Despite popular belief, being introverted or extroverted is not as straight a dichotomy as one would assume. In the middle of the divide is us fence-sitting cats. You know, the ones that desperately seek approval one minute but feel like they will die at the slightest bit of attention the next; who want to have a nice safety cushion of people around them one minute, but beg you to go away and give a little space the next. Allow me to introduce ourselves. We’re the extroverted introverts and we apologize in advance for being finnicky. I know what you’re thinking, why not introverted extroverts, and I’m not quite too sure. Alphabetical order, I guess.
Right from the get go, what this means for us most prominently is erratic social patterns. Everyone needs their space every once in a while, but for extroverted introverts, sometimes that need can appear rather sudden. It can also be difficult for others to understand, particularly when you politely refuse their invitation to come out. Please know this has nothing, and weirdly at the same time everything, to do with you. But make no mistake, the immediacy is a sign of necessity. So let us curl up in a ball of sweatpants and/or shirts, zone out with a marathon run of Bewitched to remind ourselves of a simpler time we were not even around to experience, and we’ll see you next Monday at ultimate Frisbee training for the inter-workplace social league.
The duality is actually kind of cool. It’s sort of like a Hannah-Montana-best-of-both-worlds type of deal, only not depressing after a few years and a few more, shall we say, less than savoury career moments. On a more fantastical comparison unburdened with a sad reality, it’s like having a Clark Kent and a Superman up your proverbial sleeve. And unsurprisingly, people are often thrown off when you unleash your inner freak on occasions that may or may not be of the chemical nature. You know, the type that comes in the form of an aluminium bag clipped to a spinning clothesline.
In a similar vein, we’re totally down to meet new people, just give us a heads up beforehand, or else we’ll replay the moments we thought we dun goofed due to a lack of preparedness over and over again for weeks to come, and every now and then every few months thereafter.
Though sometimes it appears as though it’s a choice, loneliness hits us like a freaking freight train. It’s not a choice, it’s a requirement to function. After a while of plastering polite smiles because you don’t know how to respond to all the faces and questions, something you earn a PhD in as an extroverted introvert, you get worn out and need to recharge before it gets too claustrophobic, or too weary on the mind.
And finally, leaning more towards the introvert in the mix, we are extremely selective about the company we keep. Sure, we can sustain a conversation with anyone we’re thrown into a situation with, but those we stick by, we deem absolutely necessary. For those days where having to talk to anyone is a feat of tremendous effort and we’d rather not, just appreciate how much you can mean to us.
by Garry Lu