Hi, I’m a Shy Extrovert

I had an epiphany recently.

I’m a shy extrovert. Or something.

Maybe some psychologist out there can define it better for me after they read my story.

When I was younger I always thought I was an extrovert. Then when I got older I thought I had changed into an introvert. Something happened that made me realize what I truly am.  This only matters as it helps me get what I need out of social interactions.

I went to a party recently. I was excited about the party. I felt like I needed it, I needed some people.

The party was fine.  I talked to people, sat with people. But I left feeling really sad.  I actually cried. On my way home I tried to figure out what it was that I was upset about.

I realized that although I had sat with people and talked with people I had not gotten the connection I needed.

I had sat with people I knew and had joined in conversations, but no one had talked with me.  I commented on other people’s conversations. I had sat with who I sat with because I felt like I had to, not because they were the people I wanted to sit with.

At one point a friend of mine came up to me and we chatted for a few seconds, then she went back to the group she had been sitting with. I wanted to go sit with her and talk with the people she was with, but I felt like I couldn’t do that because they were all already sitting and talking together, and like I said, I felt like I was obligated to stay with the group I was with.

I watched people come and go and talk with the people I was with, I was just there. I spent the whole time wishing I had gone and sat with my friend who had made an effort to reach out to me.

I realized that I need people, but not just any people. I need friends, and I need to feel like there is a real connection there. I don’t feel fulfilled by just being around random people, I need to feel like my being there was something they enjoyed, that they cared that I was there.

After thinking about all this I decided what I needed to do was before I went to any more parties was to have an internal talk with myself and decide what I wanted to get out of the event. Then I needed to make an action plan to make that happen.

So I had another party that I was going to go to. I decided that I needed to have what I felt like was a real connection with someone. I wasn’t going to do or talk to who I felt like I should talk to, I was going to do what I actually wanted to do.

I got to the party early. That way I could get comfortable and find my place. Often if I come into a situation where everyone is already engaged, I just feel like an intruder and get that same feeling of just being ‘tacked on’ to the conversations, as I got at the other part.

Someone I know arrived right as I did, that was good because that put us together to start with. I started some conversations with some people and they engaged with me. Later when someone else showed up she sat by me and started asking about my kids. Perfect.

I left that party feeling great.

So, knowing yourself is helpful.


4 thoughts on “Hi, I’m a Shy Extrovert

  1. Robert Walker May 17, 2014 at 9:40 pm Reply

    Barclay: You don’t know what a struggle this has been for me, Commander.
    LaForge: I’d like to help, if I can.
    Barclay: Being afraid all the time, of forgetting somebody’s name, not knowing what to do with your hands. I mean, I’m the guy who writes down things to remember to say when there’s a party. And then when he finally get there, he winds up alone in the corner trying to look comfortable examining a potted plant.
    LaForge: You’re just shy, Barclay.
    Barclay: “Just shy.” Sounds like nothing serious, doesn’t it? You can’t know.
    — Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Hollow Pursuits” (3×21)


    • tdljld May 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm Reply

      I seriously hope you are not saying I’m Barclay.


      • Robert Walker May 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm

        Not at all. I’m just saying that there’s something he was going through in the show that seems relevant. I really identified with that scene a lot myself.


  2. katie May 19, 2014 at 8:50 am Reply

    I love this. I have always been painfully introverted, which has definitely improved over the years, but it is still almost always my first instinct to stand in a corner at social functions, “trying to look comfortable examining a potted plant,” as it were.
    Unless I am with close friends who know me and with whom I feel like I can be completely myself. I really love the idea of deciding what you want out of a social situation before you go into it. And, I love you and all of your thought-provoking posts that get my mushy, underused brain thinking in the morning. 🙂


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