The Introverted Extrovert

I frequently find myself in the middle of the introvert vs. extrovert debate. For some odd reason, it seems to be of the utmost importance for people to be able to slot themselves into one or the other of these labels. Personally, I don’t care. I’m an extrovert and that’s that. End of discussion.

Or is it?

I read an article from the Huffington Post that pinpoints 23 signs that you’re secretly an introvert. Then I got thinking. Perhaps I’m not the extrovert I thought I was. Maybe I am an introvert in disguise. Check this out:

Not sure if you’re an innie or an outie? See if any of these 23 telltale signs of introversion apply to you.

1. You find small talk incredibly cumbersome.

I have to give myself a point for this one because I despise small talk. I put up with it for so many years in the corporate world and there is nothing more annoying, boring, and phony than small talk. Cut the fluff and get to the point.

2. You go to parties – but not to meet people.

The older I get, the less I enjoy social gatherings for the purpose of meeting people. I go when I have to, but I would much rather spend time one on one with a good friend or family member.

3. You often feel alone in a crowd.

Boy, oh boy, this is so true for me – feeling like an outsider in the middle of social gatherings or group activities, even with people I know.

4. Networking makes you feel like a phony.

Yup, absolutely.

5. You’ve been called “too intense.”

I’ve had people tell me that to my face on more than one occasion. Since I find small talk cumbersome (#1 above), I prefer to get to the heart of the matter very quickly.

6. You’re easily distracted.

I do have the classic extrovert tendency to get bored easily when I don’t have enough to do, but I also have the opposite problem of becoming easily distracted and overwhelmed in environments with an excess of stimulation. And then I can’t sleep at night.

7. Downtime doesn’t feel unproductive to you.

I definitely need my time alone. Give me a good book and a diet Coke and I’m good for the day.

8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy speaking to large groups of people, and I’ve done lots of it over the course of the past 30 years. But the post-talk mingling? Nope, not my thing at all.

9. When you get on the subway, you sit at the end of the bench – not in the middle.

That would be me.

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

Also me. I just zone out.

11. You’re in a relationship with an extrovert.

Yes, very true. My husband loves to be with people. Loves small talk.

12. You’d rather be an expert at one thing than try to do everything.

Well, no, I’d have to say this is not true for me. I love to try almost everything.

13. You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.

Absolutely true.

14. You screen all your calls – even from friends.

I admit it. I do this quite often.

15. You notice details that others don’t.

I definitely do notice details. And I remember them.

16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.

Yes and no. I don’t really know what that means.

17. You have low blood pressure.


18. You’ve been called an “old soul” – since your 20s.

No for this one, too.

19. You don’t feel “high” from your surroundings

I’ve changed, I think. I used to like nothing better than huge parties and gatherings. They don’t interest me anymore.

20. You look at the big picture.

I am definitely a big picture person.

21. You’ve been told to “come out of your shell.”

No, never.

22. You’re a writer.

I’ve always been able to communicate better in writing.

23. You alternate between phases of work and solitude, and periods of social activity.

Yes, that would be me.

Am I an introvert because I scored 18 out of 23 on this little quiz? No, I don’t think so. And most people who know me well would probably agree. But I’ve recognized that I do have significant introvert-ish tendencies, and I am satisfied with being an introverted extrovert.


Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, Humor, Thinking, Writing

6 responses to “The Introverted Extrovert

  1. Chris Jordan

    Although I am a pastor, I have always thought of myself as an introvert, which surprises many people. I think I may have to do this quiz and see what I come up with… and maybe blog about it, too! 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Introverted Pastor – an oxymoron, or my life story? | New Life

  3. James

    Two years later…. I find this post beautiful, because it resonates with me completely and is written in such a positive manner. I am saving it and printing it.

    I am a person with Asperger’s and this is like looking in a mirror. While people with Asperger’s are as varied as unique as the general population, many of the traits you list are also part of who we are.

    In fact, one designer has trademarked (if that is the right word) ‘Extrovert Inside’ for Asperger’s awareness t-shirts, mugs, and the like.


    • James, your comments on this post resonate, perhaps even more than they would have if you’d commented two years ago. Early in 2015, our 30+ year old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s, which explained a whole lot about her personality. Although highly intelligent and incredibly talented, she has always struggled with her rather extroverted siblings and friends, so I completely understand what you are saying. I’ve learned a lot about Asperger’s in the past year – the many, many facets and the mysteries. I pray strength for you, James, and that you are surrounded with the love of God. He, through His Holy Spirit, is your best counsellor, therapist, and friend.

      • James

        Thank you for your warm response. I am very glad for your daughter because, based on my experience, I think her awareness of her Asperger’s will change her life in so many wonderful ways.

        So much of the awareness of Asperger’s is superficial (especially for adults) so I am glad that you (and your daughter) are learning much of the nuances of Asperger’s.

        As I wrote earlier, I resonate with many of your points, and laughed with recognition at many. In particular, #8. I have been a university professor for 35 years, and so to a great degree, my life has been focused on teaching and writing. I love the attention to creating something in my writing that I think is worthwhile – and then putting it out into the world. I have also always loved preparation for teaching and then giving it my all in the classroom and conferences. But when teaching is over, it is not at all of interest to me to do small talk. Many people do not recognize this nuance at all, and it makes me smile when someone like yourself recognizes that there is no contradiction – both are authentic. In my early life, I thought that I was being ‘fake’ in some sense because of seemingly contradictory ways of begin. So just one wonderful benefit of my own Asperger’s diagnosis, was that I was being authentic in both modes.

        Thanks again for your post, and your very prompt response to my comment.


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