The Tales and Trials of Being an Introverted Extrovert

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to define myself as either an introvert or an extrovert. It’s a lot to process and think through. I have the loudest laugh in the room, but I’m not the one cracking the jokes. I have a group of friends, but this group includes about four people. I don’t have an issue texting first, but I probably won’t respond to you for about four days because I just want to play Candy Crush. I sit in the back of the class but I’ll raise my hand in class for the majority of the questions. One day I’ll go on a social media rampage and post statuses everywhere, but then I’ll go radio silent for about a week afterwards.

People always think I’m the one that wants to talk in class for the group and order the pizza on the phone, but honestly, the mere thought of it makes me want to vomit. I’m endlessly confused by my own personality; am I happy to be in a crowd of people or do I really want to be buried under my blankets and pillows?

After an extreme amount of deliberation, I have come to a simple conclusion. I am not an introvert or an extrovert, I am simply a little bit of both. I am introverted extrovert.

An introverted extrovert. Seems like quite the contradiction, doesn’t it? Many people will tell you that you are either one or the other—and then they will proceed to tell you which one they think you are. And in some sense, they are right; you can be one or the other, but only in certain situations. If you are reading a book on a Saturday night or having a Netflix-binge by yourself, in that situation, you’re an introvert.

However, if you get a text that same Saturday night to go out and you find yourself curling your hair an hour later, you’re now an extrovert. That friend probably didn’t assume you were on the couch a little while ago, because they are now witnessing you dancing to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. So, depending upon the situation, you could go from being an introvert to an extrovert.

There have been times where I have an experience like the one I just described; my personality tends to adapt to wherever I may be. I like to retreat into myself sometimes, but other times I hate to be alone and enjoy being surrounded by people. I don’t like being lonely, but I’m not afraid of being alone.

Being an introverted extrovert doesn’t mean being quiet and shy, it means only being awkward in quiet and shy in certain situations. For instance, there have been times when I will find myself in a situation—in a large crowd of acquaintances, let’s say—and I will be the girl who occasionally speaks up. It’s moments like that where I will regret leaving my bed and my latest book, even though I know I am capable of having fun in a large crowd. There have also been times when I will plan a night to myself; Netflix, popcorn, my bed, the whole nine yards. While laying in bed and doing nothing for a night can be nice, I’ll sometimes find myself wanting to be out with friends and not lying around. I will find myself being introverted in a moment where I shouldn’t be and vice versa.

There is a name for this phenomena, and it is “ambivert.” The word is defined as someone who doesn’t fit into either the extrovert or introvert category. Many people may find themselves falling into this middle-ground category, such as myself, but it is not a popular term. It does not seem like the term is popular though, because many people try to identify themselves as either one. Many people are obsessed with the idea of being one or the other, but who said you can’t be a little bit of both?

I questioned this for a long time, the idea of maybe being both. While I eventually came to the conclusion that I’m more of an extrovert, I’m okay with being introverted at times, too. I’ll always love being with my friends, having a good time, but I do enjoy a quiet Sunday with coffee, a good book, and myself. There’s nothing wrong with being in the middle-ground, in the grey area, or in the in-between. In this case, there’s nothing wrong with being an introverted extrovert.

What it's like to be an extroverted introvert -

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