It’s not easy being an extroverted introvert.
Everyone else seems to fit so neatly into one category or the other: There are the extroverts, who are always drinking and partying and who never need alone time. And then there are the introverts, who literally don’t ever have to have social interaction. But what about extroverted introverts? We are the rare people who need a mix of both social and alone time. And we are definitely the most misunderstood type.
People always think that extroverted introverts want to be their friends, because we’re so outgoing. But in reality we are introverts, which means that being in our lives is a privilege. You just don’t deserve to be in it if you’re not going to put the time into deeply understanding us. So if you want to be a part of my life, as an extroverted introvert, here are ten things you’re just going to have to accept first.
1. Everyone keeps trying to put me in one box or another and it’s really hard for me.
Nobody understands what it means to be an extroverted introvert – probably because they read the “official” “scientific” definitions of introversion and extroversion, instead of the definitions of extroverted introverts, which you can find on Buzzfeed and Thought Catalog. We’re really misunderstood because people just assume we’re extroverts since we’re always the life of the party. But we’re not extroverts at ALL. I usually need to go home from parties around 2am to recharge – that’s an introvert thing.
2. Even though everyone else loves it, I HATE small talk.
Every time I ask an extrovert if they like small talk they say “YES, I LOVE it, I wish I could make small talk all day.” But extroverted introverts hate small talk. If you try to make it with us, we will just ignore you because you are toxic for us. We need to protect our energy for DEEP conversations.
3. Sometimes I spend time by myself, sometimes I spend time around others.
Extroverts never spend time alone because they actually don’t need any alone time. And introverts, if they didn’t have jobs, would spend all of their time alone and never see another human again and they’d have ultimate energy that way. But an extroverted introvert is different in that we actually need both of those things! We need to be around people sometimes, and alone other times. It’s not 100% one or the other like it is for everyone else.
4. Everything has to have meaning to me.
I think it must be so easy to not be an extroverted introvert because you could just go about your life not decoding the secret meaning behind everything, like what Taylor Swift lyrics really mean. But I just can’t help it. I’m really deep as a person so I need a lot of alone time to think about things like whether my boyfriend is my forever person or not. It frustrates me that nobody else really gets it, but I’ve just gotten used to the fact that I’m just a deeper person than everyone else.
5. It’s unreasonable for you to expect that I’ll show up to social engagements if I don’t have the energy to go to them.
Since I am extroverted on some days and introverted on other days, I can’t really make plans ahead of time. It’s totally unreasonable to expect an extroverted introvert to pick up the phone or go to a party on a day when they are feeling drained. If you want the privilege of being in my life, you’re just going to have to understand that my mental health is what’s most important, and that means I can bail on commitments last minute if that is what I need to recharge.
6. When I’m around loud people I feel awkward and shy but around quiet people I am loud!
Extroverts are loud no matter WHO they are around – they just shout over each other if there is more than one of them, and introverts never say anything – if you put a bunch of them in a room together, they just sit in silence. But an extroverted introvert actually adapts to different social situations! We are the only type that does that.
7. I’m more complicated than you are (unless you’re also an extroverted introvert).
Look, it’s really easy to be either an extrovert or an introvert. If you’re an extrovert you never spend time alone and you basically don’t have thoughts so you never have to worry about getting consumed by them (like introverts do). But as an extroverted introvert, I have to balance being social AND having thoughts, which is honestly something that none of the literature on extroversion or introversion prepares you for. It’s really complicated for us to work out when we should talk to people and when we should go home and think, so you need to be understanding of us, because we are just more complicated than you are.
8. I can’t just be friends with everyone (even though everyone wants to be friends with me).
Everyone always wants to be friends with extroverted introverts because we’re so self-aware (seriously, I’m like the most self-aware person I’ve ever met) and also socially aware. But unlike extroverts, who maintain close friendships with literally every person they have ever met, we actually only stay in touch with SOME of the people we meet. That’s what is known as ‘selectively social,’ a term you might not be familiar with because you haven’t read as many listicles as I have (it’s because I need time to recharge through reading, don’t feel bad, I’m just an intellectual).
9. Sometimes I feel lonely.
Introverts never get lonely because they don’t need human connection, it’s science. But extroverted introverts actually do need human connection, even though we also need alone time. It’s really complicated, so the best thing to do is just let us choose when to hang out and when not to. Because if you are an extrovert you literally always want to hang out so we don’t have to worry about your schedule.
10. I can get along with both introverts AND extroverts.
Extroverts and introverts can’t understand each other – because introverts spend a lot of time thinking about things like philosophy and tea, but extroverts only think about things like parties and dating. So they have nothing to talk to each other about. But if you’re an extroverted introvert you can talk to both extroverts AND introverts because you drink tea but you also go to parties sometimes. It’s a really unique skill that no other personality type has. But if you want to be in my life, you’re just going to have to accept that I have a very specific set of skills that pure introverts or pure extroverts just don’t have!