5 Regrets I Have About Faking Being an Extrovert

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I’m yet another introvert who tried and failed at making myself more outgoing. It left me constantly exhausted and overstimulated, but because I was unaware of my personality type, I didn’t recognize my needs. Instead, I felt as if there was something very wrong with me because I was the only quiet, emotional person in the mix of people that I knew. I felt overlooked, left out, and misunderstood.

Although I was a quiet person who loved reading and writing when I was young, I was constantly trying to “come out of my shell” and do cool things like sports and social events. I hoped that forcing myself out of my shell would eventually make me more comfortable and energetic around people. This seemed to have paid off somewhat, because now that I’m older, I do feel more confident around people. But at the time, I didn’t realize that I was neglecting my true needs as an introvert. I missed out on so many enjoyable quiet moments as a young person that I actually don’t remember much of anything about my childhood. I was constantly running on empty and it left no room for making memories.

If you are an introvert who wants to become more outgoing, fear not! It’s actually very healthy to moderately push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t use your introverted nature as an excuse to never try anything. I believe that everyone has their own balance, and you will find it eventually. I made the mistake of thinking I always had to wear an extrovert “mask,” and my mental health suffered because of it. Here are five things I regret about faking extroversion:

1. I could never take off my mask. If you create a mask of extroversion in public, you will be expected to keep up that mask at any time of the day. You may be making friends, but once you hang around an extroverted crowd, they will want to hang out with you at times when you won’t have the energy. If you signed up for a sport or other group activity, it is expected that you make it to all the get-togethers, ceremonies, and parties. As a volleyball and basketball player, I was constantly exhausted and overstimulated by the noise and socializing of being on a team. Even after games, there was socializing. Turning yourself into an extrovert may seem fun and rewarding for a while, but I guarantee that you will eventually hit a roadblock at some point and run out of energy.


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2. I was constantly paranoid. Forcing yourself to be someone you aren’t may make you mistrust yourself and others. When I tried to fake being an extrovert, I was often scared that I would slip up and let my true colors show. Even worse, I felt as if I couldn’t connect to people in the way I wanted. I was never happy with the shallow conversations I had with people, and that shallowness made me question whether or not I actually had true friends. If you feel paranoid and mistrustful of your friendships and of yourself, this is a sign that you should make some changes.

3. I was always running on empty. Before I realized my needs as an introvert, I was always looking for another social event to attend or extracurricular activity to sign up for. Although I did find a few friends I clicked with, that wasn’t what mattered to me. I wanted to be like the cool kids and do as much as possible to get noticed. But going from sports to choir to school dances was way too much for me. I was chronically fatigued and therefore had no energy to do things that truly made me happy.

4. I had no room for memories. One of my biggest regrets in high school was not pausing to take it all in. Now that I have been taking care of myself and teaching myself to be more mindful, I find more beauty in the world. I wish I would have taken more time as a young person to stop and smell the roses. Instead, I moved from one thing to another and rarely took time to appreciate my experiences. Because I was constantly overstimulated, I couldn’t truly process things, and now it’s hard for me to put my finger on any one memory. My whole high school experience was a blur. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Instead, tune into your experiences and allow yourself to soak them in.

5. I wasn’t appreciated for who I truly was. This is my biggest regret. Now that I have met incredible, supportive friends who know the real me — the introvert me — it saddens me to think about how my younger self could have benefited from such amazing people. Today I have friends who recharge me and respect my need for space. My high school years were made up of one disappointment after another. Faking extroversion fooled people for a short while, and when I was able to secure a friendship with someone, I would often show a bit too much of who I really was. Turns out, once those friends saw a glimpse of my true self, they often tried to get out of the relationship. Pretending to be a type of person that you’re not is unfair to both you and your friend.

Today, I am living in the best way that I can, and showing people who I truly am at the beginning of a relationship. Genuineness is something I strive for in everything I do now, whether at work, school, or in casual relationships. I do believe it’s possible to become a fake extrovert — I did end up fooling a lot of people — but I can guarantee you that it isn’t an enjoyable experience. It is so much more rewarding to find people who look at you and know exactly who you are, and love you for it.

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Read this: I Wasn’t Living My Life Until I Learned to Stay Home



9 Comments

  • Laurie Sherfey says:

    Spot on. I learned as I got older, the only time I could successfully fake extroversion was in any professional role. Then it amazed people that this shy, reserved loner could do something like confidently speaking in front of a large group, or be in charge of a meeting, or be a very competent supervisor (though I did more of that in my real introvert mode). Their expectations were based on knowing about my introversion. And the role-playing, though often exhausting, was in manageable amounts, with adequate “recharging” time built in. I could pick and choose when to go into extrovert mode.

    Like you, in my personal life, I needed to stop feeling “broken” or inferior. And I longed to be accepted as I am. That came with time – though I wish I’d had your insight back when I was your age! Thanks for sharing – hope this helps many others get comfortable in their own skin, being authentically themselves. Life is much simpler and more satisfying when you just be yourself, with all your unique strengths and weaknesses. The irony is, that things I once thought of as weaknesses or failures have also at times been game changers in a very positive way.

  • Raijin says:

    “Don’t use your introverted nature as an excuse to never try anything. I believe that everyone has their own balance, and you will find it eventually. ”
    This is what i believe in my life for several years. Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you have to always stay at your room and hiding from other people. Balance is all what we need, or perhaps, a little bit more tendency to introvert. Remember that God created this world with its good and bad sides, so just keep walking tall and with pride. ^___^

  • Britta says:

    I’ve recently realized that I’ve been denying my true, introverted self for the majority of my teenage years and into my early twenties. It has made me incredibly paranoid and self-absorbed and has also kept me from focusing on the things that really matter to me in life. It has led me to invest a lot of time in the wrong people and I’ve convinced myself that I want a lot of things that I really don’t want. As a HSP INFJ, being so uncomfortable in my own skin has led me to become terribly misguided on more than one occasion. Becoming misguided, though, has also allowed me to become incredibly self-aware, and I’ve been embracing my introversion so much more lately. In doing so, the things I actually want for myself are starting to slowly become clearer and I also believe I’ve become a better and kinder person. We truly can’t help others until we help ourselves. This piece resonates so much with me right now. Thank you for sharing, Anna.

  • R says:

    Many thanks, Anna. I needed this today. I really did. Thank you.

  • Bria says:

    Thanks for this brilliant article! I have too many years felt ashamed being an introvert, thus I was trying to pretend that I am who I am not really am. Such stories help me to deal with my inside fears!

  • Lauren says:

    A really lovely article, thank you very much for writing this. Embracing who we are is so important! 🙂

  • Martha Hochuli says:

    Well done, Anna. You probably don’t know that I’m an INTJ since I’m usually chatty around you. Yes, people exhaust me. I love to socialize but only on my terms. I throw myself into the moment, and then I retreat to my quiet space. Isn’t it beautiful how we’re all different? So glad you’ve found your comfort zone 🙂

  • Andrew Hardwick says:

    Yes, I ran a Cub pack, and also rose to Master of a regional Masonic Lodge. Both of these activities took me so far out of my comfort zone that it wasn’t funny, but it also gave me a higher profile in the community than I would have had if I had locked myself away. And in doing so, I also was privileged to have gained the friendship of a brilliant elder statesman, who had an engineering degree and had been a pilot in WW1, and kept his intellect sharp until he died aged 99. So forcing sometimes pays dividends.

  • sister2sister2sister says:

    Love your thoughts! Number 4 is critical throughout life. Well, they are all pretty critcal, but, imagine a wedding with no memories, children with no memories, vacations with nothing but pictures, winning an Olympic Gold without the memories of getting there and winning it…journals were made for introverts! Yes, to a degree, we own our time. Carving some just for me, my pen and my paper has been the key for being able to revel in the memories being made today. Very fine article!

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