So, you just found out you’re an introvert. Now you have a new way of understanding yourself and how you relate to the world. You can’t get enough of your new identity, so you’re reading every listicle and blog post about introverts that graces your Facebook news feed. Some articles describe you with frightening accuracy: You like spending time alone, you prefer calm environments, you often think deeply and reflect, and you’d rather text than call.
Yet, other articles don’t resonate with you at all: You don’t sit home alone every weekend watching Netflix in your pajamas and you actually enjoy the occasional party. You start to wonder, am I really an introvert?
Bottom line: If you need downtime after socializing, you probably are an introvert. What you actually are is an outgoing introvert.
Introversion and extroversion are not black and white. Think of a continuum with introversion on one end and extroversion on the other. Some people fall closer to the introverted end, while others are near the middle. There’s actually a word for these middle-of-the-road people: ambiverts. An ambivert is someone who displays characteristics of both introversion and extroversion.
Are you an outgoing introvert (or an ambivert)? Here are 10 signs that you might be:
1. Your Energy Level Is Closely Tied to Your Environment
You’re sensitive to how your surroundings look, what kind of music is being played, how many people are present, and the volume level of the room. The ambiance of a bar or restaurant can either energize or drain you, depending on if the place fits your preferences. Likewise, a loud rock concert in a crowded stadium might be overwhelming, but an up-close-and-personal acoustic set at your favorite local music club relaxes you.
2. You Find People to Be Both Intriguing and Exhausting
People watching? Yes. Meeting new people and hearing their life stories? Fascinating. Spending every weeknight hanging out with a different group of friends? Not a chance—as much as you enjoy people, you can only endure so much socializing before you need downtime. After a busy weekend or a long day at work, you feel the need to disappear and recharge by being alone or with just one other person (a best friend, a trusted roommate or your significant other).
3. Certain People and Interactions Drain You While Others Actually Recharge You
You have a few friends who you could hang out with for practically forever. It seems like you never run out of things to talk about and being with them is just easy. You actually feel better after spending time with them, not drained. Other people eventually tire or bore you and you need to get away. Being alone is better than settling for second-rate company.
4. You Can Be Charming, But Also Deeply Introspective and Reflective
You make small talk when it’s expected of you because you know it can lead to deeper, more authentic conversation. People feel comfortable around you, and you easily get others talking and opening up about themselves. When you’re out on a Saturday night, you make sure your friends have a good time. However, most people don’t realize how “in your head” you really are. Although you appear easy-going and chatty, inside, your mind is always going.
5. When You Feel Rested and Recharged, You Reach Out to Others
Often you’re the one who gets all your friends together on the weekend. Or maybe you organize the weekly after-work happy hour or throw parties at your house. Playing the host allows you to socialize on your own terms. You get to set the parameters, like what time the event starts, where it will happen and who is invited. But when you’re feeling drained, like a true introvert, you go silent and hibernate at home. This is when the Netflix and pajamas thing makes sense.
6. You Need Time to Warm Up in Social Situations
But once you feel comfortable with someone, you have no trouble chatting. Likewise, you won’t spill your entire life story to someone within the first half hour of meeting them, but you will reveal personal details when trust is built up. The more someone gets to know you, the more your quirky personality (and your cherished inner world—the part of you that feels most authentic) comes out.
7. It Actually Takes Less Energy to Say What’s on Your Mind Than to Make Small Talk
Introverts like talking about ideas or connecting authentically. Fake small talk bores you and drains your life force.
8. You’re Selectively Social
It’s hard to find people you click with, so you only have a few close friends. But you’re OK with that. You’d rather make your limited “people” energy count by investing it into relationships that are truly fulfilling.
9. You Have No Interest in Trying to Prove Yourself in a Crowd of Strangers
“Working the room” isn’t your thing. Nor do you feel the need to draw a lot of attention to yourself. You’re content hanging out at the edges of the party, talking to just one or two people.
10. You’re Often Confused for an Extrovert
Your friends and family don’t buy that you’re an introvert because you’re just so social. In fact, it may have taken a while for you to realize you’re an introvert because you play the extrovert so well. Now you find yourself constantly having to explain your introversion and how you get your energy, but people still don’t get it.
Keep in mind there’s no wrong way to do introversion. It’s all about understanding your needs and honoring your own style—even if that means being the life of the party one night then binge watching Netflix alone the next night.
Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com, one of the largest communities for introverts on the web. Jenn is an introvert, a highly sensitive person, and an INFJ personality type. She started Introvert, Dear to help other introverts not feel so alone or weird. She wants introverts to know that it’s okay to be who they are.
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