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9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert

9 Signs That You Are Actually A Shy Extrovert

I first took a personality test in junior high.  The results reminded me of Tris’s aptitude test in Divergent. I was exactly on the line, between “introvert” and “extrovert.” And my life experiences reflected this.

I loved being in groups of people and sought acceptance, but I did not like talking or being the center of attention. I was very introspective, but I liked to share my thoughts with other people.

Thankfully, as more research has been done on personality, we are realizing that there are more types than just “introvert” and “extrovert.”  Over time, I would realize that I am a shy extrovert.

Is it possible that you are a shy extrovert as well?  Here are some situations you may encounter, if you belong in this camp:

1.  We are at the party, but we aren’t the life of the party.

Shy extroverts love being in social situations, but we do not feel the need to dominate the conversation.  We may not speak up at the party, because we do not think that our jokes are interesting and because we do not always enjoy talking about ourselves. We also enjoy observing those around us, and we may become expert “people watchers.”

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One way that I have learned to capitalize on this ‘quirk’ is to use my interest in observing those around me as a way to connect with them. Most people do love talking about themselves, and shy extroverts often feel more comfortable when there is less of a ‘threat’ of being judged. So I ask people open-ended questions. When they tell a funny story, I ask them questions about it.  Inquisitiveness is a secret superpower that shy extroverts can hone, and it can provide us with a strong social advantage.

2.  We tend to be great listeners.

Because we are interested in those around us, shy extroverts tend to be good listeners. We are often able to devote a great deal of time listening to those around us, without seeming like we would rather be somewhere else. We are also able to listen deeply to the speaker, rather than just thinking about our next words.

I have found that my ability to listen to those around me (especially as I have learned to ask questions) has helped me to connect with a greater variety of people. I have developed friendships with people from many different walks of life, and I hear all about the ‘drama’ that my friends are experiencing, without being dragged into it.

3.  We are very good at keeping secrets.

Shy extroverts sincerely love listening to other people, and we do not feel the need to become the center of attention. That means that we know everybody’s secrets, but we have no desire to share them in a gossip session.

I have heard juicy, deep secrets from my friends, my acquaintances, and even total strangers in the grocery store line! And I can say that I honestly have no need to divulge these secrets, because I know that the situation is about the person who shared it, not about me. I have no desire to make someone else’s drama my own.

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4.  We love big, loud parties.

Large, but quieter gatherings make us nervous. We do not want to be put on the spot, when we would rather observe those around us and just be a part of things. We are uncomfortable when we are caught between two conversations at the dinner table, or when someone asks us to share something from our personal lives.

What we really prefer is a loud, fun gathering with lots of music and dancing. We can join the crowd on the dance floor, or we can sit down and take in the sights and sounds around us. We love to watch, and we love to be a part of it all, without having to talk.

5.  We don’t need conversation to be constant.

While most extroverts are not comfortable with pauses in the conversation, shy extroverts do not mind them at all. In fact, we welcome the break, where we can take a moment to process and collect our thoughts.

I have noticed that I become exhausted conversing with people who never pause, and that I also become frustrated when someone tries to answer a question for me. As a shy extrovert, I need that processing break. The wheels are turning, and my answer will be well thought-out, because it is not instantaneous.

6.  We tend to have long conversations.

Due to our introspective nature, shy extroverts like to take time to process things. We like to examine everything from every angle and to consider all the possibilities of a situation. And, because we are extroverts, we prefer to do this with someone else there, to bounce ideas off.

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I learned early on, that I loved to write in my journal, but that I also liked someone else to read it, so that they could give their input. It wasn’t that I was seeking approval from the other person; I was wanting a third party to see my ideas and to share their thoughts on them. I still tend to write long e-mails to friends, when I am trying to sort out a situation.

7.  We love meeting up with old friends.

When we haven’t seen a friend in a long time, it can be very exciting for shy extroverts to hear all about that friend’s adventures and learning. We love to watch how people grow and see how everyone matures and changes after a long absence. Add to it the fact that the meet-up is often a one-on-one conversation, and this becomes a perfect scenario for a shy extrovert.

I have found that I am much more comfortable meeting up with one friend at a time, and I do prefer the meet-ups to be somewhat spread out. I love to take a couple hours in the evening to catch up with an old friend over coffee, or to enjoy a short picnic with a visiting friend from my home town.  Hearing other people’s stories has always made me happy, and the stories do become more interesting after a time of absence.

8.  We hate public speaking.

While many extroverts love talking in front of crowds, shy extroverts can’t stand it. Public speaking is everything we dislike. We are the center of attention, we are not able to observe those around us, and we are set up in a position where we may be judged.

I have noticed that I stumble over my words much more when I am speaking to a crowd of more than three people. The lack of immediate response that you receive from public speaking also makes me nervous. If I am not confident, I always assume the worst. I would much rather converse one-on-one, or share my thoughts in writing.

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9.  We need some (but not too much!) time to recharge.

Like introverts, shy extroverts may become overwhelmed in large social gatherings and need some time to recharge. We might stay home for an evening, thinking that we will love spending a great deal of time alone. However, after a few hours, we become restless and start craving human contact.

I have definitely found this to be true in my life. I need my alone time, but then I also need to be hanging out with everyone else, even if I am just observing and asking them questions about their lives.

In the end, the existence of shy extroverts only proves that all of humanity cannot be divided into just two categories. We need to understand (and embrace) the fact that our personalities are much more complex than that. All of our quirks are more than “okay,” and it is really time for all of us to embrace the one-of-a-kind person that we really are!

Featured photo credit: Flicker via flickr.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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