Introverts Masquerading as Extroverts: Your Experiences

At heart I am an introvert – I really enjoy being at work and have a lot of work friends, but am exhaused when I go home at night from all the interactions. I think most people I work with would be amazed that I’m not a “real” extrovert.

My problem is that I live alone and on weekends I get lonely. I’ve tried meeting up with work friends on weekends and some more artificial social situations (like “Meetup” hobby groups) but I find that I dread these appointments and am generally resentful that I’m not home by myself . . . but I still get lonely.

I’m less interested in advice and more so in how others identify along the “-vert” spectrum and how you handle social and alone times.

I find it’s easier to be extroverted with someone who is more introverted than I am. For some reason it’s less taxing.

I’m not sure where I fit. I love talking to people, rarely get tired of it, but I hate large groups and wind up just listening rather than talking.

At the moment you are my antithesis, Jennshark. I need social interactions every day to feel alright. It can be stressful to discern who would welcome your company and who wouldn’t; to strike up a conversation under the alibi of perhaps a practical inquiry but with the ulterior motive of spending time with that person; to gauge that person’s mood and feelings by social cues, also to recognize the subjects that that person wants to talk about; to remember to ask how that person is doing and display some interest in their affairs yet without coming off as creepily interested or nosy. And to do this with an air of cheerful nonchalance, not anxious desperation or cynicism, nor defensiveness or sulky depression, and without being lured into a genuinely interesting, though irrelevant, tangential subject is even harder. But I still must do these things because, even though my reservations may make me appear introverted sometimes, I am at least a bit of an extravert at heart.
The odd thing is that my diagnosis is the exact opposite of yours but from a more distant point of view we seem exactly alike.

I’m with you, Jennshark. I’ve often said I’m the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet, although it’s possible that I’m just a very introverted extrovert.

Really, what it boils down to is that I’m shy, yet I seek approval. I’m full of anxiety and fears that everyone is judging me and I’m coming up short, and that’s just exhausting. And I tend to deal with that anxiety by being nervously boisterous, and that just amps up the anxiety in my head when I realize I’m saying stupid things.

And yet, somehow I always end up being The Leader. I honestly don’t know how it keeps happening, but I’m the Planner, the Delegator, the Mom on Duty, the Spokesman - whether it’s a religious group or a group of classmates or a social outing at the bar. So more extroverted actions are required of me, but yeah, it’s draining, physically and emotionally.

Eventually, and I mean it may take years, when I get comfortable with a group of people, I can relax, and that’s really when I feel naturally extroverted - I gain, rather than lose energy through social interactions. But that can take a very very long time.

WhyNot just described me to a tee.

PS – Such a small edit window! (Edit: correspondingly busy message board, I noticed.) Anywhoo, I wondered whether you (Jennshark), or anybody else really, are also consciously trying to converse in a way that makes the other person want to talk to you, hard as that can be sometimes, and whether you are also constantly aware of the cheer or sulkiness you seem to exhibit. At least when making small talk; it becomes a different matter when you’re discussing life’s great questions, I think.

How about inviting one person to your home for the evening, to watch a movie? That way you get the pleasure of someone’s company, but the comfort of being in your own home.

I’m a stealth extravert like uuaschbaer. I’m fairly quiet, somewhat reserved, and mildly socially awkward. I’m slow to approach people and tend to hang back in groups until I feel really comfortable with the people. People think I’m quiet and shy.

But I absolutely need social interaction, every day. If I spend a day or two on my own, I get struck with crippling loneliness.

I don’t have any good coping techniques. I spend a lot of time not getting what I want.

Wow, we might be the same person . . . I always end up the leader, and am always deconstructing after doing the leading. Man, it is exhauuuuuuuusting!

I actually hate to have people over. I get very anxious that my decor and housekeeping aren’t up to standards and I dislike having anyone but the most intimate of friends (and my long-distance partner) over. Objectively, I know I have a nice house, but the thought just makes me squeamish.

I am always, always hyper-aware about presentation. Coupled with this is a deep need to appear very calm and thoughtful, which are two competing states of being.

Does being an introvert bother you? It used to bother me, because western society values extroverts over introverts. So I felt that I should be more outgoing and I should want company around all the time. I enjoyed my own company much more when I let go of the ‘guilt’.

Y’know, this might be wandering down philosophical pathways, but…
…maybe that’s just how *every *leader feels? Maybe the calm cool demeanor of other leaders is just a front. Maybe you and I appear that calm and cool to others while we’re internally freaking out. Maybe that’s why they keep making us leaders. Maybe inside, Barack Obama is going, “WTF? How did I get put in charge AGAIN?! I just wanna go home and spark up a bowl and watch South Park, man!” and yet he carries on and does what he’s been asked to do, looking like the coolest customer in the universe…

I’ve always been extremely introverted, partially due to shyness and insecurity, but mostly due to just not enjoying the company of most others for any length of time and finding even simple pleasantries to be physically and mentally draining–which of course leads to many falsely interpreting me to be standoffish or arrogant.

I will say, though, that having kids has forced a change in my outlook and how I handle people. Kids tend to be magnets for attention and conversation–from simple, “Oh s/he’s so cute” in passing one must acknowledge and be gracious about, to random strangers telling you their life story because something about one’s kid triggered a memory in them.

Not to mention “alone time” is pretty much nonexistent now.

So while I’ve always been an introvert (an extreme one bordering on hermit in my younger days when I’d go weeks or even months with no more human interaction than the grocery store clerk and the gas station attendant) trying to navigate an extrovert’s world in which non-extroverts are looked down upon and judged harshly, having children has forced me to come to terms with my pet peeves about how stupid and unnecessary idle chatter is and so I’ve gotten to the point where some people I meet are actually surprised if they discover that I’m not “normal.”

Not living alone, weekends alone sound dreamy to me, though, so maybe it’s just a case of the grass always being greener…

I once took a personality test that graded introverts to extroverts respectively on a scale of 1 to 100.

I scored a 7.

Now, leave me alone.

Some people in this situation, I’ve noticed, resort to attracting people’s attention by publicly solving Rubik’s cubes, having obnoxiously ostentatious facebook photos and being altogether impressive. Don’t for heaven’s sake do that, it’s totally unbecoming. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to get famous so everyone will like me.:o

That’s rather remarkable, I find, as I used to never do that at all before recently nor expected anyone else to.

All my Rubik’s cube solving must take place in private now, so as to not offend someone’s sensibilities? Man, this living in society thing is getting hard.

You aren’t an introvert, you just have social anxieties relating to your image, aka “you are shy.”

Yeah, there seems to be a lot of people talking about being shy or social awkward and concluding they are introverted. That’s not necessarily the case, you can be both but it’s just as likely that you’re a shy/awkward extrovert.

Huh. I find the exact opposite to be true. Being around someone more introverted than me stresses me out because that leaves the burden of continuing a conversation on me. I’m not good at that, so it makes me anxious and uncomfortable. Extroverts, on the other hand, are more than happy to steer the conversation, so they’re less taxing to be around.

I’ve gotten good at playing an extrovert at work, and the fact that I’m not particularly shy helps, but I’m rarely lonely when I’m not around other people. I don’t live alone, though, so I’m sure that’s the biggest difference.