A Mixed-Breed: The Extro-Introvert

A common topic I kept running into this past week during interviews, quizzes, or in conversation, is the idea of identifying as an extrovert or an introvert. I hate that question. Why? Because I’m not either, I’m both! But that’s not an answer on these quizzes, and people look at you funny when you tell them that. This question needs to be ditched.

If you’re wondering why this topic drives me nuts, it’s because both terms have negative connotations with them. There’s nothing wrong with being loud, out-going and being a people-person. But if I say I’m extroverted, I don’t want people thinking I’m cocky or always the center of attention. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with being quiet/ a little shy and being reserved. When I say I’m introverted, I don’t want people assuming I sit in my room all night whining about how much I hate people. That’s not me.

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When it comes down to answering the question (one OR the other), my answer is that I’m more introverted. The thing is though, I do have out-going qualities!

I’m going to fill you in on how I work.

1. I can be (and have been) the life of the party. I love to make people laugh and smile. I’m excellent at it! It comes naturally to me; I don’t have to try to be funny and make people; it happens!

2. I can befriend someone no matter where I am, even in a grocery store. I am genuinely interested in people. I like to hear people’s stories, know where they come from and hear what their hopes and dreams are. Or, if something embarrassing/ funny happens and I’m there to witness it, I’m that person that will tell you, “Don’t feel bad, that happens to me all the time!” Trust me, I’ve been the cause of “clean up on isle six” one too many times! (Those glass jars of tomato sauce are so slippery!)

3. Crowed places are fun/ I like going out! The more the merrier, right?! Plus, you never know who you’re going to run into! It’s great running into old faces or meeting your next potential lover! My friends and I are bound to have an awesome time!

4. I’ll volunteer to do something out of my comfort zone. Sometimes when in groups or by yourself, someone has to do something that involves getting out of your comfort zone. If I’m in a group and no one will step up, I’ll volunteer. Even if it’s for fun and will make a complete fool out of myself, I’ll do it! I crack myself up all the time, this is nothing!

I sound out-going so far, right? Yes, I can be. However, there’s another side to me. I can’t be one without the other.

5. I like to observe. If I’m not talking when I’m with people, don’t take it personally. I observe everything. I love taking in my surroundings. I will notice the way someone decorates their house, if you recently waxed your eyebrows, the way books are arranged on a shelf, the fly on the wall, every face I pass while shopping, what kind of birds are outside, etc. I notice it all. I can’t help it, but it’s okay because I’m enjoying myself.

6. Some days, I just don’t feel like talking. It does not mean that I’m upset! Repeat, it does not mean that I’m upset! I talk all the time, but sometimes I just want to listen. Or, I really have don’t have an opinion at the moment, I’m thinking about something, or I’m simply enjoying the moment. If you just vented to me about something very serious and I’m not saying a word, it’s because I feel for you. I’m very empathetic and I’m trying to figure out what the right thing is to say.

7. My brain is a never-ending carousel of thoughts. On top of being observant and not feeling like talking, another thing about me is that my mind is busy 24/7. From the moment I wake up until the time I fall asleep, I’m critically thinking about something. I get lost in my thoughts, but it’s okay. Sometimes I don’t want to be found! If I recently finished a book, it’s normal for me to spend two or three days reliving the plot and all the emotions that came with it. Or, if something I feel very passionate about is brought up in the real world, I won’t be able to get it off my mind. These thoughts and feelings will even seep into my dreams at night. It’s incredible! Also, I naturally look at things in a different perspective than most people. I like to explore why I think the way I do and feel the emotions that go with it!

8. I sometimes cancel plans with my friends. I love my friends, I really do! However, there are days where I rather spend time with my family than go out with a bunch of people and get drunk at the bar. My family means everything to me, and the time we have together is so precious; I cherish every second of it.

9. I need time to re-energize after spending hours with friends. Again, I love being with people! I love my friends! However, if I can’t get “me time,” my body shuts down. Being with a large group of people is great, meeting new people is great, and I love to have a good time; but I need time to unwind! I can get cranky if I don’t have enough me time at the end of the day!

10. Time by myself is time well spent; I LOVE it! When I’m by myself, I am not stuck in front of the TV avoiding people like it’s my job. When I’m by myself, I use 98% of that time trying to improve myself. I will find new recipes to try, sit at my piano and teach myself a song by ear, or watch YouTube trying to learn different painting techniques. I like to spend time doing research on places I think I’d like to live one day. I like blogging. I love getting lost in great literature. I love challenging myself by reading things I’d never pick up in the bookstore. I like reading books and watching documentaries that teach me new things. And most importantly, I love anything that gives me a new perspective on life. The other 2% of my personal time is spent watching Disney movies because I still enjoy them!

I know I’m not the only one out there that is an extrovert and an introvert. So why are we limited in letting one description determine who we are?

-T

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