I’m an extroverted introvert—here’s what I wish people knew

Everyone has at least one friend that is always unreachable—that one bestie who never shows up to social gatherings and absolutely NEVER answers their phone. But they’re still your pal, and you still hang out. It’s just that it’s usually one on one.

If you can think of someone like this, it’s possible that you are friends with an extroverted introvert (or maybe it’s an introverted extrovert?). How can I tell? I’m one of them.  We constantly make plans to go out with friends and then never show up. It’s not that we don’t want to hang out with you; it’s actually quite the opposite. As an extrovert, we LOVE going out and socializing! However, as an introvert as well, we have to fight the desire to spend a nice quiet evening alone.

This is the curse of the extroverted introvert. We’re hard to understand and even harder to be friends with, but here a few things we would tell you if we ever did answer your call.

I’m not ignoring you (I promise!)

I don’t screen my phone for your number, and I don’t intentionally blow off your texts. It’s just that invitations sometimes fill me with social dread, even if I like that person a whole lot. Half of the time I choose not to even look at my phone, because that may (gasp!) lead to someone inviting me to something I can’t easily make an excuse for. It’s much easier to stop the conversation before the invite even happens.

It’s not that I’m flaky, it’s that I’m anxious

Last week when I said we would love to come to your party, I really did mean it! In fact, at the time I probably had every intention of going. It’s typically not until the night of the event that I decide I can’t possibly bear leaving the house.

I’m not always lying about why I can’t hang out.

I’ll admit, after working on my excuses for 20+ years, most of them are pretty solid.  Once the night of the event rolls around, I will basically come up with any excuse I can think of to not go to whatever it is. “I don’t have any clean clothes. My head hurts. I have to work early in the morning. I don’t have any money. Netflix just got some really awesome new stuff. I think my cat’s sick, so I should stay home and watch him.” Now, to be fair, one or all of these things is probably true, so it’s not that I’m are really lying to you. It’s just that our brains make these things way more of an issue than they really are, and that makes it super difficult to push past them and actually go out.

If you do manage to get me out, I usually have an awesome time

The extroverted half of me really loves going out, but the introverted half of me usually shuts it down before we get a chance to have fun. If I’m are able to somehow win the battle, I do have a lot of fun! It’s just getting me to that party that is the biggest struggle.

The best way to get me to go out is to start slow

My tendency to avoid social interaction hasn’t made me really happy though, and sometimes it can feel downright lonely. If you feel like me, I think there’s still hope! As with most things, living inside our heads can be our biggest challenge. BUT that can also be really great news, because it means we are totally in control of the problem. To others it may seem really easy to just decide to go out, but for us, it’s not easy, and that’s the problem.

Just start small. Your first outing probably shouldn’t be to the most crowded club in the city on a Saturday night. Instead, ask a friend to go for coffee. Pick a place you go often-somewhere you feel comfortable. Try to eliminate other common excuses by making sure it’s somewhere close to your house and not too expensive. If this is successful, maybe commit to one activity a week. Make sure to be honest with yourself. Do you really want to see that movie, or are you just going because someone asked you to go? Make sure it’s not the latter, or you’ll likely end up right back where you started.

It’s not about eliminating the introverted part of our personality; it’s just about making sure the extroverted side also wins every once in a while. There’s no reason you can’t binge watch Netflix during the week, and maybe go out with friends on the weekends. A little better balance will keep both sides happy.

Stephanie Ashe lives in Orlando and spends her time pampering her cats, theme park hopping, and baking way more cookies than she needs. Read more of her thoughts on her blog.

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