Life as an Oxymoron: A Letter from an Outgoing Introvert

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I love discovering new things. I love discovering new things about myself. I hate my birthday because all attention is on me for an entire day. On the other hand, it is nice to have some special attention. You may be thinking to yourself that this is kind of an oxymoron. Welcome to the life of an outgoing introvert. Even the name is an oxymoron, so let me try to explain what this kind of person looks like, mainly from my perspective.

I hate being the first one at an event, unless I am SUPER comfortable with the people who will be there. Yesterday, for example, I was going to hang out with friends, and I had a good friend of mine text me when she got there. I did not want to be awkward, and I knew she would help the situation. The birthday scenario in the previous paragraph is another great example. Some people would consider me to be a shy person, but once I am comfortable with you, the shy shell is peeled away. With that in mind, I sometimes have difficulty making new friends or speaking up in class or in a conversation with someone. Another way to define this personality is a shy extrovert, which is a great way to look at this personality.

Other people might think I am an outgoing person. That is only because I am comfortable with them. Trust is a big thing for me. If I trust you, I will be more myself around you. What does this mean? It means that, in the right setting, like sitting around talking, having dinner, doing an activity together, etc., I will open up around you. Some people might see me being rude when I do not acknowledge them, but this is a defense mechanism to protect myself. It is nothing against you; it is just how it goes. But, the side of me that shies away from people comes into play when I know it is a onetime meeting and I will never see that person again, or will only see them every now and again. The definition of introvert is rather interesting: the first meaning is shy, but the second meaning is more revealing, a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings. The second meaning is so true, and it is something that is good to keep in mind.

So this leads to the question…what do we do with outgoing introverts/shy extroverts? Be patient with us. When we open up to you, see those opportunities and take advantage of them. How do you take advantage of these opportunities? Give us a huge hug in front of a crowd of people. Yeah, don’t do that. In all seriousness, if we have a conversation with you, especially about a deep topic, listen and give us feedback. Yes, there will be times when we are super awkward when we try to open up or reach out to be a friend. Just let us work through that awkwardness and we should be okay on the other side of things. You never know, you might find a great friend in an outgoing introvert.

Signed,

One who is shy and outgoing

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