The Walking, Talking Contradiction

So you’ve seen the name of this website and by now I bet you are wondering “just what the heck is a ‘social’ introvert?” After all, a SOCIAL introvert sounds like an oxymoron right?

Truth be told, by definition it should be an oxymoron. We do, however, exist and come with our own set of struggles on top of the standard set. I’m gonna break this down from my point of view so follow along…

First off, let me breakdown the word introvert. If you are an introvert you can skip this section or not. Maybe you can learn something new about your personality too.

If you search for the definition of “introvert,” the first one that comes up is “a shy, reticent person.” Not bad, but only half right. Being “shy” is a misconception developed by those who aren’t introverts. The psychological definition is “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than external things.” Much better but honestly I don’t think any definition will define us as a personality type. What you should know is that an introvert has a tendency to turn (vert) to the inside (intro). Pretty simple right?

As a personality type almost everything we say and do is first cultivated inside. Which, is why I say we are not shy or rude as some people think. When entrenched in an event with lots of interaction we don’t take part in conversation as readily as our extroverted cousins. Everything we hear has to be processed within before we speak. There’s a lot of thinking involved before we speak as we don’t want to say the wrong thing and offend anyone. The whole process uses a lot of energy which is why most avoid social interaction if it’s not necessary. Conserving energy is a constant struggle. A large enough social gathering could leave us out of commission for hours or even days afterward.

For a deeper understanding of how introverts function be sure to check out No, I’m not broken…,” after you’re finished here.

There are bunch of definitions for social so I’ll sum them up. A social being seeks companionship and interaction with other beings. This is why communities form and is the foundation of a society. Extroverts are very social, they thrive on interaction with people. An extroverted person tends to turn (vert) outward (extra), again really simple stuff. Extroverts cultivate and process everything they say or do outside of themselves. In a conversation, more often than not, the extrovert is the dominate person.

No person is 100% extrovert or introvert, we all are a mixture of both personality types. Social introverts are those that have more extrovert traits than is average. 70-30, 60-40, 51-49, some call us Ambiverts but they have a 50-50 split. Like I said earlier this can come with its own set of struggles.

Take myself for instance. I love being around people I know and talk a bunch when surrounded by my friends. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m actually an introvert. People think I’m just shy or antisocial when I pull away from a social event to the outskirts to hangout by myself. Many times I’ve made commitments to go to a party only to decide last minute that I don’t want to go. The idea sounded good at first but I didn’t actually want to deal with small talk and meeting new people. Sometimes I’ve gone as far as getting dressed before deciding to cancel.

It’s nothing against my friends. The extrovert in me wants to be out and about meeting people and having fun. But, the dominate introvert in me, despises shallow interaction and conversation. So, if the event is one where I’ll only know a few people, the chances of me canceling last min are pretty high.

In the workplace, I struggle with making friends. Again I love people, making friends, coming in to see people I like to be around on a regular basis. I would love to come into a new job and right away make a bunch of friends. If I were an extrovert like my brother that would definitely be the case. Over time, I do make a good amount of friends, the problem is it takes me months to do so. At my current job, I didn’t talk to anyone or make a friend until almost 2 full months working 55 hours a week!

The only reason I have the friends I have now is because I consistently sit in the same place for lunch every day. One day someone started talking to me and I took it from there. This is my friendship strategy and struggle, I desire companionship and social interaction. At the same time, I overthink the initial contact too much. I’m afraid of looking foolish to my potential new friend. So I say nothing.

This struggle permeates my business ventures as well. It’s hard to network and cold market when you spend so much time and energy in your own head. And don’t even ask what dating is like for me because it’s not pretty!

This is my life. I usually tell people I’m a walking, talking, contradiction, the social introvert. Someone who wants more than anything to have social interaction but doesn’t speak. But this is just my experience as a social introvert. Your experience or the experience of someone you love could be completely different. Every person has their own percentages and interpretation of the world around them.

So what’s your take on this unique personality type? I’d love to hear from different perspectives. Be sure to share this with everyone you know. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments section below!

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