Have you ever taken a personality test? Most people find themselves a variation of either an Introvert or an Extrovert. I happen to be an odd hybrid that’s confusing for many to understand. I’m an Extroverted Introvert. It’s such a contradiction that most people, even myself, often feel we have split personalities. Let me explain.
I was telling a friend that I was the close second for ‘most shy’ in my high school class, and she, at first, didn’t believe me. She knows me as the person who organizes big fundraisers, and the one who happily schmoozes the crowd at these events like a social maverick. She knows me as the woman who knows a lot of people in town, and the one who is always “on” at our playdates and mom events.
If you spoke to one of my fellow Farifield County Moms Blog contributors, however, I’m sure they could tell you very little about me. I rarely attend events. The anxiety of unfamiliar places, small amounts of people, and the ever-threatening idea of small talk are paralyzing. Plus, they are often in the evening. It sounds weird, but by 5 p.m. the social me is usually done for the day.
I know, it’s confusing. If you’re thinking Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde without the murder stuff, I get it.
These are the 3 main things you needs to know about the Extroverted Invert:
1. We REALLY enjoy our “on” time, but it’s very limited. I know I’ve been at an event of some kind – feeling like the life of the party – when an internal switch went off and I was just done. It happens quickly sometimes. I actually felt like I was melting into the corner. When we’re up we’re up, and when we’re down we sink like a brick. It’s frustrating to “change” like that, and I imagine awkward to someone witnessing it. Extroversion, for us, is kind of like a favorite costume that slowly gets too warm and claustrophobic, to the point it suddenly needs to be ripped off and thrown in the corner for awhile. We don’t want to throw it away. We simply need some rest from it.
2. We also REALLY enjoy our “off” time. In fact most of us are much more introverted than most would expect. Just because you may not have heard from us for a day or two does not mean you should be alarmed. We don’t need to be checked up on. We don’t need to be questioned if we are alright. We just want to be alone — because we like it. We make ourselves available when we’re ready, and if we’re truly in need of help you’ll know.
3. We’re selectively social. In a large group setting, I can easily hide behind my social “mask.” In smaller events, it takes A LOT (did I say A LOT?) of energy for me to approach new people or those I’ve met only once or twice in passing. It usually involves a pep talk and some major deep breaths. If I do approach someone it’s someone I feel is worth the time, and I don’t take that lightly. If I have to make small talk, and have no connection, chances are you probably won’t hear from me again. Small talk, for extroverted introverts, is painful and highly unwanted.
First impressions are important, and Extroverted Introverts often get the shaft. We’re labeled as snobby and unapproachable if you catch us in the wrong scenario. If you’re willing to take the time, give us a second chance. There are all kinds of personalities out there. Some are big. Some are small. Some are both. If you want to know more about personality type, the Myers & Briggs Foundation is a perfect to place to start.