What It's Like Being an "Extroverted Introvert"

You’ve been told all your life that you’re either one of the two; extrovert or introvert, but you feel like you don’t fit into either one of the categories. You’re most likely an “extroverted introvert.” It’s like the lesser-known cousin of the ambivert. You’re the life of the party when you decide to finally get out of your bed and socialize; you’re like one of those delicious black and white cookies. There’s no fun in fitting into only one category, and according to professionals, you don’t even need to. 

Edmund Smith Conklin originally created the term “ambivert” back in 1923 to describe those who don’t directly identify with either extroversion or introversion. He basically said “why the hell would someone have to pick one when sometimes people feel as if they’re somewhere in between?” and I totally agree with him on that. Conklin also states that those identifying as ambiverts can sometimes fill the role of a leader, while other times they tend to follow. However, newer studies are showing that even the term “ambivert” doesn’t fully break apart the spectrum, and in fact, there are more types of personality identities. Carl Jang, a Psychiatrist from Switzerland, created something called the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, or the “MBTI” which suggests that your personality traits shouldn’t be categorized into just two different names, but instead be based on sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. Jang’s idea is similar to Conklin’s idea, except Jang’s theory on personality identities takes steroids and drinks protein shakes. Since Jang’s MBTI theory has numerous results, many people like to refer to the most common result as an “extroverted-introvert.”

Now, you’re probably wondering if you’re really an extroverted introvert, and I’m here (and Conklin and Jang) to help you determine that. It’s confusing because you sometimes feel like you’re ready to go out and “raise the roof,” while other times all you want to do is stay curled up in three blankets and be tucked away from society as a whole, and as the president of the extroverted-introverted club, I totally understand where you’re coming from. 

Before going to any social event, whether it’s just a meeting for a club you’re in or a crazy party that everyone and their mothers are going to, you need time to prepare yourself and get your extrovert on. While your extrovert friends are out partying every night, you would much rather prefer a few nights to yourself saving some of that energy for possibly every other party, maybe every two. You probably also like it when your plans are well-thought-out. Extroverted introverts like to know the details; the how, where, why, and what. You definitely stray away from spontaneity at all costs because that’s just too much to think about - and what if things don’t work out? That stuff freaks us extroverted introverts out like nothing else.

Extroverted introverts aren’t deemed solely off of their ability to manage their party schedule, but they’re also categorized by how they interact with others. We tend to keep our close friend circle rather small, but know just about everyone who walks by us. Some people call this phenomenon “floating,” and for good reason too. We have a lot of “friends” we like to talk to, and sometimes that leaves us to decide just who to hang out with or who to go to those crazy parties with. When push comes to shove, though, we gravitate to our two or three best friends most of the time, because after all, they know us better than anyone else does. We can also seem a bit closed-off before people get to really know us. We still have those introverted tendencies when we’re in public places, but as soon as we spot someone we know, the extrovert comes out and suddenly we’re jumping around and laughing too loud when we probably shouldn’t be.

Extroverted introverts also tend to be indecisive when it comes to going to social gatherings. We could have it determined that we won’t be going out that night, but right as the Uber arrives, we want in. Ever heard of “FOMO” or the irrational “fear of missing out?” Yeah, we have a pretty serious case of that just about always. That’s usually because we might decide to stay home, and then regret it right after - or vice-versa.

You look down and your group chat is blowing up your phone, but you simply just don’t feel like answering, but when you do, everyone is beyond excited to see that you’re alive. You don’t always feel like reading and answering all of your friend’s weird rants, but when you respond, you make everyone laugh and immediately lighten the mood if it’s negative. You are the chosen one! 

When Netflix is calling, you’re sure to answer. There’s nothing better than binge-watching your favorite show on a Saturday night, but at the same time, you could go for some drinks and dancing with a bunch of strangers at a nightclub. There’s just no in-between. Ironic, right?

After all, extroverted introverts are balls of energy that sometimes need time to ourselves to collect our own thoughts and ideas with a snack and a good movie or book. We aren’t the yin or yang, we are the yin and the yang.