Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
Most people have an answer to this question, or at least an alignment with one nature, more than the other. One thing, I think we can all agree on- is you simply cannot put a label or a box around yourself and call it a day. We are evolving beings and as such our personalities; likes, dislikes, views, ideas, interactions all change over time.
Hands up who started off as an extrovert and has over time become more and more introverted? Or who was an introverted child, who grew up more and more extroverted as the years went by?
We are shaped by our circumstances, experiences and the people in our lives- it is important to check in from time to time with you and be present for our own evolution.
How do we define Extroverts and Introverts?
Noun: an outgoing, gregarious person.
Psychology: a person characterized by extroversion; a person concerned primarily with the physical and social environment (opposed to introvert).
Noun: a shy, more inward person.
Psychology: a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings (opposed to extrovert).
Crystal clear right?
The thing to understand about introversion and extroversion is they are not all-or-nothing traits. Think of these two natures as being on a scale. Some people fall closer to the extreme ends, making them either very introverted or very extroverted. Most people are closer to the middle, which gives them qualities of both introversion and extroversion.
Enter: confusion, and expectation!!!
I feel like I lost myself a lot recently. I got caught up, in pretending to be one way, whilst feeling another. I had to simplify everything, go back to basics, and practice being honest with myself and the people around me. Over time I have started to accept and really own who I am, today.
A lot of what I discovered centred around the realisation, that I wasn’t the extrovert I had always thought and been told I was. I always had a lot of friends, a busy social life, I have never been what is considered ‘shy’, so the world assumed I was an extrovert. Even I did. Until I realised, I was pretending more and more, and I felt at odds with what I was putting out into the world. I was caught up, in showing people what they expected of me, playing a part. Slowly, the outside world, socialising, and communicating got harder and harder.
My biggest clue, that I was evolving into a more introverted person was my need for alone time. My favourite part of everyday was getting home and being by myself. I felt free. Free of pretending and able to be quiet, reflective, thoughtful. This time alone, was the only way I felt I could recharge my spirit.
Of course, it is a balance, because I also love socialising and seeing my family and friends. I still don’t see myself as ‘shy’. This idea of shyness and introversion being connected, always seemed to be a stumbling block to me, but are introverts shy?
I would say, that being an introvert and being shy are two totally different traits. I know many ‘shy’ people, who would quite happily get on a stage and perform, or a ‘confident’ friend who hates speaking publicly. As I said earlier, life just isn’t one size fits all.
Personally, my understanding is that being introverted means socialising can be draining. You might not be nervous or shy at all. In fact, many introverts enjoy meaningful socialising, but may avoid extra social time as it can feel more tiring, which leads to needing more alone time to recharge.
The best way I saw this explained, was on the wonderful website:
‘’Compare social stamina to running. If extroverts are marathon runners, introverts are sprinters. That doesn’t mean that introverts don’t like running (or social time). It just means we have to conserve our energy.’’
Could I be an ‘extroverted introvert’?
I like this idea of looking at introversion and extroversion as two natures on a scale. As an extroverted introvert, it may mean you’re an introvert at heart — but you may be more outgoing than other introverts because your personality is more centred on the scale.
10 Signs You Maybe An Extroverted Introvert
Introvert, Dear. This is for all for the quiet ones
“1. Your energy level is closely tied to your environment.
You’re sensitive to your surroundings. It matters how your environment looks, what kind of music is playing, how many people are present, and the noise level. The ambiance of a place can either energise or drain you, depending on if it fits your preferences. A loud rock concert in a crowded stadium might be overwhelming — but an up-close-and-personal acoustic set at your favourite club is soothing.
2. You find people to be both intriguing and exhausting.
People watching? Yes. Meeting new people and hearing their life stories? Fascinating. Spending almost every night hanging out with friends? Not a chance. Outgoing introverts enjoy meeting new people but can only endure so much socialising. After a busy weekend or a long day at work, you may feel the need to disappear and recharge by being alone or with just one other person.
3. Certain people and interactions drain you while others recharge you.
You have a few friends who you could hang out with for practically forever. It seems like you never run out of things to talk about. Being with them is easy. You actually feel better after spending time with them, not drained — and you act pretty outgoing around them. Other people tire or bore you and you need to get away. Being alone is better than settling for second-rate company.
4. You can be charming but also deeply introspective and reflective.
People feel comfortable around you, and you easily get others talking and opening up about themselves. When you’re out with friends, you make sure everyone’s having a good time. However, most people don’t realise how “in your head” you really are. Although you appear easy-going, your mind is always running.
5. When you feel rested and recharged, you reach out to others.
Often, you’re the one who organises social events for others. Playing the host is ideal for the extroverted introvert — it allows you to spend time with people on your own terms. But when you run out of energy, you’re out, and like a true introvert, all you want is a little hibernation at home.
6. You need time to warm up in social situations.
Your first impression belies your real personality. At first, you come across as quiet and reserved. But once you feel comfortable, you have no trouble chatting. You won’t spill your life story or divulge your insecurities to someone you’ve just met, but you will reveal intimate details once trust is built up. The better someone gets to know you, the more “extroverted” you seem.
7. It actually takes less energy to say what’s on your mind than to make small talk.
True extroverts rarely struggle with what to say. It’s easy from them to make chitchat — and talk with ease about virtually any topic. But not so for most introverts. Many introverts find it difficult to force small talk. They’d rather talk about big ideas or connect in an honest, authentic way. This is especially true of extroverted introverts. It’s far easier for them to say what’s on their mind than to fake a rousing discussion about the weather.
8. You’re selectively social.
Although you gain a lot of satisfaction from your relationships, unlike a true extrovert, you don’t have the energy to maintain a large social network. Plus, you don’t click with just anybody. So you make your limited “people” energy count by investing it into just a few close relationships.
9. You have no interest in trying to prove yourself in a crowd of strangers.
At networking events or parties, you’re not someone who “works the room.” Nor do you feel the need to draw a lot of attention to yourself in social situations. Yes, you see the value in making connections with others, and you especially love those rare moments when you meet a like-minded soul. But you’ll probably never be the most popular person in the room — and you’re okay with that.
10. You’re often confused for an extrovert.
Your friends and family don’t buy that you’re an introvert because you’re just so social. In fact, it may have taken you a while to realise that you’re an introvert — because you play the extrovert so well. Now you find yourself constantly having to explain your introversion and how you get your energy. Unfortunately, most people don’t get it.”
The shoe fits!
After reading this article, I was more convinced than ever, I recognised myself in all ten statements. I am an extroverted, introvert but an introvert at heart. And I am ok with that! No longer, will I pretend to be more confident than I am, or berate myself for preferring to spend a day at home by myself. We are all different, we all act introverted at times and extroverted at others. You can be outgoing and still be an introvert!
As always, we have to take the time to understand our own needs and learn to be honest and accepting of our own individual style- even if that means being the life of the party one night and then spending a day in pure isolation the next. Even if people just don’t get it.
We all have one primary job in life, and that is to be true to ourselves.
Wherever it may lead us.