If you think Netflix has too many shows to keep up with, you should take a peek inside an “extroverted” introvert’s mind.
I am a writer who identifies as an introvert and is a cultured extrovert. Confused? A “cultured extrovert,” as I’m defining it, is an introvert who has developed an extroverted persona to serve as a public face. Growing up, being an extrovert was akin to success, so I cultivated an outgoing personality. Being able to “lead” and have your voice heard above the crowd were virtues exalted above being introspective. On the other hand, being an introvert was perceived as a weakness and no one talked about how this assumption was incorrect. However, introverts can lead just as well — or better — than extroverts. For instance, did you know that Jill Biden and Oprah are both introverts?
As a result of this pressure, I cultivated such a strong extroverted persona that even my family couldn’t tell that I was an introvert. Eventually, I found a healthy balance between making my place in an extroverted, Type-A-obsessed world and nurturing my introverted self. Now, I want to offer you a glimpse into what an “extroverted” introvert’s mind looks like.
10 Glimpses Inside the Mind of an ‘Extroverted’ Introvert
1. Your mind never switches off.
As an extroverted introvert, almost everything I look at triggers introspection. Singing birds, a solitary rose, or a FedEx driver can all either trigger a memory or an imaginary circumstance in my mind. All this is just on a regular day. On a day when I feel creative, prose floats around my mind like a rubber duck in a frothy bathtub. While this is mostly enjoyable, it can be exhausting, too.
If you find yourself floating among words and prose, develop a routine to disconnect your mind. I call it the “grounding” routine, bringing yourself back from your mental flight and taking some time off. Chant a mantra — like “Om,” “I am focused,” or anything else that works for you — listen to music, exercise… do whatever is necessary to spend some time disconnecting from your overthinking mind.
2. You’re drowning in ideas. Constantly.
I’m an introvert and a writer, which means that I can never shut off my mental chatter. That is where my ideas come from; it’s the abyss I reach into and pull out pearls of wisdom. I collect all these ideas in a notebook. Conversely, they rarely arrive there directly, traveling through emails to myself, notes on my phone, or even Post-it notes pasted in strange places.
Now, if you’re an extroverted introvert like me, this means you may end up talking about your ideas constantly, which can dull their sparkle. The best thing to do is to recognize that you have a great many ideas, but until fully explored, they must be kept quiet. I suggest you create a special creative space (both online and off) where you collect all your marvelous thoughts and let them lead you to the answers you seek.
3. You’re not socially anxious; you just choose your social interactions carefully.
One of the biggest myths about introverts that has now mercifully been debunked is that all of us “quiet ones” are socially anxious. But social anxiety is not limited to introverts; extroverts can be socially anxious, too. Although I personally have no social anxiety, I do choose my social engagements carefully, as I like to maintain a sense of purpose to my days.
I want you to feel empowered to prioritize yourself just as much, and if you are called “selfish” for having done so, you have succeeded. (I say this in jest, but you know what I mean.) As an introvert, your inner compass will always guide you well. If a night in is what you need, take it, as only you know best.
4. You will analyze your choices (again… and again… and again).
I love to put myself in other people’s shoes and analyze their choices. Is this judgment? Perhaps. However, my introverted mind wants to assess every perspective and derive its maximum benefit. I see every situation in my (or another’s) life as an opportunity to enhance my perspective.
Being an extroverted introvert, I gain a lot from discussing these insights. As a writer, this combination gives me an immense edge when crafting narratives. You do not need to be a writer, however, to gain from this inclination of your mind; deep, introspective thinking is never wasteful and comes naturally to us introverts. Remain cautious, though, that your chain of thought does not turn obsessive.
5. You have opinions that you really think through, which can lead to you not verbalizing any of them.
You may have so many thoughts that you will say nothing at all. This is because the “thinking” introvert mind can think of things from many different points of view… but by the time we decide to verbalize our thoughts, the discussion may have moved on.
For example, sometimes my husband mentions a subject that inspires two simultaneous perspectives in my mind. If I try to speak in the moment, only strange sounds and word snippets will fall out. (Can anyone else relate?) To accurately explain this flash of insight, I need to considerably slow my mind and speech.
So the next time you are in the company of an extroverted introvert — or introvert — who suddenly goes quiet, ask them their opinion. Chances are, you will learn a lot!
6. Even though you’re friendly, you may appear underconfident.
Introverts may appear underconfident, but this is a misconception and a consequence of the above. Your mind moves so fast that you may either say nothing or speak incoherently. This incoherent speech is carefully considered articulation, but as a society, we have been taught to only consider loud, steady speakers as confident.
So when someone is speaking deliberately in a free-flowing conversation, pay close attention to what is being said, as this manner of speaking suggests the person is conveying a new idea. They may appear under-confident at first, even if they are anything but.
Extroverted introverts often exhibit this tendency, as they have conditioned themselves to speak up, but they are also cautious about saying just about anything. If you can relate, you should know that your thoughts are original and they matter.
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7. You know much more than you let on.
Being an introvert, I think a lot, which means I easily see gaps in my skills. When this happens, I want to do something about it. For example, when I wanted to read untranslated books in Arabic, I decided to put the time in to learn the language. Then, when I realized that Arabic is spoken interwoven with French, I set out to improve my French! I am also fluent in Urdu and Hindi, bringing my language roster up to five.
Of course, you may never know how much I actually know, as I consider showing off to be in bad taste. The great majority of introverts, even us extroverted ones, don’t love being in the spotlight. As you get to know me, however, the layers will peel back, revealing that there is more to me than first meets the eye. Fellow introverts, if you find yourself underestimated, take comfort in the fact that your skills will always earn their due.
8. You are never bored.
If you thought Netflix had too many shows to keep up with, you should take a peek inside an extroverted introvert’s mind. At any point in time, I can pick a thought and spin imaginary webs with it. For example, a man used to walk by my window every day, and I’d imagine that he was a private investigator: He was always alone, dressed in muted tones, and extremely quiet. It turns out he was just a smoker taking several smoking breaks! Point being, in a world where smartphones dominate our time, the introvert’s imagination is a superpower.
9. You know when someone has a secret.
Have you ever watched a movie with someone, and within the first 20 minutes, this person knew who the killer was? Introverts have this superpower. Because they observe others carefully and read them well, it means the people around them can keep no secrets.
However, extroverted introverts have a harder time maintaining intrigue. As we’re sociable and open, people may inadvertently tell us more than they intend to. We’re also great listeners, and on account of our introverted abilities, we’re sensitive to body language, so we understand people well. Consequently, extroverted introverts will make friends quickly. But, dear introvert, please don’t reveal who the killer in the movie is!
10. You know how to be content and self-soothe.
The blessing of a mind that inspects all matters is that it can save pearls of wisdom for later, when it needs them most. When thoughts like, “Should I have quit a successful career in banking to become a writer?” arrive (as I often wonder), I am able to extract a comforting quote by Friedrich Nietsche from memory: “No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
This ability to adapt and self-soothe makes extroverted introverts a force to be reckoned with. If it intimidates those around you, remember what Marianne Williamson said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
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