The Outgoing Introvert

In undergrad, I didn’t want to spend any time alone.  Because my writing instructor insisted that we take time just to be, I would force myself to lie on my bed in ten-minute increments, doing nothing.  Just lying there, resting, being alone.  I’d feel so rushed and eager to do-do-do and be back with people that I’d check the clock and be shocked that it had only been three minutes and I had seven to go.

I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and I tested as an ENFJ … and 100% extrovert.

introvertAs my writing life grew deeper, and as I grew older, I watched this do a complete flip.

These days, I am a solid introvert: I value my alone time, I feel drained after spending a lot of time with company, I absolutely have to build in time for rest, recharging, and solitude.

And yet, I’m still quite outgoing.  I’m not shy.  I am a good public speaker.  My job is all about hospitality.  I think it shocks a lot of people when they first learn that I’m an introvert, probably because they have misconceptions about what “introvert” and “extrovert” really mean.

Even now, if I take the Myers-Briggs, it still tells me I’m an ENFJ.  The test just can’t interpret my outgoing answers in way for it to regard me as an introvert.  But trust me, I am.  No close friend of mine would argue with that.

How about you?  Do you get your energy from being with people or from being alone?  Do you fit into the stereotype– a quiet, shy introvert or a loud, outgoing extrovert– or are you like me, a mix that defies the expectations?

Image credit: couldn’t find source.  Let me know if you know!

17 thoughts on “The Outgoing Introvert

  1. I’m an INTJ, but my introversion/extroversion is right on the border. I feel more like an introvert, but people don’t believe me. I’ve even had girlfriends who say I’m lying about being an introvert (clearly one of the reasons we’re not together anymore). I, too, am introverted but not shy. I get my energy from being alone, and look forward to as much “me time” as I can cram into my schedule. I view my time with people as more of a low-grade performance (even though there are elements of authenticity to that performance, of course). I can control my reactions and conversations, which is what draws all of my energy. It’s why I am also good at public speaking and teaching. But at the end of the day, I have to turn all of that sassy charm off and be with me.

    • I’m an extremely social introvert. I have people tell me I’m not introverted all the time, which really hurts. Just because I can be sociable and normal and smiling and fun loving doesn’t mean I want to run and hide back to my quiet room when my energy’s about to die.

      I wish people could understand that there are very social and popular introverts out there, and just accept that they need their alone time, despite appearing outwardly sociable when around others.

      Anyways, I feel exactly like you do

  2. I meant to ask you the other day your MBTI – hail, fellow INFJ! I pretty much knew it already, twin soul.

    People often assume I’m an extrovert, but they don’t see the crash afterwards!

  3. The “outgoing introvert” is the perfect description, in my opinion. I’ll test ENFJ (with a weak E) or INFJ on different days depending on my mood. Though I see aspects of both in my life and personality, I know I fall closer to INFJ than anything else.

    I love spending quality time with people, but throw me into a situation I’m uncomfortable in, and I’m done! I also need a certain amount of “do nothing” space in my life. Even if I don’t do anything worthwhile with that time, I need it to be there, just in case. I can’t have too many social things in one week (even if they’re good!), and I don’t do spontaneous plans.

  4. I’ve never taken a test, but I’ve always been labeled as an introvert, as I don’t mind being alone. But I’ve found lately that I really like contact with people more often than not, so I may actually be more of an extrovert than I and others thought. Social situations are still scary for me, but I would rather be with a friend than alone in most situations.

  5. I love the graphic. Perfect for an introvert.
    My MBTI seems a little confused to me. There were times I couldn’t like any answer, and I think that makes a difference. I’m 100% introvert… IN both ways I answer it. It’s the other two categories that can differ. So the test isn’t infallible, that’s for sure.

  6. I think I was an INFP when I took the test. But I am definitely an Introvert who has learned to fake it in certain situations. Like at work or in the college dorms I don’t think people would have thought of me as introverted or shy (which I know aren’t the same thing but I am definitely both) but my best friends know how much being social and outgoing takes for me. Not that I don’t enjoy it … I just need a lot of time to recharge alone afterwards.

  7. I am a lot like you! My job requires all the things you would expect of an extrovert and I do enjoy being with others, but at the end of the week I am on the brink of burnout if I did not get my “restorative alone time”.

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