Keegan Acton and friend laughing

Being an Introverted Extrovert

Disclaimer: I draw these conclusions based on personal experiences. These are not meant to generalize anyone whatsoever. So, please take into account that situations arise for people differently and not everyone will have experienced exactly the same way.

When talking about personality traits, people often describe themselves as extroverts or introverts. Rarely have I ever encountered anyone that defines themselves as bits of both. As a matter of fact, I believe I am an introverted extrovert. Yes, they exist!

I’ve been in classes where I know the answer to a question and I’m itching to answer it. So, I’ll put my hand up but then, I put it back down thinking I’d rather not speak in front of everyone. But then I’ll shoot it back up thinking “Who cares? I want to do this!” By the time I come up with a concrete decision regarding whether or not I want to say something, a classmate has already answered the question with the exact same answer as me. Or I’ve been hanging out with friends and we’re all happy to be there. I know exactly what they’re talking about and I think “OU! I’ll say this!” and then think “Nah. I should let them finish what they’re saying.” But you are well aware that there are no turns in a conversation! You just say what you want to respond with!

Do you get what I’m talking about? Have you ever done something like this? Well, you might be an introverted extrovert too!

What does this mean?

Let’s deconstruct what an introverted extrovert is. We all know that extroverts are outgoing individuals that typically do not have a problem socializing with lots of new people. As we also know, introverts would rather spend their time in their own little sanctuary with a few people around. So, what do we get when we mush them together?

From experience, I can tell you that it can be exhausting. While these social butterflies enjoy mingling and making new friends, they’ll need their own space eventually to wind down and catch their breath. If you’re getting an idea of what exactly it is that I’m talking about, then you may be an introverted extrovert yourself! This doesn’t mean you’re not capable of the same things introverts or extroverts are. It just means you require different things socially and mentally.

Typically, anxiety and depression can be associated with being an introverted extrovert so, it is imperative that you recognize that though there are changes in your life, it does not mean you’ve changed for the worse. For me, the change from being an extrovert to an introverted extrovert was a new one. But that definitely does not mean that you HAVE to have any illnesses to be an introverted extrovert.

It’s difficult sometimes to not get caught up in the anxieties that brew when we’re out and about. It’s important to realize that people do not know how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking – to a certain extent. Remember, people will only see what you show them. They have no idea of the chaos that you believe is storming inside your head.

Put on a show

It may sound corny, but you’ve got to pretend you’re the star of your own show. Nobody can hear your inner monologue. All they really can do is hear you speak and observe your behaviour. So, keep that chin up and smile. Maintain eye contact if you can. This way, you’ll be less occupied with what-ifs and more concerned with seeming poised – this is something I have mastered. The truth is, I love people, but I can’t be around many for a long period of time. So, I learned to master the art of masking my social exhaustion.

There is a fine line between being an introverted extrovert and pretending to be someone you are not. When you are not who you want to be, you’ll feel tired of the persona you take on in front of other people. As an introverted extrovert, your attitude towards people doesn’t necessarily change – you just need some time on your own to rejuvenate. But more on that later!

You need to find your voice

When you’re passionate about something and have learned a lot about it, it becomes easier to talk about it. When you have that fire to advocate for a cause you care about, that voice will want to speak up for itself by default. Finding that voice will help you realize that you have the power to make an impact and that what you have to say matters. Once you realize this, socializing will get easier little by little. You’ll have something to talk about and you’ll have the comfort of not being wrong or right. Pick any topic. It can be about music, fashion, food – if you can name it, you talk about it!

Whether it’s environmental justice, political activism or plain old love for an artist, you’ll find a sort of base for you to build your conversations on. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t know what to talk about and often skip out on the conversation itself out of fear. Join that club or spam that group chat and rave about what you’re passionate about.

Recognize the fine line

As I mentioned before, it is imperative that you understand the difference between putting up a façade and actually being an introverted extrovert. When you’re constantly trying to please other people, you’ll find yourself caught up with trying to maintain a persona that caters to your targeted audience. On the other hand, as an introverted extrovert, you’re being yourself but just need that time to recharge and get back on your feet.

Often people want to show their friends how outgoing they are in fear of being left out. Let me tell you, sis - if they know you for who you really are, they’ll either love you or you’ll find friends that do.

As once said by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We tend to get caught up with how people might react to our actions but forget that it’s our intent and outcome that matter most. You’ll either remember me if I made you laugh or made you cry, but not how or why.