I just read Lifehack’s 19 Real Life Examples of An Extroverted Introvert So You Don’t Get Confused. It’s an interesting topic. I never thought of myself as an introvert until more recent years. I’ve always enjoyed conversation and people. And then, I have this memory of being with my mother, and how someone was noting how I wasn’t talking – we were at the grocery store, I didn’t know them – and they kept saying “aww, she’s shy” type things. I was awfully uncomfortable. I thought about the discomfort I have had in conversing with others about frivolous things. I used to just listen, because it was expected of me. I realized how very much I pushed myself to appear more extroverted than I was. I mean, who likes having attention called to them because they’re “a wallflower”? In school, I pretty much always knew the answer, but I never wanted to raise my hand or be called on. I loved singing, but trying out for a part? Nope. Extroverted traits were like coats I put on to deal with the world, and it’s big, loud, demanding parts. The more I look back over time, the more I realize how uncomfortable I was in those coats.
I related to quite a few of the 19 things – but I think a lot of it is like I mentioned in my last post about creative thinking. Us sensitive and creative folk can understand both ends of a spectrum and everything in between. If we have to borrow from another point to make it through a situation, we are capable of it. It might be entirely exhausting for us, however.
I’ve read before that extroverts tend to gain their energy from others, and introverts gain energy from being alone. I know that I can gain energy from the right people, and others just drain it from me. I have actually shouted, “Expecto Patronum!” in real life situations, because I felt like the people I was with were sucking the soul out of me.
We (referring to HSPs, introverts, and the like) tend to live in a very deep place. It takes quiet and time to process. Working with other people can be difficult, exhausting, and threatening to our well being. I have theories about how this contributes to things such as fibromyalgia. We get out of balance easily because this society, for a long time, has valued extroversion over introversion.
Sometimes, we have to be extroverted in the workplace to do a certain job well. I find that I’m only ever able to do this if I can reach into the deepness of my inner world and apply it to the job. Like when I worked retail, I found I could enjoy the part where I was actually helping people solve a problem. It was meaningful.
I think there are cautions too, about borrowing those extroverted traits for certain scenarios, because we’re not being authentic. I borrowed traits of extroversion to communicate with my family in certain ways when I was younger. It became exhausting and detrimental. It wasn’t me, but I held onto it as a sort of coat of armor, until I could let it down.
I think realizing that I am farther along the introversion side of things has helped me understand myself a little better. The extroverts kind of grab the attention easier, so it’s taken us a while to say, “Hey, other introvert, me too!”.
Where do you fall on the spectrum? How does it affect your life?