When I tell people that I’m an introvert, they tend to roll their head back and laugh. But introverts are supposed to be quiet and shy, they quip.
Us extroverted introverts confuse the hell out of people.
Many introverts don’t fit the standard mould. With such a large spectrum in which we can fall between extroversion and introversion, those of us who relate to traits under both umbrellas can often feel confused about who we are and what we need in order to function on even the most basic level.
When I discovered the term ‘extroverted introvert’, I felt a huge sense of relief. I’ve always greatly related to introverts in terms of needing alone time and having my energy drained by other people. But my nature is predominantly loud and confident. People will almost always classify me as an extrovert, no questions asked. This assumption can often lead to misunderstandings.
Sometimes on a Friday when a huge group of my colleagues want to go for a long lunch, I decline. And because people perceive me as an extrovert, they often assume than I’m just being rude. In actual fact, I’m feeling the need to be alone. I’m drained. I want to go to a quiet cafe, on my own, and chill out for an hour. It’s nothing personal to anyone, but because I don’t often project the usual introverted qualities day-to-day, people just think I’m in a bad mood.
When I tell someone I’m introverted and they laugh, I refuse to laugh along with them. When someone shuts it down, I try and educate them on the huge spectrum one can fall on the extra-intro scale. The qualities of an extrovert/introvert are few and far between, and you should always listen to someone when they’re trying to tell you what they need.
In a social setting, I can be super friendly. I’ll always feel the need to entertain. I don’t mind attention. But after a certain period of time, I need to switch ‘off’. I need to head home and recharge. I crave solitude.
Below are some of the benefits that come from being an extroverted introvert, that can make all the confusion worthwhile.
Being an extroverted introvert means we are very in-tune with the emotions of others. Our empathy is often off the charts. Our introversion allows us to feel what others are feeling, and our extroversion gives us the desire to connect with others and help people through their own emotions. We have a sixth sense for how others are feeling, and can be a great listener and advice giver. We know just the right way to deal with a range of people and emotions.
Perks of Being An Empath
Being an empath can be both emotionally and mentally exhausting. But there are many silver linings and perks.
Introverts can often feel guilty about their reclusive nature. We live in a world where it’s a lot easier to be an extrovert. When you are a combination of the two, you are able to own your desire to re-charge. You know when you need to be around people, and when you need to be on your own. And you don’t feel the need to apologise for it (and so you shouldn’t).
We are able to say no to situations we are uncomfortable with. We’re unlikely to say yes to work drinks if all we want to do is go home and binge Netflix. We won’t feel guilty about it, because our extroverted side has given us the confidence to own our introverted tendencies.
We never feel the need to fake it. We live in world where extroversion is often praised, where it’s easier to sway that way. But an extroverted introvert is assured enough to own it. We never feel the need to give more than we have, in terms of energy. We can decline or accept invitations as we see fit. We are tuned into our energy levels and understand what is required to revitalise ourselves.
We are driven by our curiosity. We want deep and meaningful conversations that can illuminate all that life and the world have to offer.
We don’t talk to people for the sake of it. We don’t want a huge group of mediocre friends — quality over quantity. We want meaningful conversations. We want to connect with people on a deeper level. Our extroverted side allows us to talk to strangers, but our introverted side means that small talk gets old. We’d rather get right into the deep and meaningful instead of talking shit.
With a combination of both traits, we can appreciate people on all parts of the spectrum. Sometimes, people on very opposite ends of the extrovert/introvert spectrum can misunderstand one another. Sometimes, they just don’t get it. Being an extroverted introvert (or an introverted extrovert) means we have the ability to appreciate all qualities and personalities.
If someone needs time alone, we get it. If someone is behaving quiet when they’re usually quiet vocal, we get it. If someone wants to party until the early hours of the morning because they’re in great company, we get it.
As extroverted introverts, we will continue to be misunderstood. Society has been led to believe that extroverts are loud and vivacious, fuelled by the energy and company of others. Introverts are quiet and shy and turn away from the company of others whenever they can. But our personalities aren’t all black and white.
For those of us who are extroverted introverts or introverted extroverts, we have the ability to empathise with everyone and have qualities from both pools.
You don’t have to fit into a particular mould, and knowing who you are and what you need can better you in the long run, no apologies.