus, you don’t click with just anybody. So you make your limited “people” energy count by investing it into just a few close relationships.
9. You have no interest in trying to prove yourself in a crowd of strangers.
At networking events or parties, you’re not someone who “works the room.” Nor do you feel the need to draw a lot of attention to yourself in social situations. Yes, you see the value in making connections with others, and you especially love those rare moments when you meet a like-minded soul. But you’ll probably never be the most popular person in the room — and you’re okay with that fact.
10. You’re often confused for an extrovert.
Your friends and family don’t believe that you’re an introvert because you’re just so social. In fact, it may have taken you a while to realize that you’re an introvert, because you play the extrovert so well. Now you find yourself constantly having to explain your introversion and how you get your energy. Unfortunately, most people don’t get it.
Keep in mind that there’s no wrong way to do introversion. You can be outgoing and still be an introvert. It’s all about understanding your needs and honoring your own style, even if that means being the life of the party one night and then binge watching Netflix alone the next night.
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