The introverted extravert

I have been meaning to write this post for some time now, but life (and teaching) often get in the way of writing. So here I am, finally stealing some time from all the other things that I should be doing to start on this post, discussing a topic I have been thinking over for a while.

Yes, I have been thinking about introverted extraverts for the longest time now, as I reflect on some recent social situations and encounters, thinking over blog posts and articles that I read pertaining to introverts.

As you the reader reading this, you may wonder: is there such a personality type as introverted extravert? Really? Well, the truth is, I don’t know. I would like to think that there is, that there has to be such a personality type, because I half suspect that I am an introverted extravert; for you see, I fit neither the mould of an introvert nor an extrovert. I am kind of an in-between.

When I took the MBTI Step I assessment a couple of years ago, I was typed as an Extravert. The Step II assessment revealed that I was typed an Extravert based on five indicators, with some out-of-type preferences, as reflected in the image below. I never thought very much of it until I dug out the report from my archives to write this post.

MBTI E-I Indicators

Based on the interpretive report provided, it would seem that while I am someone who is people oriented in that I direct energy toward the outer world of people, I prefer solitude to large parties, prefer privacy to tell-it-all, and tend to be more reflective than active. I know this sounds like a paradox but it made perfect sense to me, somewhat describing who I am.

In general, I do care about the people that come into my life and I will make time for them. However, my threshold for social interactions is not high and I therefore need to moderate contact and interaction very carefully. I remember those days where I end all appointments at 9:30 pm sharp, regardless of where we were in the conversation. I would grab my bag and leave. All my friends called me Cinderella then. They never really understood why I did that but they all accepted my odd behaviour, for which I continue to be grateful.

So, why did I do that? It was not like I didn’t know it was rude to leave abruptly, particularly when it was a gathering of friends who have not met for a while. However, by 9:30 pm then, I maxed out my quota for socialising; that was about all the social interaction I could take for the evening. I needed to leave and recharge. Of course, this behaviour did nothing to aid my social life. Fully aware, I have been working on it and over the years, I managed to train myself to extend my end-time from 9:30 pm to 10 pm, to 10:30 pm and now, sometimes, till 11 pm.

And the final big question to ask is why am I writing this? I guess in part because I am tired of explaining myself and trying to be understood… I am hoping (and am hopeful!) that this blog post will clear things up once and for all – that even when I am enjoying myself, the call to retreat, to head back to the cave is always lurking in the background, with rarer than rare exceptions.

On my part, I am learning how to cope with this quirk which has earned me much disapproval, this bizarre emotional need that I have, and in good time I do hope to overcome it. Until then, I would really appreciate the understanding that, when I do not talk to you, when I need to leave a party, it is not because I don’t like you or I am not enjoying myself, it is that I have exhausted all emotional energies and can no longer manage a social setting.

From the modern cave woman. 🙂

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