It is a common misconception I have come to realize throughout my life. Oh, I am outgoing, so I must be an extrovert. Well that’s where I was very wrong. I am an outgoing introvert, and there is a huge difference.
If you are an introvert, then you know exactly what I mean when I say that overstimulation exhausts me. Sometimes I want to just sit on the couch, and sometimes I want to be around other people, but only for so long until I get exhausted again. If you are an extrovert, maybe you will have a harder time understanding that, and that’s okay. I just want you to understand that I can’t keep up with your lifestyle of constantly needing to be around others, and I am not ashamed of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love being the life of the party, but there’s only so much I can take before I yearn for the sanctity that is my bed, and I am perfectly content going there.
Being an outgoing introvert gets extremely complicated. It is true that extroversion bores me. I find that extroverts are basic, and that most of our life is spent around others, whether it is work, school, or just going out for a night with friends at a crowded bar. That stuff gets old really quickly for me. Group projects? No thank you. Small talk with co-workers? OMG, no. Parties with more than 10 people? Holy anxiety, batman. But, since I am an outgoing person, I have spent my life adapting to work, school, and a small group of friends because if I didn’t try to put myself out there, I would spend all of my time sitting around watching TV, drinking wine, sleeping, and being alone, and I don’t like that either.
You might have heard someone like me say that they hate people. Well, that’s an extreme exaggeration but there is some truth to that. I actually LOVE people. I love the people that I have chosen to devote my time to. If you are in my life, you sure as hell better be grateful because I have decided that I want you there, and I will be good to you. I am proud of the way I treat those I love because I can genuinely say I want them in my life. I will be loyal to them and love them forever, because honestly, there aren’t many people I like, and I wouldn’t waste my time trying to get to know someone if I didn’t want to.
Being outgoing, but also having a need for alone time, has proved to be a struggle in most of my relationships. I have been accused of being a bitch for not wanting to talk to my significant other, being stand offish for not talking to everybody in the room, or sometimes even being too talkative, or flirty, because I will spend the whole time at a party talking to one guy if I am interested in the conversation. I have often found myself defending the way that I act, unable to actually explain it, and making extroverts feel as though I am not making an effort, or I simply do not care. Now, I am the first person to admit to my problems and try to work on them, so this is not always a fun thing to hear. I often apologize, or shut down because I don’t have the energy to explain myself and don’t know how to. Now that I am more accepting of my introverted ways and less insecure, I am able to explain unapologetically, so if you don’t accept it or understand it, then, honestly, you probably never will.
The truth is, I love dating an extrovert. I feel as though they complete me. They will talk to everyone that I don’t want to talk to, introduce me, and then just keep a conversation going so I don’t have to say a word. It’s AWESOME. But don’t expect me to sit there and contribute. I am just listening. Yes, I am laughing, making comments, and most likely enjoying the conversation (I wouldn’t stand there long if I wasn’t) but I am doing these things solely in my head. If you make me feel insecure about not being more friendly, I will shut down.
Being an outgoing introvert is both a blessing and a curse to me. If I want to be with an extrovert, there will undoubtedly be relationships I am in where I will have to be friends with someone I don’t like. They are the kinds of people who like everyone and want everyone to like them, even if the person, in my opinion, sucks. But if I am dating you, I already decided I love you, and therefore, I love your friends too. If they are important to you, then they are also important to me. If you can’t see that I am making an effort, or can’t at least understand how difficult these situations are for me to be in, then you probably will get frustrated with me and move on.
I know that being with an outgoing introvert is frustrating at times, but imagine how frustrating it is BEING one. I accept that it is who I am though, and I have learned to love it. It may take me a little while to warm up to people, but when I do, I have nothing but love for them. It is probably easy for me to be regarded as stand offish, bitchy, and flirty, but I could easily regard an extravert as over confident, pushy, and simple. I understand that no two people are the same, so if you want to make it work, you put in the extra effort. It might take longer to fully adjust, but in the end it’s worth it.