For a long time, I thought I was an extrovert. I liked going to social events, being around people in a fun environment, and striking up conversations with complete strangers.
But I also discovered that those outings left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. Was I an introvert? How could I be if I enjoyed socializing once in a while?
Years later, I realized that I don’t own a permanent placement on the sliding scale between introvert and extrovert. While I lean toward the introvert side, there are times when I can cross over to the other side of the spectrum.
So, I consider myself an outgoing or “extroverted” introvert. Here are 10 things I wish people knew about me.
What I Wish People Knew About Me as an Outgoing Introvert
1. I love and hate being around people.
It’s tough to admit, but I have a love/hate relationship with people. I consider myself to be a humanitarian, but when I encounter selfishness, cruelty, and stupidity, I catch myself muttering, “I hate people!” How is this possible?
I find people to be both intriguing and exhausting. Like many introverts, I enjoy people-watching and hearing their life stories. But I can only endure so much before I’ve had enough and need to retreat to my safe haven.
2. Sometimes I love socializing.
There are times when I enjoy being around other people — depending on my mood — but I also thrive when I’m alone. If you find me one day working the room or dancing the night away, and then the next day, shy and quiet, you may be left feeling baffled.
When the mood strikes, I can be super outgoing, borderline obnoxious, and let loose for a night of silly fun. I can be whole-body energized by the buzz of a party — I absolutely love going to rock concerts and dancing the night away. But afterward, I’ll need a day or two to recover so I avoid all socializing and conversation because I’m recouping the enormous amount of energy that I mustered to have that night out. And I’m thrilled to crawl back into my cocoon!
3. But I love being home too.
Yes, there are times when I enjoy socializing, but chilling at home is my real jam. When I was young, I remember my sister and I thinking, how cool would it be to stay cozy in our pajamas and be instantly transported to a lounge so we would watch the action from the comfort of bed! FOMO at its highest.
4. I have to push myself to go out.
Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get myself out of the house. It’s a practice; I remind myself that I usually have fun once I’m out, but getting there can be a struggle. I try not to overthink the logistics of planning outings because when I do, I become overwhelmed and then feel like canceling.
Too many social obligations stress me out as well. When I find myself over-booked, anxiety creeps in. While I may feel like bowing out, I don’t want to disappoint so I often follow through, but it takes much effort to mentally prepare.
5. I enjoy being alone.
I love my quiet alone time, maybe a little too much! I can never understand when someone says they’re bored or uncomfortable when they’re alone, because I thrive on being by myself. I can always find a way to enjoy this precious solo time.
6. I’m very selective about who I let into my life.
I have very few close friendships because I don’t have the energy to maintain a large social network or a high-maintenance group of people. The close network I do have, I nurture with love and compassion. Being with my friends is easy, and the energy shared between us is uplifting and positive. I limit interactions with people who I find energy-draining.
7. I avoid small talk.
I’m not the type of person who likes to chat about the weather and make small talk about little things. I much prefer to dive right into deep conversations; maybe it’s the Sagittarius in me too, but I can be blunt and ask those tough, personal questions right off the bat. I don’t mean to offend but I really want to get to know the person I’m talking to.
I also might avoid engaging in small talk when I’m running errands and see someone I know. Don’t be surprised if I run for the nearest exit before being forced to bump into that person.
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8. I like to talk but I enjoy listening more.
Yes, it may seem like I’m quiet and I don’t have much to say, but I do. I have plenty of thoughts and opinions. But if you’re a chatterbox, I may take a seat back and allow you to rule the conversation. I’m a great listener, and enjoy observing others and learning more about them. I also find that talkative people who dominate the conversation zap my energy, so I don’t bother speaking up.
9. Sometimes I avoid conversations.
This could teeter on social anxiety, but sometimes I just don’t feel like talking and would rather listen. If I feel drained, I may not engage as I normally would; talking takes extra effort when I’m feeling depleted. I’ve withdrawn into my own mind and inner world, and I am not in any mood to have to chat.
In general, I’d rather spill out my thoughts and philosophies on paper, or in articles such as these, instead of speaking them aloud.
10. I like compliments, but don’t.
Yes, I love compliments! But then I’m completely bashful when someone throws a compliment my way. The attention is wanted and nice, but at the same time, I become quite uncomfortable being in the spotlight.
I waver on wanting to be noticed, and wanting to hide. When I made some television appearances to promote my book, I was excited but also extremely nervous. I began to panic thinking that people would be paying attention to ME.
It’s taken me years to fully understand who I am, and that it’s okay to be both outgoing and an introvert. In fact, I’ve embraced the duality of my personality and learned to honor my full range of strengths.