Most definitions of the introvert/extrovert divide stereotype introverts as deep, thoughtful and introspective people – and extroverts as loud, boisterous and shallow.
While displaying a preference for extroversion may classify someone as primarily interested in the world that surrounds him or her, this certainly doesn’t exclude any extroverted type from maintaining a rich inner world as well. Just as not all introverts are socially incompetent, not all extroverts are lacking in depth or self-sufficiency.
For the (majority of) extroverts who identify as both highly sociable and highly introspective, here are a few struggles that we’ve all become a little too familiar with.
1. Your intelligence is constantly being under-estimated by those around you.
Because you’re naturally outgoing and talkative, others assume that you’re putting your entire personality on the table as soon as you meet them. The more new people get to know you, the more surprised they are to find out how deep your thoughts and interests run. You regularly find yourself replying “Well, it never came up,” in response to some version of “I had no idea you knew so much about X, Y or Z!”
2. Others are frequently confused by the copious amounts of of alone time you require.
People who meet you when you’re ‘on’ assume you’re the kind of person who’s always down for a wild night out. The first time you turn down a social event because you’d rather a quiet night to yourself, your friends are genuinely confused. What do you mean you’re an extrovert who also craves alone time? The literature indicated this was impossible.
3. You want to learn more about your personality but all the online definitions of extroversion describe a one-dimensional party animal.
You are genuinely interested in learning about what makes extroverts tick – but while the majority of online descriptions delve deeply into the world of introversion, they chalk extroversion up to ‘People who like leadership and going to parties.’ You are constantly frustrated by the over-simplification of your personality type.
4. You strongly identify with the ‘rich inner world’ that is attributed to introverts, but you know that the external world is ultimately where you go to re-charge.
You relate heavily to the thoughtful, inquisitive and introspective nature of introverts. But at the end of the day, it’s the outer world that recharges your batteries and makes you feel energized and refreshed.
5. You are fiercely independent in nature but require a large amount of stimulation to stay energized.
You don’t mind branching off from the group and blazing your own trail in any capacity. But at the end of the day, you’re always going to be just a little under stimulated if you’re left to your own devices for too long. You like to make your own decisions, do things your own way and then still have a team to return to at the end of the day.
6. You constantly feel too introverted for the extroverted crowd but too extroverted for the introverted crowd.
After a couple of nights out with your extroverted friends, you’re ready to fold it in. But after a couple of nights in with your introverted friends, you’re geared up for another rager. You are constantly seeking just a bit too much stimulation for your introverted friends, but not quite enough stimulation for your extroverted friends. You find yourself constantly fluctuating between social groups as a result.
7. Every new experience you take in has just as big an impact on your internal world as your external one.
You are constantly taking on new challenges and going on new adventures. And while your Instagram feed may boast a rich outer world, what’s less obvious is the significant impact those experiences are having on your inner world. You process everything that happens to you on an incredibly deep level and no matter how much fun or success it seems like you’re enjoying, there’s always a lot more going on beneath the surface than meets the eye.
8. It takes a particular kind of person to understand both sides of you.
Many people see only the bubbly side of you; others see only the pensive side. It takes a very specific kind of person to understand when you need to explore and when you need to withdraw. When you meet someone who understands both sides of you, you know that you have found a friend for life.
9. You connect quickly and easily with a wide variety of people but are careful about whom you invest in as a friend or romantic partner.
You experience immediate surface-level connections with almost everybody you meet, but you’re careful about who you invest in fully. The people who make it into your core inner circle are people you’d take a bullet for – and those relationships are anything but shallow.
10. Though you enjoy bouncing ideas off those around you, you need to reach all major decisions independently.
You often need to talk things out aloud in order to understand them fully – but that doesn’t mean you’re always asking for advice. At the end of the day, you only feel comfortable when you’re in the driver’s seat of your own life. And that means that all of your major decisions are being made by you.
11. You accidentally end up being everyone’s therapist.
You connect with new people with ease, but are also perfectly comfortable talking about the big-picture issues. As a result, new people you meet feel close to you incredibly quickly. You often find near-strangers spilling their life stories to you – forcing you into the position of involuntary, unpaid therapist.
12. People drastically under-estimate the significance of you asking for help.
Because you naturally help others with problems, it’s assumed that you also turn to others to help you with day-to-day concerns. What people fail to understand is that you only ask for help when you are completely and entirely at a loss for how to solve a problem by yourself. You pride yourself on being independent, which means you only ask for help if you direly need it. And those who understand that are absolutely irreplaceable to you.