“You’re so obviously an introvert”.
5 words that I thought I’d never hear in my life… but what mattered weren’t just those words, but who it came from: My wife. Of all the people who know me in this world, nobody knows me like my wife so it really made me think when she said those words.
It’s surprising to me because I’m pretty good with people. You can put me in a group of strangers and I can strike up a conversation and 5 minutes later you’ll see us joking and laughing away. That’s exactly what I told my wife and she came back with this:
“Being able to mix with people doesn’t mean you’re an extrovert. An extrovert gets energy from being around people. When an introvert is around people though, it drains energy”.
I thought and I realized she was right. I thought about the days when I’d go out to social events and chat chat and when I came back home I felt really tired and drained. So much I would just lay on the bed and want to be left alone.
During my leisure time I realise I don’t go out of my way to make plans with friends. I rather stay at home and read my book, play my games or watch TV. This is a huge contrast to my extroverted wife who finds the need to go out every time she’s free to meet her friends and just chat. To her… the activity she gains energy from is being around people. To me… I gain energy from being around myself.
So how have I been able to fake it all this while? How have I been able to be an extroverted introvert? When I talk to people I realise I’m not the only one. There are so many. Want to spot an extroverted introvert? That’s easy.
In groups where people are less talkative, the extroverted introvert will make an extra attempt to talk to more people, to be the life of the party. But introduce an extrovert there and the extroverted introvert enters radio silence almost relieved that he doesn’t have to talk.
An extroverted introvert loves spending time with people too sometimes but only with people within their comfort zone. They’re often also good at communicating and expressing themselves… but only to the people they love.
So what does that mean for me now that I know it?
I know that in order to get out of my comfort zone I have to force myself to go out sometimes. To call people out or to accept more invitations to hang out. Especially with the job I have. Entrepreneurs need to meet people not just for networking but also for information, perspective… all sorts of different things.
I also know that my wife is an extrovert. She needs to go out, meet friends and hang out with people. So I’m gonna have to give her the freedom to do her thing.