Extroverted Introverts

One of my facebook friends recently posted this online article called “18 Struggles of Having An Outgoing Personality But Actually Being Shy & Introverted“.

After reading the article, I felt certain points rang true for me.

“#17. You prefer to travel alone, but meet up with people once you’re there.”

  • Every single month, I try to visit my sister in Houston.  At the end of this year, I plan on driving to California (a total of 21 hours of driving) all by myself.  As an introvert, I don’t view long road trips as a daunting or dreadful task.  I look forward to them and try to make the drive as enjoyable as can be, by burning some new songs, downloading some new audiobooks, or making some few scenic stops along the way.

“#16. You’re at your happiest in places like coffee shops and cafés: surrounded by people, but still closed off and keeping to yourself.”

  • I always bring my headphones while I’m at Starbucks.  That way, I can be around a full coffee shop and still feel excluded.  I frequent Starbucks at least once a week and always feel productive when I’m there.  I guess a small part of me enjoys seeing people coming and going.  And a big part of me revels in the seclusion that is promised to me while I drown myself in my music.

  “#7. Dating is weird, because you’re smiling and laughing and talkative at dinner, and then you don’t want to answer their texts for four days, because like, you just want to be left alone…”

  • My alone time can sometimes be mis-interpreted as a lack of interest in the opposite sex.  I remember my last girlfriend wanted to break up with me because she didn’t even feel like we were dating.  I guess I enjoyed my alone time too much.  There are times where I get too comfortable in my personal space, that I forget about the other person.

“#4. When you do choose to grace a party with your presence, you are the life of it. You’re dancing on the table and doing body shots until 3 a.m.”

“# 5. … You then retreat into three days of complete solitude to recover.”

  • Well I can’t really relate to #4, but I had to include it so you guys could get #5.
  • I remember we had a family get together at my grandpa’s house.  Tons of family members I haven’t seen or talked to in a while.  After it ended, I went home and retreated into my bedroom.  My cousin TA knocked on my door and told me I HAD to come out and join her and my bro Nghia.  They were doing some quality cousin bonding time and wanted me to join them.  I thought about how much time I had already spent socializing with people and decided not to join them.  I could tell TA was disappointed, but she understood and left me alone after that.

“#2. At any given point, you have one (maybe two) best friends who are your entire life. You’re not a ‘group of friends’ person. You can’t keep up with all that.”

  • There are usually two people who know what’s happening in my life.  Those two people are my cousin TA and my brother Henry.  I regularly talk with them and when we talk, we engage in deep conversations about life in general.  Everyone else is in the dark.  I had a couple of friends in the past who I could connect with, but most of them are introverts like me, so it can be challenging for two introverts to initiate anything between each other.
  • The best way people can keep connected with me is through facebook or my blog.  More so my blog because I’m willing to talk about anything and everything, as long as I find it entertaining.  When I’m by myself, it’s easier to open up.   And once I’ve committed something into writing, I rarely have any regrets in sharing that part of my life.

“#1. You’re not anti-social, you’re selectively social.”

  • I think we all have a mix of introvert/extrovert in all of us.  Some of us are extremely balanced such as being 50/50 (introvert/extrovert).  My cousin TA is probably 20/80 (introvert/extrovert), since she enjoys being with people so much, but I do notice once every blue moon she just doesn’t want to see anyone.  I on the other hand would probably rate myself at 70/30.  I can live without seeing people all the time, but my life would become meaningless really quick if I was alone all the time.
  • I chose the ratio of 70% introverted to 30% extroverted, because my need to be alone is much more important than my need to be with others.
    • I describe my introvert/extrovert balance having resemblance to our digestive process.  People spend anywhere from 1/2 hour or more eating food.  After that it takes about 5-7 hours to completely digest your food.  Whenever I hangout with people, it’s a process of eating for me.  My brain is slowly chewing on everything that is happening.  The more I hangout with people, the more fuller my brain gets.  It can get to a point where I socialize so much that my brain becomes fried and unwilling to socialize anymore.  That’s when my brain craves for space, for some alone time, for a personal break so I can digest what just happened.
    • I find that life is meaningless unless I have the opportunity to sit back and “digest” all that happened.  People say that I think too much and I bet I do, but for me when I’m reflecting on the past, I get so much enjoyment from it that it’s hard to stop.  As someone who leans towards the introvert side, I don’t really experience life when it happens.  There is too much happening for my brain to make sense of what’s happening.  I experience life after it happens, when I’m all alone and staring out into space.
  • I’ve stated that my cousin TA is 20/80 (introvert/extrovert) while I’m almost the complete opposite with 70/30 (introvert/extrovert).  Yet we are best friends, how do we do it?
    • On paper, there should be conflicting issues with two personalities that are bi-polar to each other.  Some would say that with TA’s huge social circle, I would get tired from going to all those social functions.  At the same time, if I insist on my introverted ways, shouldn’t TA get tired of asking me to hangout only to get rejected?
    • There’s a quote people throw around that says opposites attract.  In our case, I think we’ve just found a good balance.  The great thing about being a socially outgoing person is you literally have no trouble finding new friends.  Over the years, I’ve seen my cousin’s social circle expand from one group (church friends) to four (church + college + high school re-union + co-workers friends).  If she’s not hanging with one group, she has three others to choose form.  Sometimes she’ll include me in one their groups outings.  There are weeks, where I’ll hangout with all four group of friends on four different occasions.
    • Because I know she has tons of friends, there’s no pressure for me to drop everything and go hangout with her.  I go whenever I feel like it, but when I don’t feel like going she gets it.  That’s one of the perks of being best friends with someone who has such a huge social circle.  On the other hand, there are times when most of her friends aren’t free for whatever reason.  She knows she can always fall back on me to have a chill night together.  Since my social life is somewhat non-existent, I rarely have anything that I can’t re-schedule.  Most of my plans consist of grabbing coffee and reading a book, or go to library and write my blog, or hit the gym.  I can easily move those things around and go chill with her for the evening.


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One thought on “Extroverted Introverts

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