Although extroverts can be exhausting for introverts, when the right extroverts find the right introverts, it’s magic.
Extroverts amaze me. Just the thought of the amount of energy they happily expend out of the house, with people surrounding them constantly, overwhelms me. When I hear my friends talking about their weekends, all the people they see, the places they go, I lose my breath. How can they do so much? Don’t they ever need to recharge? Alone? In their home with their comfy couch and clothes, surrounded by all their favorite things?
While I’m sure the answer isn’t “no,” it’s safe to say it’s close to “not often.” As much as that baffles me, I can’t emphasize enough just how thankful I am to have these people in my life.
Extroverts are the ones who get energized by being around many people whereas introverts (like me) get exhausted by people, particularly large groups I don’t know. Extroverts are the ones who want to find the next exciting adventure, and introverts (hi, me again) look forward to the adventure they get from turning on the TV, opening a book, or having their favorite one or two people over. Extroverts thrive on (what I deem to be) excessive stimuli. Introverts are overwhelmed by (what others consider) just a little stimuli. And while hearing the adventures of an extrovert exhausts me, there is one thing I have learned from them: Life is a hell of a lot of fun outside the house.
Yes, it’s obvious. There is a lot of opportunity and adventure to be had once you actually leave your house. But as an introvert — and one who deals with social anxiety on top of it — “going out” are two of the most dreaded words to hear. I’m the one who wouldn’t order pizza if I was hungry because I had to call the place and talk to someone. (All the thanks to whomever invented online ordering. You are the true savior.) I’m the one who takes a road trip, happily driving six and a half hours by myself one way, for a short weekend, only to need at least a month’s worth of weekends to recover.
And yet, if it weren’t for my extroverted friends dragging me out and about, there would be far fewer experiences that make me smile.
With My Extroverted Friends, Adventure Awaits… Like at a Silent Disco
Many adventures await when I’m with my extroverted friends… like the silent disco.
If you haven’t been to a silent disco, it’s the best of both words for introverts. You get the fun of dancing around with your friends (disco), but a sincere break from the energy when you need it (silent). At this one, each person had a ridiculous pair of huge headphones that could be tuned to two DJs. The DJs were competing and you could switch back and forth between them, just like the radio. Everyone around me was wearing their headphones and dancing like nobody’s watching, in their own little world just as much as they’re with the crowd. Need a break? Just take the headphones off — dead silent. A little bit creepy, very cool, and strangely calming.
I stepped outside for a breather with one of the extroverts that brought me along. Because of the headphones, you could still have the music on and continue the party. My favorite song of the time came on. So naturally, there we were, my extroverted best friend and I, on a beautiful night downtown with our headphones blaring “Shut Up and Dance,” doing just that.
And to think that I’d almost bailed that night. The downtown club scene never appealed to me, and while I liked the idea of the silent disco, I was totally fine skipping it. To this day, I’m so thankful my extroverts dragged me out so I didn’t miss it.
Join the introvert revolution. One email, every Friday. The best introvert articles. Subscribe here.
Other Times, My Extrovert Friends and I ‘Clown Around’
Who doesn’t love a haunted house?
I actually do, but never feel the need to go. Between people jumping out at you specifically to scare you, and the cold night air, I happily pass. Cue my extroverted friends pulling me along. They were looking for a classic fall activity and they found one in the form of a haunted house. A big group of us ended up going, most of whom I was comfortable with. But the evening surrounding a haunted house is meant to be scary (and my lovely extroverts would make sure I left with such a memory).
Did I mention I am terrified of clowns? A jester had been, understandably, skulking about the place and I had been obsessively watching him (or her) so I knew where they were at all times. I figured I was safe in the line for the haunted house, so I let my guard down. At one point, my friends got me to turn around, only so I could find myself in a silent staring contest with this jester. Not a scream was released, nor was a word spoken for probably close to 30 seconds. The clown finally walked away (satisfied, I assume), and I turned back to my friends with silent tears streaming down my face. Even I didn’t realize just how scared of clowns I’d been. Now I do.
And it’s a memory I love. Another one that I only have because my extroverted friends wouldn’t go without me.
The Right Introvert + The Right Extrovert = Magic
Introverts are often misunderstood. After saying yet again what a wonderfully quiet weekend I had, someone will inevitably ask, “Don’t you get bored at home — alone?” There’s still this pervasive concept that quiet is boring and busy is exciting. After a week of being surrounded by people, the last thing I need or want is to be busy. I don’t need to go looking for fun — it surrounds me at all times when I’m home. I have always been able to keep myself occupied, bouncing between my hobbies, and it takes an insane amount of alone time to make me feel lonely. (There’s a difference between being lonely and alone.) Still, it happens, so I love the extroverts in my life for pulling me away from the nest and encouraging me to experience new things.
What I love even more are the extroverts who understand me. At the beginning of a friendship, many extroverts would hound me to go on all the adventures, but the extroverts that hung around even after all my “no”s listened. They learned which adventures I liked and which I didn’t. They narrowed their focus on the adventures they called me on — like going for a five-mile hike instead of staying downtown until 2 a.m. — so my percentage of the activities I could actually join them on skyrocketed. They took care of me when I went out with them, carrying the extra weight of socializing and small talk, so I almost always had a good time. They “get” me (and still do) and I love it.
And better yet, they joined me on my adventures. They learned just how fun movie marathons were and nights binge-watching a favorite show. The quiet nights with wine and board games, or hell, even the Friday nights with grading papers (I’m a teacher). My favorite extroverts are the ones who know when I need the coziness of staying home vs. when I need to be pulled out of it and into the real world for a bigger adventure.
Although extroverts can be exhausting for introverts, when the right extroverts find the right introverts? It’s magic.