Life as an Introverted Extrovert: Behind the Scenes

There's one question that's been on my mind for years now; why am I so shy when I require socialization to be happy? I took to google and found the term "introverted extrovert". Of course, I found it on urban dictionary, so I could have a completely incorrect term, but I think it's close enough to what I mean to describe. I thrive in social situations, and I need to talk to people and just feel like I'm included into the mass of people I see daily, but I'm also very shy and social situations make me feel sick to my stomach. I can't message people first (even on gag), but as soon as someone messages me first I can hold conversations for hours and get really deep with people, especially if our personalities are similar. I LOVE people, but they also scare the shit out of me.

My cousin (who most of you know as SweetHomicidalQueen) is a very outgoing person. She can walk up to women in walmart and tell them how pretty they are, or she can ask a waitress for her number. I think the things she thinks, but when I go to say them I hesitate and it feels as if there's a literal dam build up in my throat and chest that just won't let the words out, so I walk away completely defeated by my own shy nature. She had to be the one to make the friends for the both of us when we started out at this new school, but now that I know they like me I can talk to them constantly and we've gotten close as if I had been the one to initiate the friendship myself. I just can't talk to people until I'm sure they want to talk to me, but I can't even describe how great I feel when someone actually tries to talk to me or when they let me know that they do like talking to me and enjoy having me around.

I also enjoy spending time alone and reflecting on the day, my life, and just myself in general, and I can sit for an hour or longer just day dreaming or making up stories/songs in my head. I've always been a creative kid, so anything can become a game to me. I've made up songs while cleaning my room, or started acting out shakespeare when I found a skull shaped keychain or a plastic dagger. I can enjoy time alone, and it's especially helpful after I've had a taxing conversation with someone. I enjoy socialization, but it does take a toll on me and I need to just sit and think about things for awhile afterwards.

What's so difficult about starting a converation, you may ask. Honestly, I have no idea. I used to be the most talkative and outgoing child in my elementary school. I would wal up to a group of boys, tell them they were cute, then say," Okay, we're friends now, bye!" Seventh grade rolled around and I had to move away. I left the state I grew up in and ended up in Kentucky. I didn't talk in any of my classes unless it was required, and even then I had this sort of whispery quietness to my voice. I couldn't even force myself to speak up, which resulted in having to repeat myself a few times until the teacher gave up and kids laughed. I finally just stopped trying to communicate all together. I packed extra pencils just in case I dropped one under someone else's desk, and I brought several books and a pair of earbuds (even though I didn't even have a phone or music player) just so that I could avoid social interaction. I started to get depressed. I soon realized that I needed social interaction to be happy. Everyone in school thought that I was weird (and I made such a good first impression by never talking to anyone, right?), so I knew I wouldn't be making friends there. I took to the internet.

I found this cute little virtual world game called ameba pico and I because one of those kids, always playing on this stupid game, making online relationships and spending real money just to dress up my character so more people there would talk to me. I made so many great friends on that site, but then it got shut down a few years after I started playing. I was crushed. My only outlet for talking to people was gone, and I didn't know what to do. I went into this state of mild depression until freshman year, when I met the skater group.

They were outcasts, just like me, and they accepted anyone as they were. One of the guys in the group noticed I stood alone while waiting for my bus, and I had to wait half an hour so it probably made me look like a total loser. He walked over and struck up a conversation. It turned out that we had a lot in common, and he pulled me over to his friends and I made even more friends. It felt great to laugh with people my own age. It turned out that I had found a pretty great group of people to hang out with. They were assholes a lot of the time, and they weren't the best role models considering all of the drugs and sex they liked to talk about with my little virgin ears listening, but they were sweethearts when it was necessary. They found out about my little socialization issue and started building up my self esteem as best they could. They'd encourage me to walk up to that cute girl over there and tell her she's pretty. After a few months of their encouragement I would do that, she'd thank me and I'd walk away with my breathing off and my heart beating so hard in my chest that my legs even started to shake. It got better after awhile, and I even joined debate team. I'd leave every day with a major adrenaline rush, but it was kind of great to be included in something.

Now, though, I don't have the same encouragment. Some family issues happened, and someone from my past came back to haunt me. I had to leave my mom's house and move in with my uncle back where I grew up. I had made tons of friends in that school back when I was in my happy and outgoing years, so I had a group to sit with at lunch and I had people to help me out along the way. Things were great actually, and my confidence started to build up. Fastforward a few months and now we're here. My uncle got a job in yet another state, so now I'm at a school I absolutely hate with people I absolutel loathe (besides a few choice friends). My only support system is my cousin and that doesn't work out too well because I'm kind of a major wimp, and I value familiarity (my cousin and I just met a few months ago). I don't do well with change, so all of this movement has thrown my confidence way back down to before I met the skaters. It's hard being so shy but still requiring socialization to be happy. I get sad a lot, but I usually overcome it by writing. I get compliments on that and photography, which adds a temporary boost to that confidence level I keep mentioning.

I know this take was more personal experience than actual advice, but I hope it helped you see through the eyes of someone going through this messed up personality crisis. If you've gone through this yourself, just know other people feel it too, and I'm here to talk/compare our experiences if you want to, feel free to message me about it and I'd love to hear your sides in this!

Life as an Introverted Extrovert: Behind the Scenes


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What Guys Said 11

  • if you think about this for a moment, most people are in fact 'introverted extroverts'. that's because most people do not have extreme tendencies one way or the other, because then it would far too easy to stereotype people. as it happens people do not check black and white boxes but they belong to a spectrum of various personality aspects.

    e. g. a stereotypical introvert: not someone necessarily shy per se, but somebody who is apathetic - generally speaking - about social interaction. might even think most people are boring and stupid and not want much, if any contact.

    a stereotypical extrovert: doesn't have to be the most inwardly confident person (and a lot of extroverts do NOT have other important aspects of their life - besides their social life - in check!) but is somebody that is at the very least outwardly confident and thrives on being around people. they love talking and interacting with people even if it's just talking or gossiping about some of the most mundane and trivial things, they will get enjoyment.

    but most people are ambiverts. they like certain aspects of socialising and need to be around people from time to time but it's also extremely important that they have their own time to 'recharge'.

    I understand that anxiety can be something that takes away from the joy of interaction but think about what the causes of anxiety could be. it could be that you do not want to talk to certain people in a social situation, it could be that you find it difficult to relate to people unless you have a strong personal connection, or it could be that you are very reserved about how you should approach or be approached in such situations. these would all be strong indications of an introverted mindset but I do not want to go as far as to say that an extrovert would never feel anxiety.

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    • p. s.

      'Social awkwardness' is subtly different to anxiety and refers to a misinterpretation of social norms. People that are unaware of this misinterpretation can be quite numb to the usual anxiety that would accompany such a level of 'human blindness'. These people can be very reckless and cause distress or upset to other people's feelings without even knowing it. Usually it is rooted in fear one way or another. You can see this in people with personality disorders such as adhd or autistic spectrum conditions. People who are aware to the point of having social anxiety however will not be socially awkward: they will just avoid socialising and become extremely reclusive.

  • You're a shy extrovert.

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  • Whoa!
    @SweetHomicidalQueen
    this is so trippy its like everyone has family on here
    Anyways, hmm yes! Try searching dual personality. I have dealt with that my entire life but for not necessarily nice reasons. I think a lot of us have different experiences that drive us to be the people we are today and no one persons are the same. However dealing with a personality that is neither extroverted nor introverted is quite tricky, its almost a balancing act. I can't quite say i have perfected it as i still have a long way to go, but step one is simply to become self aware. A happy medium is something i strive for currently. I will say though that for the past 2 years my introverted side has come out more than extroverted but thats because my mind and body is still going under growth and development. Sometimes there will be those uneasy feelings like perhaps you can do better or you aren't doing this right, wanting to simply take a step but the first is self awareness, to notice the thing in your mind making you afraid to speak up or whatever the hell.
    eh fuck it... im done with my essay

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  • It sounds to me like you lean pretty heavily extrovert, but are also shy.

    Shyness is not who you are. It is a behavioral response to stress. It's a habit. It's a habit that is making you unhappy. You can learn to behave in a less shy way, and reduce while better handling social anxiety. This will help you in your professional and social life, and especially given you lean extrovert, make you happier.

    So i'd really suggest thinking about and then implementing strategies to break down the bad habits (thoughts and behaviors) and replace them with better ones.

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  • what's your myers briggs personality type?

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  • "why am I so shy when I require socialization to be happy?"

    Nobody likes feeling lonely, I am very introverted but still hate being alone.

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  • Extroversion and Shyness are not connected. Actually extroversion and all social disorders are disconnected.

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    • I realize that extroversion and shyness are completely different things, I wasn't saying that they were linked in anyway other than the fact that I'm both an extrovert and that I'm very shy

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    • I appreciate that you did try, but you came off sort of cocky with the way that you explained your side. I get testy about things like that, especially in the mornings, my apologies xD

    • Don't worry about it.

  • I am like this only and wants change it.

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  • You sound more like a shy extrovert - introvert doesn't mean shy, it just means the opposite of extrovert as in enjoys a lot of alone time, doesn't enjoy too much social interaction and finds it draining, whereas extroverts crave it and find people energising. Either one can be shy, which is a fear of social interaction.

    I'm an introvert myself but was also shy when I was younger, but now I'm pretty confident after working on it. Being shy holds you back a lot from getting anywhere, it must be even worse as an extrovert. The only way you'll ever get over it is by pushing yourself gradually further and further outside of your comfort level, which is what I did.

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    • I do enjoy alone time very much, but it's like I NEED to have both. I do have anxiety, which may be the cause of the shyness, but pushing myself doesn't work much for me, although I have tried it. It just ends in a headache and some times a small scale panic attack :/ It's just something I have to find a way around

    • I had the same thing I think, like sometimes I'd get into a situation with a lot of people around and I'd think they were all staring at me and judging me negatively, and my head would start to pound and feel like it was gonna explode so I'd have to leave the area. Still, eventually I was able to work on it. I was referred by a doctor to do CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and that helped. All I did was wrote down things that cause me the least - the most anxiety in order, then worked my way up the ladder gradually. If I managed to do it I'm sure you can because I was terrible.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, I'll try that :)

  • The first thing I would say is looking for labels or comparing yourself to others might not be as helpful as you think - You are who you are, I don't know your name so I will just call you LexyTheLou for the moment. I know SweetHomicidalQueen on here and she will be the first person to say she is not perfect. She is a great person in her own right but she is not you. I am a great person in my own right but I am also not perfect. I know some amazing people in this world but my life would not be any better if I was like them in fact it might be less because it would take away from who I am.
    From what I read you seem quiet maybe a bit shy at first but very warm and friendly once you get to know them. Guess what those are the characteristics of a large group of people, me included.
    Ok I always give out people pulling the age card but I will say this time from the vantage point of 47 years of age - In a life of say 70 plus years you may meet 200,000 people you don't have to wow everyone of them, bowl them over with your brilliant personality if you affect 200 of them a lot, have a good connection maybe even establish a deep connection with 20 and then a loving connection with a few (partner + kids? ), you will have a good life.
    My point is appreciate what is good about yourself first before casting admiring glances at others.

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    • I wasn't trying to label myself or compare myself to her, I was using her actions as a description for my thoughts to give a better insight into how I think. My shyness doesn't stem from lowering my own confidence, I have social anxiety and I can't help but panic when put into social situations unless I've prepped myself for it for hours the night before. I appreciate this though, thank you :)

  • I might be like this too.
    Except for me, I'm just WAY more extroverted when I'm with my friends, whether we're in public or not. They "set me off" per se.

    I am completely comfortable talking to strangers or new people easily, as long as I don't have to come up with the conversation. Which is also why I am kind of way more social when I'm with two or more friends, rather than just one friend.

    For example, if I were to go to a party where I don't know anybody, I would be extremely outgoing if I came with two or more friends, but if I just came with one friend, I'd stick by them and let them lead the conversations for the most part.

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    • I know what you mean, I can be like that too depending on my mood.

    • But I feel like everyone is kinda like that. Of course you're more extroverted with friends around.

    • I can't figure out why some people act different than they do around me like they do everyone else. Like women, there are some who will pick n carry on with everybody around or whoever comes by. These same people get quiet n shy won't even look at me when I initiate a conversation, but they will stay around

What Girls Said 7

  • Oh look it's me in a nutshell

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  • This take kind of reminds me how I was when I was younger. I was very introverted and just talking to people and thinking about conversations was very hard for me. I didn't start to get out of my shell until probably my junior year of high school. I don't have a hard time striking up conversations with people like I did when I was younger, it just takes practice.

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  • I personally call it the relocation syndrome. It happens to people who change their living location earlier in life.
    Later on I heard a famous psychologist on TV say that between 9-16 years old is the worst time to move. I personally think even as early as 3years old can still be traumatic. I'm 36 and I suffer the EXACT same symptoms. So does my best best friend. I even married someone who was from a military family and moved around a lot when he was a kid.
    It's not the hot topic in psychology, but I believe the effects on people's lives is as bad as PTSD if not worse. However it doesn't get as much sympathy from the medical world. Just like cancer versus depression. The second one quietly destroys your entire life, but it's not as newsworthy as cancer. They just tell you to exercise or pop a pill, when most people don't really respond to just any kind of treatment and it's a lot more complicated than it looks, and it is VERY VERY costly, because therapy is costly in itself, let alone a depressed person actually being more disabled and a lot less productive than a cancer patient because depression shuts you down both emotionally and physically, and you have to live through lots of unjustified social shame, while with cancer, if you don't get depressed as a result of it, you're usually still emotionally active in the lives of your loved ones AND you are accepted and get lots of support. Also you see TONS of cancer societies and charity funds all over the world, but it's not such a big deal with depression. This was just an example. No offense to cancer patients. I know cancer is very very painful, but I'm just comparing the views of society in comparison of both illnesses. And I want to say that uprooting and moving a young child can be very dangerous to their health, but no one really realizes the extreme disaster it can cause for people.
    I've lived in a several different locations between 1-3. I lived in the U. S. for 3-10, from 10-32 in the middle east, and 32-36 in the U. S. As a fully grown adult the past years have felt like a knife slowly moving forward in my heart, and I've felt every millimeter of it. Imagine the same thing happened to me as a child, except I didn't know what was happening to me. And I didn't have the right to feel pain either.
    It's a sort of irrelevant pain caused by unfamiliarity, but it's torturing pain nevertheless. It may decrease very slowly but it's a wound that never heals.

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    • I never would have thought it came from moving around, I'm used to it

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    • Moving around seems like an insignificant little detail, but for some reason it has a very harsh effect on people's emotions.
      I'm actually going to suggest to my counselor to do a more specific program or study on the effects of relocation.
      It might be interesting for you to know that in less modern societies, relocating sounds like a terrible and shocking thing to them. Most people are very proud to live and die in the same ZIP CODE or the same street where they were born. And they usually marry their neighbors, and accept everything local even though it may not offer high quality. I know this may sound boring and backward to us, because in modern and advanced cultures people are trained to believe that moving around is no big deal. However, I have witnessed that those seemingly dumb people in backward places, are actually more emotionally healthy and happy. Which is why when it comes to happiness, I use THEIR intuitions as a guideline. Even though

    • ... I can't really act on it because it is in conflict with my modern and industrialized upbringing.

  • This is very similar to how i used to be. I still lowkey am, just not as extreme. I can initiate conversations, for example.

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  • I stopped reading when you mentioned Wal-Mart.

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  • I'm a lot like this and it really sucks. :(

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  • Wow.

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    • Well i already know where itcame from was just looking for confirmation. Looks like I've got it. And dont try to make yourself a victim it gets old.. No ones changing or trying to change u. 🙄

    • You're not exactly making sense here darling. How am I making myself a victim by telling you that you trying to start a fight won't change the way I tell my story? You seem to be a very lonely person as you feel the need to comment rude things on the post of a minor that you've never met, so perhaps you should get offline and go find something to do. I'm finished responding to you, so any further comments will be a waste of time as I've decided to be the bigger man :)

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