Have you ever been confused about whether you were an extrovert or introvert? You’re not shy, but you need to spend time alone? Turns out shyness has nothing to do with where you get your energy from. Here are 10 signs you might be an outgoing introvert.
For much of my life, I assumed I was an extrovert. Extroverts are often characterized as social, outgoing, people-oriented and enthusiastic. I assumed that because I wasn’t shy or afraid to be myself around others, I must be an extrovert.
I loved acting and didn’t particularly get stage fright. I had no problem shooting my hand up in class to give my answer or opinion. When I was around close friends, I enjoyed their attention.
But the older I got, the more conflicted I felt about my identity. When I walk into a room of strangers, it’s not with the confidence I associate with extroverts. Instead, I feel overwhelmed, my heart starts pounding, and I usually try to find a corner where I can observe. There’s usually a sense of guilt that I’m not “socializing,” but talking to strangers feels daunting and exhausting.
Networking events were definitely NOT my jam
As I went to more “networking events” in college, I felt completely out of my depth. The whole experience left my head spinning. My body shook, I sweat nervously and struggled to make eye contact in a sea of “important” strangers. It felt like I was dropped in a tank of sharks at feeding time and I was either going to be destroyed or left starving.
Needless to say, I avoid these types of networking events like the plague.
I couldn’t figure it out…
The more I experienced these jarring events, the more I became reflective of what I was really like growing up. Rather than go to weekend parties in the woods, I much preferred to stay home and read, do a craft or draw in my sketchbook. When I did go out, I was usually overwhelmed or just bored. There were no interesting conversations, it just wasn’t my scene. I enjoyed time with my friends but felt overwhelmed and drained after more than a couple hours. I could never understand their desire to spend every day together when I cherished my time alone.
In college, it was the same. I was even closer with my friends and while I loved living together, I was amazed by the amount of time everyone else spent with each other. I needed my solace. I felt the same overwhelm from a big house party, that I did at a networking event. Who are all these people and what are we even supposed to do here? Was I doing college wrong? Did I need to go out more?
So what was I anyway?
So what about my acting? What about my desire to be the leader in a small group? Was I an extrovert or not. Ok, this might sound silly, but I always enjoyed being a “Leo.” Proud, commanding, attention loving. Sometimes it rang true but sometimes it was way off the mark.
Then suddenly a light bulb moment
That’s when I discovered a life-changing article. It wasn’t beautifully written or epic in content, but it simply introduced me to the idea of the Outgoing Introvert. And boom, I understood what had confused me for so long.
I had it all wrong
A common misconception is that introversion means shy and extroversion means outgoing. This can be the case sometimes, but it’s not what the terms actually mean.
The real difference between introversion and extroversion:
Extroverts are people who gain energy in social situations and feel recharged being around other people
Introverts are people who gain their energy by being alone and can be drained by spending too much time around people, especially large crowds
Because this information was so beneficial and helped me know myself so much better, I wanted to share common traits of outgoing introverts. My hope is, if you are an outgoing introvert you can identify and hopefully get to know yourself better too.
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Signs You Might be an Outgoing Introvert
Not all introverts are shy just like not all extroverts are outgoing. I’ve compiled a list of common outgoing introvert traits. Sound familiar?
1. You’re an Old Soul
I’m sure there’s been a point in your life where you seriously wondered if you were secretly a 45-year-old woman, transplanted into a 20-something’s body. All the “crazy memories” that your peers are making give you literally zero FOMO. Personally, I had a “rebel phase” that lasted all of 6 months in high school. After that, I was perfectly content to enjoy the drama club and self-care Sunday sessions without a hint of regret.
2. You Like to Leave (way) Before the Party’s Over
Being an introvert doesn’t mean all parties are evil, especially when you’re around your close friends. However, 9 times out of ten… or really 99 times out of 100 you won’t be the last man standing. In fact, you’ve actually turned leaving a party early, into an art form. You do the “big move” where you make a good joke, bust a move, or something that helps everyone realize you were there. Then, as soon as you’re not feeling it, you say bye to maybe 2 people and you’re out.
3. You love People… in doses
A common misconception about introverts is that they don’t like people. Umm not at all. We love people, it’s just they make us exhausted. Long deep conversations especially light us up. But yeah, maybe don’t throw us in the middle of a huge concert surrounded by strangers unless we’ve mentally prepared.
4. If you’re going to do big crowds, you just have to warm up first
Being an outgoing introvert doesn’t mean you can’t do crowds. It just means you need a game plan. For example, when I get off the bus at Port Authority in New York and walk out into midtown I feel instantly overwhelmed and anxious. However, if I’m staying in a city for a week or a month, I can slowly adapt to the huge amounts of new people I see and interact with daily. The key is knowing yourself and knowing your limits.
5. People are surprised you’re an introvert because you’re not shy
Often when I have the “introvert” conversation with someone they’re confused when I say that I am one. When you’re outgoing many people confuse it for extroversion… including yourself at one point I’m sure. It’s probably a good sign for that friendship because it means you’re at least comfortable enough to be perceived as outgoing
6. You hate picking up the phone
Maybe it’s because we don’t mind long pauses in our in-person conversations, or maybe it’s the fact that there’s not an easy way to end a phone conversation, but whatever it is, I’ve found most introverts hate talking on the phone. I’ve had the aversion since I was little. Even if it’s my best friend, I feel so painfully awkward when we chat on the phone, while our normal conversations are rich and deep.
[Tweet “Not a fan of small talk? Does the phone give you anxiety… same”]
7. Small talk is draining but deep conversations bring you life
Not all conversations are equal, especially when it comes to how much energy they give or take from you. Small talk with a stranger can be really tough. It’s hard to know what to say or get to a topic that feels meaningful. However, not all conversations wear you out. Talking about big ideas can be invigorating with someone who loves these kinds of chats.
8. You’d rather have 2 or 3 best friends than a large social group
Having a big friend group always seemed like a nice idea in theory, but in real life you’ve always gravitated towards a couple super close friends at a time. While extroverts thrive and gain energy from bigger social groups, you love the intimacy, and let’s be honest, reduced expectations, of one or two special people in your life.
9. You enjoy being the center of attention…. but only in specific situations
Outgoing introverts don’t hate all attention. In fact, you secretly love getting attention for things you really care about. Whether that’s extra praise for a project you slaved over or kudos from someone you admire, getting attention isn’t all bad.
10. You secretly love when people cancel plans
Nothing brings more stress relief than a canceled plan. While you are an expert at getting out of plans that aren’t going to work for you, when the other person makes the move, it’s instant relief. Nothing beats free time opening up.
[Tweet “I’m totally an outgoing introvert. 10 signs you might be one too”]
- I’d love to know, what are you? Introvert or extrovert?