How can you tell if you’re an extroverted introvert?
I’m a teacher, so I work with people all day long. The other day, I told a coworker that I’m an introvert. He looked at me in disbelief: “An introvert? Really? You’re not an introvert!”
When it comes to introversion, there’s a lot of confusion. The dictionary definition is partly to blame. Google defines introvert as follows: “a shy, reticent person.”
While there are introverts who are shy and standoffish, the majority of introverts are neither, as the author’s of Confident You point out. Nevertheless, years of false associations compound the problem. Most people assume they know what an introvert is, and then they look for evidence to support their false assumption.
The reality is that there are a variety of introverts – eight different kinds to be exact. And some of them prefer more people contact than others.
Back to the question: How can you tell what kind of introvert YOU are? I offer you 11 telltale signs.
1. You crave people time.
A sure sign that you’re an extroverted introvert is that you crave time with people. While you don’t need to see friends and family all the time, you can’t go too long without hanging out.
After a long week, I enjoy staying home on a Friday. Some weekends, I enjoy staying home Saturday and Sunday as well. Most of the time, however, when I fail to plan a small get together for the weekend, I end up feeling disappointed.
So, wanting to see people, I scramble to find someone who’s free for an impromptu get-together. The fact that I’m married to another introvert who needs less people time than I do only compounds this problem! I just can’t go too long without people contact.
2. You need to retreat to your cave, after being with people for a while.
As much as you do enjoy being with friends, family, and coworkers, by the end of the day, you can’t wait to hide away in your living room or bedroom. You run for cover and grab a book, your computer, or musical instrument, needing to be left alone for an hour (or four!) to recharge by yourself.
This is definitely true of me. After a day of teaching, I have to drag myself into my house. I’m an empty battery and a sagging balloon until I can catch up on my alone time.
3. You are able to connect with all kinds of folks.
For the most part, you enjoy talking to and working with all kinds of people. Not only do you enjoy it, you’re good at it! You know how to adapt your presentation to fit any conversation without shedding your identity.
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Social adaptability is a necessary skill in the helping professions. Anyone in a people-centric job who lacks people sense won’t make it long before she’s unemployed.
4. You enjoy helping others.
If your work revolves around meeting other people’s needs, chances are good you’re an extroverted introvert. You might be a teacher, a nurse, a hygienist, counselor, or some other kind of helper.
Personally, I’m an elementary teacher. I enjoy building relationships with students. I launched this website to get to meet and help introverts. At my core, I’m wired to solve people problems and help others. Are you?
5. You’d probably enjoy helping people from a distance.
Would you consider telecommuting to work all or part of the week? A lot of extroverted introverts would.
The book Do What You Are describes several introverts who’ve started private practices. They spend time with people during the week but also have time to themselves. These smart introverts enjoy the best of both worlds
Some extroverted introverts have built online businesses that enable them to help people from the comfort of their own homes. Jonathan Milligan, for instance, has a strong desire to influence people. So he helps others by sharing his knowledge through blog posts, podcasts, webinars, courses, and eBooks.
6. You disappear from time to time.
Do you ever seemingly “fall off the face of the earth”? Maybe you fail to return phone calls or answer texts. You become unreachable and friends and family start to worry about you until you finally reemerge alive and well.
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This happens to me. One day, I’ll engage in a flurry of messaging, calls, and activities. Then, the next, I’ll vanish for a week or two. The only people I talk to are my wife and son.
I find myself in these situations when I’ve had too much people contact. I need a vacation of sorts from social interactions in order for my batteries to recharge.
7. You periodically enjoy hanging out with a close group of friends.
If you’re an extroverted introvert, you need time with your friends. You don’t crave time with just anyone. Rather, you want to spend it with people who get you.
I’m enormously grateful for my high school, college, and post-college friend groups. During those stages of my life, I spent the majority of my social time with groups of three to six close pals. While I could – and did – connect at large gatherings, I longed for the times where I could be with the friends who knew, understood, and accepted me for who I am.
8. You need a sympathetic ear to help you work out your problems.
Is your mind ever a confusing ball of thoughts and emotions? One of the best ways for an extroverted introvert to untangle that ball is to spill his guts to someone he trusts. In fact, sometimes it’s the only way he can sort out his thoughts.
Extroverted introverts won’t share their innermost thoughts and feelings with just anyone, however. They reveal them only to people whom they trust deeply.
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I’ve probably shared more with my Dad and wife than I have anyone else. They have the same personality and both are extraordinarily trustworthy. Dad always said, “Your heart should be a graveyard: When someone entrusts you with personal information, keep it to yourself as though what you heard had died inside you.”
9. You’re a skilled people reader.
Do you read other people well? Do you have a “sixth sense” for figuring out what people are thinking and feeling? Can you see through their words and pinpoint their motivations? If you answered yes, you’re likely an extroverted introvert.
You may also enjoy people watching and guessing what’s going on in other people’s minds. I analyze many of my relationships and think about what motivates my friends, family, and coworkers. I do it without thinking. It’s who I am.
10. Small talk makes you cringe – even though you’re good at it.
While you may be good at holding a conversation with others, you prefer to talk about the deeper things of life. You want to hear people’s stories, problems, and triumphs. You want people to be transparent and authentic, so you try to be both to the best of your ability.
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Now, just because you dislike small talk doesn’t mean you can’t play along. It’s just that, deep down inside, when engaged in a conversation about sports or the weather, you’d much rather be talking about something more meaningful.
11. You can put on – and sometimes enjoy putting on – a show!
Do you like to make people laugh? Do you have a crazy side that you let out around close friends and in small groups? If you do, you’re probably an extroverted introvert.
One of my quieter, more formal introvert friends initially had a hard time believing I am an introvert. When I’m with him and a few other friends, I love to crack jokes and dance around the room in a ridiculous manner. I love the attention, but you’d never catch me acting that way with people I don’t know!
I guess I did one time. When I was starting my teaching career, I wrote a rap to get kids ready for the state scholastic assessment. Eight years later, our TV studio is still playing it for the entire school to watch. And every time they do, I feel as though I need to run and find a place to hide.