The Social Introvert
Unlike the Ambivert, who lives happily between extroversion and introversion, and where one neither dominates, the extroverted introvert lives a happy introverted life, but is also social, naturally. It is not forced or contrived, so therefore the extro-intro is able to adapt to social situations effortlessly and enjoy time with others. This allows them to retreat happily to recharge afterwards, without the resentment or frustration that often comes along with socializing. In fact, if not for those necessary times away, friends of the extro-intro would swear they were 100% extrovert.
This oxymoron is all about connections, and substance is the key word here. Not big on small talk, the extro-intro seeks out a deeper connection with those around them. Unlike the extrovert who requires constant social activity to recharge, the extroverted introvert’s time around others is centered around intrigue and curiosity, enabling them to connect with a world outside their own. This also helps in a better understanding of themselves, as they confidently live in a world they are not running away from. Their moments of extroversion serves their introverted nature.
Being an extroverted introvert comes with many benefits, and here are some examples of what it means to live the extro-intro life.
Being a natural empath and an HSP, and with an undoubtedly strong need to connect, the extroverted introvert is unable to ignore the emotions of others. You naturally carry the emotions of others, and due to your extroverted traits, you seek to connect with those emotions outside of yourself. This equates to a great listening ear, a strong shoulder to cry on, comfort and advice. Your natural introverted tendencies allows you to apply your empathetic skills – compassion, sympathy and consideration, while your extroverted traits affords you the communication and friendliness needed for those sensitive moments.
Like the introvert, you have no desire for superficial friendships, or relationships. When you want social time, it has to be fun and entertaining (yes!), but at its core, it’s all about something more. It’s not enough to simply do what everyone else is doing, there has to be something deeper that pulls you in. Whether it’s catching up with friends or dating – it has to be of substance. And for the extroverted introvert, there is little need to stretch it out if there isn’t something more. Each outing comes with a new opportunity for exploration and understanding. Because the introverts inner world world is so rich, times outside this needs to be especially so. And for the extroverted introvert, anything that is not thoroughly engaging can be draining, and downright boring. Remember, the extro-intro is still an introvert at heart, so the need to connect with you inner most self is still at the forefront of your being. However, as a social introvert, the incentive to socialize is that you are able to bring back some essence of the outside world. In other words, socializing allows you to really sense and perceive the world.
Most introverts can often times be so aware of what is going on around them – sights and sounds – that it can be a tad overwhelming. Their high sensory perception is a hotbed of constant action (no rest!). This allows them to connect with things deeply and powerfully. For the extroverted introvert, this highly sensitive nature is especially so, in social situations. Emotions are heightened, empathy is splendidly attuned and you are aware of all that is going on around you. For the extro-intro this highly sensitive nature is so in tune with the feelings and emotions of others, it is seemingly clairvoyant. Like most introverts your big on ‘vibes’ and ‘sensing’, and because of the social component, you are extremely aware of change in another’s mood and of the emotions of those around you.
For most introverts, finding the right job that appeals to their introverted nature while connecting them to their passion can be a difficult task. Today’s work culture is very much extrovert-focused, and though things are changing, the provision for introverts still has a way to go. This constant uphill battle to find the perfect role leads to many introverts eventually being forced into roles unsuited for them. Mostly roles with a high social factor, requiring them to be ‘on’ constantly – square peg, round hole. However, for the extro-intro, the job hunt becomes a little easier, as you are able to take on roles with a somewhat higher social factor, all while remaining true to your introverted nature. Roles requiring networking and face-to-face interaction do not seem as daunting to the social introvert. They allow you to put to use your social skills, and can very much fulfill that passion and need to connect with others.
Extroverted introverts are big on meeting new people, and often seek out new opportunities to meet new people. Meet-ups, evening meet and greets and intimate gatherings sit right with you. Places where one can simply go along, meet new people, and leave without the pressure to carry on socializing. This sort of set up seems ‘safe’ for the extro-intro. There is no forced requirement to be friends or socialize constantly afterwards. You can get in, talk up a storm, have fun, and then leave to recharge.
This love of wanting to connect with new people also makes the extroverted introverted an innate traveler, who seeks to understand new cultures. This may explain why many social introverts enjoy the pursuit of learning new languages, as you seek new ways and forms to engage with others.
Being an introvert comes with a multitude of guilt ridden feelings. Feeling guilty for not being around, feeling guilty for appearing anti-social, and the biggie – feeling guilty for needing to recharge. The need to recharge is the holy grail for any introvert – social, or otherwise. Without this down time, an introvert’s wires will become frazzled; tempers shortened and mood negatively impacted. As a social introvert, the extroverted introvert knows that the enjoyment of any social time is dependent on how much they’ve recharged beforehand, and so they take this step very seriously. Sure there is always going to be some guilt surrounding getting away to do so, and others may never fully understand why you have to disappear once in a while, but to the social introvert, it’s a matter of priority. You make no excuses for slipping off to recharge your batteries, and do so, confidently.
A social introvert is assured in their introversion, and has had to wade many storms in order to get to this confident place. A place that allows you to be unapologetic in your introversion while enjoying extroverted benefits. Having reached a place of comfort in your own skin, and not feeling as though you have to apologize for your much needed introverted absences, you can socialize happily, as and when you wish. Yes, there is still the occasional guilt trip put upon you by others, but you deal with it on a case by case basis, which means you refuse to attribute any negative and damaging outside pressures to your internal dialogue.
A wonderful contradiction, the extroverted introvert is a confident type who celebrates their introverted existence, and is driven by their curiosity, and a want and need to discover and connect.
Understanding between extroverts and introverts is often strained. So much miscommunication! With extroverts often failing to ‘get’ introverts at all, and intros simply wishing to be understood, or left alone. However, for the extro-intro, this miscommunication is somewhat eased. Dipping your toes into social situations, more than the average introvert, gives you insight into how the other half live. The extroverted introvert understands what makes their extroverted counterparts tick, and though they may not ‘get’ it on occasion, this introvert can certainly appreciate the difference.
There’s nothing that grinds the introverts gears more than having to pretend they’re something they’re not. The constant pressure introverts suffer to comply with a world that seems to only reward extroverted behavior is something the introvert can do without. So it’s no secret then that being an introvert often requires some sort of mask, an extroverted front, in order to just get by. Doing this is often followed by negative consequences for the introvert, leading to low mood, anxiety, stress and complete burn out. For the extroverted introvert however, there is no faking it. They are able to fully enjoy the social experience taking full stock of where they are, without feeling pressured to give more than they can, all while comfortably interacting with those around them.
And the best part is, there is no inner turmoil from feeling dishonest or fake. It’s all about being true to yourself.
Featured photo credit: talks/farhad sadykov via flickr.com
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