Being an introverted extrovert

pink peonie

Some people think you’re either an introvert or an extrovert, but actually, I think I might be both. Over the last few years, I’ve really struggled with thinking that I’m just not a people person. If you met me at a blogger event, at work or at a social event, you’d think I was the chattiest person in the world, but what you don’t see is that need to go home and recover. Recover sounds pretty dramatic doesn’t it? But that’s honestly what it’s like for me. If I have a few weeks where I’m at work Monday – Friday and have packed weekends, I begin to feel a bit suffocated and an overwhelming desire to be by myself. It’s the need for headspace that I start to crave.

I thought this was just me. But a chance conversation with a good friend revealed that she was the same. We discussed how we struggled with the need to have space after spending extended periods of time with other people. I think it’s something that is further exaggerated by living alone as you become so accustomed to having a lot of personal space and you learn quickly how not to be lonely so spending periods of time in the company of others suddenly becomes a claustrophobic experience.

Since having that initial conversation and seeing the same friend again a few months later, I’ve learned from her that it’s not necessarily having an issue with being with others, it’s finding the people where you feel comfortable enough to ‘recover’ in their presence – something she’s learned that she can do with her boyfriend. And that makes one hell of a lot of sense to me.

Being an introverted extrovert can give me the best of both worlds. Being able to walk into a room where you know nobody and network is definitely handy, as is being able to go to the pub after work and make conversation without a struggle with those you don’t know all that well. It also means having an independent streak so strong it may as well be tattooed across my forehead as my determination to experience everything is very much unstoppable.

But I can also sit in my flat and entertain myself (anyone who sniggered at that one needs to escort themselves into a cold shower), without the need for company. It means that I can lose hours to books, to quiet spaces and to marginally unrealistic life planning within my own mind.

I think for me, it’s a case of finding those people who I feel comfortable enough with to be introverted around. To not feel the need to make insightful conversations, to entertain or to make them laugh. The people who understand that my need to recover from being excessively sociable is almost like a social hangover.

So tell me, are you an introvert, an extrovert or a bit of both? Let me know in the comments.

1 comment

  1. I definitely get this. I don;t think I am this, as I am definitely an introvert. However, with not having a social full time job and being home with a toddler, I do crave adult convo and can become chatty when given the chance with people. However, like you, I do like (if it's possible with a toddler) but having me time, to listen to the silence. This is why my 5am starts are working well for me.
    At the same time, I know with you and maybe some others, that silences around each other isn;t always a bad/awkward thing. :)