Extroverted Introvert

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  This question feels like it is the be all and end all of social interaction.  Everyone must fit into those two very distinct boxes.  There is no room for different.  I have proudly proclaimed that I am an introvert.  Am I really though?  Or is it possible to be an extroverted introvert?  extroverted introvertMy feelings about social interaction are complicated.  An increase in anxiety, which has seeped into the way that I interact with the world means that I am very firmly in the introvert camp at the moment.  I do feel at times though that maybe it is a forced label, that I am being held in the camp against my will.

When I am spending time with other people I enjoy it.  I really do.  I generally don’t spend my time counting down the moments until I can be alone again.  If anything I often dread them leaving or our time together coming to an end.  That doesn’t sound very much like an introvert does it?  Does this mean that maybe, just maybe I could be an extroverted introvert?  A little from column a, a little from column b.

However social interaction does tire me emotionally.  I do find myself needing time to recharge after spending a lot of time with other people.  This has nothing to do with the person I am spending time with and everything to do with my own anxiety.  It could be that the anxiety is what is stopping me from being an extrovert.  Is that is what is keeping me with a foot in both camps, an extroverted introvert?

I spend hours carefully picking over everything I said.  Was it stupid? Could it be used against me?  Why did I laugh at that moment?  Why didn’t I laugh then?  What did that look mean?  Do they think I’m boring?  Did I talk too much? Not enough?  On and on it goes.

At times I find myself blurting things out that maybe I shouldn’t be saying.  As soon as the words leave my mouth I wish that I could get a giant shovel and put them all back.  I have even visualised doing it in the past.  Yet still sometimes it feels like the link between my brain and my mouth is broken.

Does having anxiety about my interactions make me an introvert?  Is being an introvert or an extrovert written into our DNA?  If I kick anxiety to the curb will I magically become an extrovert?  Maybe it’s not the anxiety that means that I need downtime to recover from any interactions.  Maybe it is a different noise in my head.

Is it possible to be an extroverted introvert?  Is is possible to enjoy being around other people and still be an introvert?  I don’t have to be a complete social recluse to be an introvert surely, but maybe the distinction is in desire.  Or maybe I just don’t want to be put in a box anymore.

Do you think you can be an extroverted introvert or an introverted extrovert?

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