I’m an introverted extrovert

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and it’s probably nothing new, I’m sure people have made these observations before but I just wanted to talk it through.

(that’s almost poetic)

Anyway, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a massive extrovert. I’m loud, I thrive in social situations, I run around at parties mingling with various people, I’m good at networking with strangers, I like big groups and I’m comfortable around new people. But actually none of these things are what it means to be an extrovert. You could be an introvert and good at all these things too.

Extroversion and introversion describe where you get your energy from. I became obsessed with Myers Briggs (MBTI) when I was at university (I’m an ENFP if you were wondering) and I learnt a lot about extroversion and introversion. It’s not about being confident or shy, loud or quiet, it’s about energy. Where do you get your energy from? Is it being around other people or being on your own? And obviously for most people it’s not as black and white as that. There’s a spectrum, a sliding scale between introvert and extrovert and I would call myself an introverted extrovert.

This first came to my mind when my friend, Leena (who I talk about a lot on this blog, maybe I’m obsessed with her), called herself an extroverted introvert. Leena is loud, loves a good party, enjoys hanging out with other people, is very confident and if you first met her at a social event you’d probably think she was an extrovert. But no, Leena is an introvert. She lived on her own for a year and she literally just spent a week by herself in the lake district on a writing retreat and didn’t get bored. Even though she is really good at and enjoys doing things that are usually seen as “extroverted” ultimately it drains her and she needs to recharge her energy by being alone.

I am the opposite. I get my energy from being around other people, whether that be a group of people or just one other person. I need to get my fix of talking to someone or I slowly go insane. But IĀ love being on my own. Right now I am writing this from my bed and I don’t plan on leaving my bed except for food breaks and I don’t want to hang out with anyone today. Not because I’m feeling sad but just because that’s how I’m feeling and what I want to do today.

Being freelance means I do spend a lot of time on my own and I’m good at it. But I also have work days where I’m surrounded by other people constantly and I come home and lock myself in my room and don’t talk to another human because I just need to do my own thing (catch up on YouTube videos, watch a TV show or film, read a book). My housemates probably see me as a bit of an introvert because I spend so much time on my own.

But here’s the catch, even though I love being alone and I very much enjoy my own company if I spend too much time like this then I get sad. Like really sad.Ā I just wallow in self-pity and I get into this horrible funk which I can only be brought out of by speaking to another human. But usually by this point I’ve lost all my energy and I can’t bring myself to get out of bed and go talk to someone (and living in a warehouse of 12 people there is usually someone around). Sometimes I don’t even have to talk to someone else, just being in the same room as another living, breathing human being can be enough to start refuelling my energy. That is why I’m an extrovert.

My sister, on the other hand, is probably an extroverted extrovert. She gets her energy from being around other people and can’t stand being alone. Last year I received a text from her saying:

“some friends just asked me out for drinks tonight but I said no and I’m staying in by myself with Netflix and wine – are you proud of me?!”

I was so proud of her.

Even though I am loving this solitary bed working time right now, we’ll see how long it is until the funk sets in and I have to emerge from my room…

What do you think? Are you an introvert or extrovert? Can you spend loads of time on your own without getting really sad? Let me know in the comments!

Signature hannah journal

 

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27 thoughts on “I’m an introverted extrovert

  1. I relate to this, on the fact if I spend too much time alone I get sad and in a funk. But also, I really cannot stand being around people too long. I don’t know what you’d class this as? I am a complex human being just like everyone else and as long as I am in control of how long I’m around people (or not around people) for then I’m okay! I have a trip coming up in a month to New York and I’m going to spend an entire 6 days surrounded by people and as an introvert, I don’t know how I’m going to cope – we’re not allowed much time alone! I’m just going to have to appreciate bathroom time!

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  2. I’m pretty much an introverted introvert – I really struggle with interacting with new people and I feel uncomfortable in large groups – I’d rather hang out in a group of no more than four, or just one one-to-one interactions with people. I also find being around people for long periods of time incredibly draining, and I definitely recharge by locking myself in my room and just chilling on my own. But like you if I spend too long on my own, I get sad and stuck in a slump. It’s a bit of a difficult balance really!

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    • I can really relate to what you’re saying. It’s hard to balance. I need lots of time on my own and get tired very easily when I’m around people, yet do get sad if I’m alone too much. I work in a school so have the holidays off and I choose to spend most of that time alone, but then I can get sad and feel really lonely.

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    • Dude I can relate to this! And the weirdest bit is when my brain be like ‘oh no it’s fine I’ll stay in on my own and get stuff done rather than go out with people’ and then hours later it’ll be like ‘great now you’re all lonely why did you think that was a good idea?!’ Can be very frustrating.

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      • YES I know exactly what you mean! Or else I’ll agree to go out and do things with people and then I’ll think ‘Why did you do this? Now you’re exhausted and don’t have the energy to do the 1983465 things you need to do’

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  3. Great blog!! I think I’m maybe the same! I have to have at least one human interaction a day otherwise i crack up, but i don’t mind being on my own. I work from home which means i can be on my own most of the day if i choose, until my wife comes home from work. I do have a dog as well and she gives me contact, and i take her for walks, so i get regular intakes of fresh air. I think i’ll ponder on this a bit more!

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  4. Wow! You’ve literally written all of my thoughts of extroversion on a piece of paper. I can relate to single thing you’ve said about you. I often consider myself as an extrovert because I get my energy from being around other people, and love being in social situations, and meeting new people, and all that jazz. However, I also need to be alone sometimes: some days I want to spend some time with myself. On the flip side, I can get lonely and I start going crazy after a few days of being on my own, I get super sad and get into a bad spiral and I need to get ou and see people.

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  5. Really interesting read. I’ve always considered myself an introvert with extroverted tendencies, as I aren’t really one for being at parties and social events ALL the time but when I do go to them my friends have often said that I’ve been the life and soul of the party. I’m an INTJ and love my alone time but also like you, after a some time of being alone, if I haven’t talked to or been in the same room as someone else for any length of time then I’ll just start to feel so sad, lonely and like my life is ending!

    It was nice to read this and see that I’m not the only one who goes through these kinds of phases.

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  6. I am the dictionary definition of an introvert. I’m an INFP and scored almost 100% on the introvert scale, hahaha. While I do have some extroverted qualities, I have to be REALLY in the mood for parties to have a good time and talk to everyone and anyone. Which is rare, since I get sick of being around people extremely quickly. Not to say that I hate people, it’s just I value my alone time sooo much, that I literally go crazy if I don’t have a few hours alone a day.

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  7. Years ago, I used to see it as people that were just uncomfortable with solitude. But recently I have realized it is all about energy. On a dance floor at a party, I appear completely extroverted to others. Also when I’m speaking to a crowd of people. Maybe that’s more giving energy than receiving it. I love quiet time, reading, journaling, and a few genuine social interactions, so I’m more toward introvert on the spectrum as an INFJ. It often feels like a dance between receiving and giving the energy. We may define ourselves on the spectrum more how we get energy than how we give it. Introverted people can still give energy extrovertedly (is that a word? Haha), but social situations can feel draining to them. I enjoyed Leena’s thought that socializing all the time is similar to doing the same all the time on social media. Abundance can cause too much abstraction and depreciate value. We can take it for granted. Being okay with solitude and being present also helps us be present with people in social situations and not go to our phones.

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  8. I’ve always referred to myself as an introvert. I can’t be around people for long periods of time and loud spaces make me anxious. It’s always been fairly obvious to me that I’m introverted and from the outside when I’m not with friends then I’m a very quiet person and rarely speak in classes. When I’m with friends I can be loud and have what looks like an “extroverted” personality but I’m exhausted after being with my friends for more than 2 hours and I have to decompress and spend time alone to be energised again. This has always made school extremely difficult because I am not tired when I get to school but by the end of the day all I want to do is sleep. I guess that’s normal but it’s not because of the learning it’s because there are so many people. I just know that I could spend weeks at a time alone by myself and be perfectly fine with that.

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  9. A lot of what you write rings so true with me! I’ve done the Myers-Briggs test (and similar ones) multiple times and I always score towards the middle when it comes to extroversion/introversion. So sometimes I’m an ENFP (high five!) and other times I’m an INFP.
    Although, I wouldn’t say I’m and introverted extrovert or and extroverted introvert because I get energy from being with people just as I need to recharge and get energy form being alone with a good book/music/movie/etc. Personally, I’d describe myself as an ambivert because really it’s not a question of either or, like you said it’s more of a spectrum. And I’m somewhere in the middle.
    Weirdly, I’ve talked to one of my best friends about it and she’d hands down see me as an extrovert. Which I can’t agree with at all. Quite possibly I’m an extrovert when I’m around people and an introvert when I’m not.

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  10. I’m an INFP so I’m probably an the opposite of you and an Extroverted Introvert. I miss living alone although if I’m in the right mood I love group situations and meeting new people – otherwise I find it quite exhausting being around people I don’t know well! xx

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  11. Once my parents were on vacation, so I stayed at their house for two weeks to watch the dog. I was working home office at that time and managed two whole weeks without a single real human contact. And it was amazingly relaxing!
    But I think I only could go through with this because I got my dog aroud all the time and got plenty of fresh air thanks to her.

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  12. I think I’m an introvert as concerns the energy thing cos I really enjoy spend time alone, but I’m a wild party dreamer, extremely shy and afraid to exposed myself. On a second thought, I enjoy late nights out (literally out in the street kind of party) where you can absorb different kind of energy by strangers. Than I always get depressed. So, it’s complicated define me.

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  13. I’ve thought about this quite a bit as well, and the miserable truth is, I’m a

    Depressed Socially Awkward Extrovert.

    I need people so bad, and I could never live on my own. I’d get depressed, barricade myself even more because of my inability to socialise, and make it all a lot worse by not ever seeing anyone.
    What makes a lot of things even more difficult is that I perceive relationships and statuses thereof very different from others. I’m also an asexual, who really yearns for a queer polyamorous relationship. Now remember the social awakwardness and think how all that plays together when you’re trying to be around people, get to know them and form relationships with them.
    I can tell you, it’s seldomly fun.

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  14. As I was reading this I felt so related. I’m also a ENFP, and now that I’m looking for a job and staying home a lot I get sad really easy. I have to see people frequently šŸ˜› even if we are just sharing the room and each of us is doing their thing. Thank you for your article šŸ˜€ Love from Dominican Republic.

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  15. I really liked this, I am pretty much the same, I appear to be an extrovert and can chat away to anyone, I’ve been told I make it look easy, but inside I’m always second guessing myself. I love spending time with people but I also find it exhausting, probably because of the internal monologue constantly whirling round my head! Nice article!

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  16. I think I’m probably much like Leena, an extroverted introvert! I love spending time with other people and I’d imagine I come off as an extrovert when I’m socialising, but I really love spending time on my own – I’m at my happiest when I can just sit and write a blog post or whatever. My family have never quite understood it! I’m not lazy or sad or angry with my friends; sometimes, I just need to be my own best friend and be on my own. šŸ™‚ Lovely post, Hannah!

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  17. I took the Myers-Briggs when I was 20 or 21 and in college for the first time, and my results were down the line 50/50 on all personality traits it checks. So I was half introvert, half extrovert. I think this is because my answers are highly dependent on the situation, which isn’t something that test (or most psych tests) take into consideration. I tend to get energy from the activities I engage in rather than the presence or absence of anyone else. Of course, some activities necessitate people being present, while others don’t.

    If I’m learning, teaching, reading, writing, or otherwise engaging in deeper thoughts or meaningful conversation, I draw a great deal of energy from that. If I’m talking about the weather or other light chit-chat, or looking up such information, I find that draining. I hate being around people at parties for this reason, but I love to play card games, solve puzzles, or take a class with others. I’m happy to spend time with others when they’re someone I’m able to talk with or if there’s structure to the interaction (like doing customer service over the phone), but I’m also content to be alone most of the time and do activities in solitude. I tend to learn more when interacting with others, though, so I often seek out people online and in real life with whom to talk.

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  18. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m an ENFP and I definitely love doing all the things that are seen as “extroverted”. I do need the occasional evening to myself but if that turns into a few days alone then I fell really really homesick and just want to be in a room full of sofas, food and lots and lots of people. But I definitely think humans work best in this way, for some to thrive with and others without people, but also to cope with both so we can live our lives with or without the pack and still cope.

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  19. I’m crazy happy that you are aware of MBTI! But are you aware of the Jungian functions that precede MBTI? To use you and me as an example, you (being an ENFP) have Ne, Fi, Te, Si, and I (being an ISFJ) have Si, Fe, Ti, Ne. If not, the MBTI is based on Jungian functions, so a quick research on the Jungian functions might be useful.

    I hope you have a good Friday!
    Marshall

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  20. I can’t remember where I read it but there’s a quote I really like: (paraphrasing of course) “There is no such thing as being 100% introverted or 100% extroverted….such a person would be in an insane asylum.”

    šŸ™‚

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  21. I consider myself as an ambivert. I thrive from being in large groups and getting to know (new) people but at the same time I enjoy my own company and don’t feel lonely if I’m doing something alone. My emotions are more introverted in terms of being sad or vulnerable, I’d rather deal with that on my own than express it extrovertly to other people. I also hate clubs and those sort of scenes as I find it draining and overwhelming but if it is silent and there are people around me, I find it harder being by my self and silent than if I was completely alone because would have the urge to engage with them. In different friendship groups I see myself as either a speaker, a listener or a combination of the two depending on the types of people in said friendship groups. At the end of the day with being an ambivert, it all depends but there is no 100% one way or another

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  22. I’m so happy after reading this blog because this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. A while ago a friend asked me if I thought I was an introvert or an extrovert. It was hard for me to give an answer to that and I said something along the lines of not being shy around other people and enjoying socialising, but also needing some time for myself every now and then. According to him it didn’t have anything to do with shy/confident but just the fact that you prefer being around others or alone.
    Someone else I asked, said it meant being able to express your feelings to others easily. This I found interesting. But it still didn’t make sense to me completely… because sometimes when something’s really on my mind I’ll just tell anyone, even people I’ve met a couple of hours earlier (that can be a bit intense of a first impression…). Other times it takes ages for me to really open up to people.
    Describing myself as an introverted extrovert, just like you, seems like the perfect fit. šŸ™‚

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  23. I’m definitely an introvert introvert. I enjoy seeing and being with people but it absolutely exhausts me. The ideal amount of social interaction for me is probably 4 hours a day but anymore than that and I get ridiculously tired. When I come home from a college day I need an hour to recharge before I can talk to my family members. I’m not particularly the life of the party either. I enjoy interacting with others but still not in a particularly loud or extroverted way. Oppositely I get sad if I spend more than 3 days with hardly any social interaction so it’s just getting that balance right.

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