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Introverts Are Extroverts When They’re Relaxed

Introverts are just as special as extroverts

Introverts and extroverted, eh?

So, which one are you?

And which of them is the most popular?

Jeez, is popular full stop!

C’mon, let’s run with the stereotype a while:

Mr or Ms Extrovert arrives with their own jazz band playing, all 4th of July razzmatazz and buzz.

A jivin’ and a high-fivin’.

Smiles all round.

Here come the good times!

And where’s Little Miss Introvert, or her bloke equivalent?

Oh, that’s them in the corner in their carefully non-descript hoodies, shoulders hunched, thinking everyone is looking at them and that no-one is looking at them.

Hanging with a scattering of the other no-mates.

Boring!

Want to be the life and soul, but haven’t got the bottle.

Except maybe when they consume one. Or ten.

And they hate Mr and Ms Extrovert but would give anything to be them.

To fit in. To be popular …

So, to sum up, then: Extrovert=popular; Introvert=unpopular

I was watching a really interesting discussion on Irish TV the other night.

It was an RTE programme called Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge, where said O’Connor discusses topical issues with a different panel of three each week.

This week’s guests included a woman I hadn’t heard of, Jess Kelly, who is the technology correspondent with Irish independent radio station Newstalk.

The ultimate nerd do well. Boom boom!

Informing us she had turned 30 this year, Kelly spoke about this being the year she had come to acknowledge – and own – her personality type, which she described as introverted.

And she was brilliant … engaging, honest, funny and eloquent, as she spoke about such things as being happy to go along to social events on the strict understanding that she will enjoy as much of them as she can stand until she has to bale out.

‘No-craic (fun) Kelly,” they call me, she explained with a laugh.

Because, as she put it – and I don’t know who she was quoting, “Introverts run on rechargeable batteries while extroverts run on solar panels”.

Interpret that as you like: I see it as the one feeds perpetually on social energy, the other can enjoy it too, but at a certain point they reach overload, or maximum charge, and have to withdraw from the world, a little, in order to let those batteries recharge.

Kelly talked of such things as psyching herself up before joining the crowd at social events, which would be regular enough in her line of work.

She would enjoy them, but there would come a point where, for her emotional well-being, she would have enough and would leave.

Simple.

Simple now, but of course, it had not always been so easy.

She spoke about how both the recognition of who and what she is, and the way to function in a way she feels comfortable with, came almost like a revelation to her.

And as a blessed relief.

I’m sure at this point many of you, like me, with introvert tendencies – a hell of lot more people than many of us realise, I reckon – will be thinking of all the situations where the introverted side of ourselves has felt obliged to follow the crowd, even when our very spirit and soul were crying out no, no, no!

And how we would have talked down this call to flight, for all sorts of reasons.

The assumption, of course, that we would be letting people down, or people would think we were “no-craic” because we were not skulling drinks and dancing on the table-tops.

I can recall so vividly the experience of standing outside a stomping pub or nightclub I had just left, and that beautiful feeling of tie-loosening relief and tranquility, even, descending on me as I looked around and took in every detail of the largely silent city street.

The crushed chrysalis of my conformity cracking open as my wings of freedom extended up and out, gleaming in the magic streetlight.

The most annoying stereotype is that introverts are shy. We’re not, necessarily, if you bloody extroverts would just shut up for a while, stopped hogging the attention!

I’m extroverted. With some people.

I’m extroverted when I am relaxed.

I close down with others. Do enough to get by. And get the hell out of there.

I look at my son and daughter.

She is more directed outwardly towards other people, and has a large bunch of really nice friends.

And I have seen my son cut himself up about not being more popular, when in fact he is, A, more popular than he would acknowledge, and B, he is a boy who will be really comfortable in his own skin when he realises that he is comfortable in his own skin.

He works things out for himself, and is a deep young adolescent, sensitive and kind. And actually he does not need the constant affirmation that extroverts appear to crave.

This might be fanciful but I think of a line from Radiohead’s song Creep which captures, for me, the introvert’s condition.

We want to be noticed and regarded the same as everyone else, it’s just

“I want you to notice
When I’m not around”

But I disagree with Thom Yorke too.

We introverts are not creeps, or weirdos,

We do belong here.

We are special … so f***ing special!

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99 comments on “Introverts Are Extroverts When They’re Relaxed

  1. Seán Mac Aoire

    What is the sound of a chord being struck? Is it like the sound of one hand clapping? Or is it when accord is reached with what one reads? In this case a veritable cacophony of striking chords clamour for my attention as I read your piece. An interesting read, to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daydreamer mum

    Fantastic!! Yes to this ! I have only the last year or so started saying no to going to events etc I don’t want to do and it is such a relief !! As you say , and I try to tell people this but I don’t think they believe me , relaxed is key!!! Around the right people , relaxed I can chat and be passionate and love company !! Wrong company, I’m probably a bit of a miserable cow!#globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you are right about your son. I taught teenagers for 30+ years. Boys grow up slightly more slowly than girls and it takes them longer to be comfortable in their own skin (on average). I was fortunate enough to be teaching some of them the year they “bloomed”. Nothing better than to see a youngster come into the year slightly sullen and withdrawn and metamorphose into a happy, confident person by the end of the year.

    And I think introvert/extrovert labeling is somewhat false to begin with. I think we all have some of both tendencies, depending on the circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with have aspects of both, but I do think we are predominantly one, Laurie. I bet it was wonderful to see your boy pupils “come good”, as it were

      Like

  4. Karen Dennis

    Thanks for clarifying my way of thinking #anythinggoes@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I ran a workshop (and I used the term advisedly) for a group of 180 iGenners from all over Europe recently and one of them told me that I if feel like an introvert (which I do) but am perceived as an extrovert (which I am), then I’m most likely an ambivert – like to be with people, but also like to be by myself. A new one on me…
    #

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lucy At Home

    This sounds oh so familiar, especially the bit about being an extrovert in the right company. I often feel frustrated with myself that there are some people that I just shut down around – it’s not a conscious decision, but, try as I might, I can’t relax, and my personality dries up completely. But if they’d give me a chance…

    Great writing, as always, Enda

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post. I think most people are a mix of the two – different situations may bring out one side or the other 🙂 #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tracey Carr

    You hit the nail on the head there Enda when you say ‘I’m extroverted when I’m relaxed’ – that’s exactly how I feel. But there are so many situations where I don’t feel relaxed so I made a conscious decision to not put myself into those situations anymore. And if that means I come across as a bore well I don’t care anymore! #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am a total introvert and very happy with it. Extroverts are energised by being around people and introverts are energised by being alone. #anythinggoes

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like they say, Josie, whatever works, works! Thanks for commenting

    Like

  11. I’m quite glad to be an introvert. I look at the extroverts being cool all the time and think they must be exhausted being that cool constantly. #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m an introvert, I probably need to be very very relaxed to break out of it, which doesn’t happen very often as I’m quite happen being the way I am…and yes, it took about 30 years (maybe 40) to realise it. It does make you wonder about your kids though, I love it when they are so young that it doesn’t matter if they are either, but it’s so hard once they get to the tween/teen stage and they have to decide which they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anita Faulkner - Brazen Mummy Writes

    Fantastic post. My thoughts are provoked! I love the thing about the rechargeable batteries. I’m definitely one of those sorts, although some people drain them more than others! If you’re with your soul people, #It’sOK.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post. I’m wondering if people can be an extrovert when they are young, but vecone an introvert as they get older. I’m pretty sure that I used to be very sociable, but now I never seem to know what to say abd am ru Bush at small talk #ItsOK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much … I do think we can vary a bit, obviously, with moods and circumstances, but we are more one than the other. Sometimes other people just don’t do it for us!! Anyway, what’s wrong with introverted!!!

      Like

  15. So very true. That is so me. When I am relaxed I can actually talk but it takes me a lot of time to get that way. #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Very clearly put and easy to understand X #dreanteam #trimphanttales

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Enda, I love this post. I’m a definite introvert, but like Jess Kelly I can act like an extrovert when the situation calls for it but then I must go recharge my battery alone. If you’ve not heard of the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) over there, do look into it. You’ll be fascinated, and you can determine which of the 8 different types of introvert you are. #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jean … thank you for your comment. I must look up Myers-Briggs … sounds interesting. I’m a bit afraid to find out where i am on the scale, though!!

      Like

  18. Oh yeah! I resonate with this so much. I need to psych myself up for social interactions. I enjoy as much as I can and then I bail. But with the people with whom I’m comfortable, you’d never guess I’m an introvert!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. twicemicrowavedtea

    “Introverts run on rechargeable batteries while extroverts run on solar panels” – I love this quote! I’d class myself as an introvert and I hate being the centre of attention, but put me in a group of people I know well and am comfortable with, and you’d be unable to shut me up! #abitofeverything

    Like

  20. Karen Dennis

    After reading this, I have decided that I must be an introvert #,thatfridaylinky @_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Excellent post. I would say I am an introvert but with the right people nobody would know that and I am much more outgoing. I am very happy in my own company but with certain people I do become extroverted and I do wonder why that is. It must be because I am so relaxed with them #pocolo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do think it has a lot to do with being relaxed … real friends are like rechargers, whereas other people actually drain said batteries, I guess! Thanks, Louisa

      Like

  22. Love the analogy of being a solar panel versus a rechargable battery. Like you, I am probably an extrovert with the people who know me well. But I quite enjoy being an introvert with strangers. It gives me a chance to watch and take everything in. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  23. As ever Enda, a superbly written and thought provoking post. Not sure where I sit on this spectrum but I think others might describe me as extroverted whereas at times I just want to be introverted! Oh it’s all so confusing.

    Like

  24. Oh yes. The misconception about introverts being shy. Not true. I’m an introvert but not shy. Like the idea of rechargeable batteries versus solar panels. Where would the world be without a balance of introverts and extroverts? #wotw

    Like

    • Hi Cheryl, thanks for stopping by! You are so right, there is room – and a need – for both extremes and all those in between!

      Like

  25. I am most definitely an introvert and I am shy until I get to know someone and feel comfortable around them but I don’t stand a chance when extroverts are all up in everyone’s face though. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I genuinely do not know which I am, I can be a bit of both. Is there a name for that? (I do like to be complicated)

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Just returning back from #wotw X

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I am an extrovert, some would even say excessively so. However, my best friend in the whole world since childhood is an extreme introvert. We get along so well because we end up balancing each other out. She calms me down and I bring out her out. I think we definitely need both in this world, and I’d be happy to hang out with you Enda – until you kick me out so you can have a quiet moment to relax! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I never doubted your extroversion, not even for a nanosecond, Heather😀. But you are the extrovert who gives extroversion a good name. Like you say, you balance out the world. You get that party started … And keep it going! May your solar panels never run out!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. They have a third kind that is recognized (somewhat) here in the states. Ambivert. It’s a combination of the two. I fit into that category as I more social that other introverts I know. However, after reading your post and seeing the quote about rechargeable batteries and solar panels, I definitely fit more into the introvert category. I can be very social when I am around people I know and love. I can be social around strangers depending on the social situation but all of these, after a while, I really need to go be alone somewhere and recharge. This is a great post! It helps me with my own understanding of who I am. Thank you! #anythinggoes

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Michelle. I have heard that term ambivert. I guess we are all a combination of the two, but with a strong leaning towards one or the other. Thanks for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m definitely an introvert but I’m certainly not shy, I have an outward confidence but inside I’m not that confident at all. Lots of extroverts that I know are consumed with fear about what people think of them, I think we are all a mix of each personality. Great post, it’s really got me thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I definitely count myself as an introvert. Happiest in my own tightknit group but love being online and ‘meeting’ others without having to cope with being social face to face. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Like

  32. Thank you, Laura

    Like

  33. It’s an interesting thing – a lot of actors and musicians are introverted when not on stage and then the other extreme when performing….#KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very true about many performers. I have really been syruck by that meeting the odd performer after a gig or show, Thanks for commenting

      Like

  34. I like this – there are some interesting thoughts here on what it means to be introverted or extroverted. I think most of us are a bit of both – it depends on the situation. I like the analogy of introverts running on rechargeable batteries and extroverts on solar panels – that’s a good way to describe it as is introverts becoming extroverts when they’re relaxed. We all have situations where we open up a little more. #ablogginggoodtime #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  35. fab post – i’m a bit of both really. like you say, it really depends on the company! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Thanks for linking up to #wotw Enda I can see you’ve had a few of my regulars stop by and that you’ve been reading their posts too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I am a bit of both, I guess. Mostly extrovert but I can choose when to be an introvert too; especially when I want some peace and quiet #itsok

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Such an important topic to discuss and respect. I take a very long time to warm up and feel comfortable around people. Possibly why blogging is so much easier for me than attending a parenting group. I suspect my eldest will be the same. Time will tell.
    #itsok

    Liked by 1 person

  39. What a great post. i think most people are a mix of the two. i know i am.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. I can totally relate about being extrovert with people I know but not with those I don’t, I am not shy but definitely reach party saturation point before most people and need to withdraw. From the comments it seem like there are many of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. This “I close down with others. Do enough to get by. And get the hell out of there.” is 100% me! I end up getting comments like, you’re not shy, what’s wrong with you, you’re not like this at home. This post makes so much sense to me! #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I’m very much an introvert who can be extroverted. If you saw me in my steampunk attire, or down the pub with friends you might very well assume im an extrovert, but I need time on my own to decompress after any social interaction. Its taken me years to accept this, but I think ive finally got a good balance going.

    #abitofeverything

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would be pretty much the same … with some people gregarious, with others, very different. And decompression is very important. But, as Tom Petty said, “Coming down is the hardest thing” sometimes too! Tricky blighters, people!

      Like

  43. mackenzieglanville

    Most people have assumed I am an extrovert, in high school I was in the so called popular crowd and seen as a snob but I was just too scared to talk to most people because I hated myself and especially through my late teens early 20’s where I was drowning in alcohol just to get to an event! When I met my now hubby (we have lots of mutual friends) they were so sure we wouldn’t make it, in fact they are adamant that I was way to outgoing for him, the truth is he was the first guy I could be myself with, the first person I ever felt like I wasn’t an actress with. Even now people seemed shocked that I am an introvert unless they know me really well, because at events and school drop off etc I am talkative, funny, and get a lot of attention. I have always had a large group of friends yet only a handful know the true me. I became so good at being an actress, and inside I was dying, my anxiety was growing and ultimately I broke down. Now I openly let people know I need to go off and recharge, I say I need alone time! I can not function without my space! A girlfriend brought me an introverts anonymous badge and I am proud to wear it. My hubby is an introvert, so are all 3 children. Oh and for the record I am still so in love with the man that no one thought I could really be into! Such an awesome post!!!!! Thank you for linking up and sharing your awesome self with us #ABloggingGoodTime

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is an interesting aspect of all this, how people can appear to be one thing and be something else entirely. I am sure a lot of people would identify with what you describe, MacKenzie, “acting” out a part rather than actually being true to oneself. And the relief when we can finally be confident enough, or relaxed enough to just be ourselves! Thanks so much for your fascinating and insightful comment

      Like

  44. Pingback: A Blogging Good Time - reflections from me

  45. What an interesting and great post. Definitely some food for thought here xx #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  46. I love this post. I class myself as an introvert and agree with all your points, with some people and one on one I am an extrovert. Interacting with people is something I have work at all the time and doesn’t come naturally but it doesn’t mean we are no fun. I love nothing more than being home alone in my own space. #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I am undeniably an introvert and it’s hard for people to really get to know me and break through my shell. And it was always something I berated myself for and put pressure on myself to be more outgoing. #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have to be true to ourselves, I guess, Ruth. But don’t be so hard on yourself if you are only being yourself! Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  48. I’m neither. I have anxiety and social phobia and just don’t like people but can and will be outgoing when I need or want to be. #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Enda to set the scene to my comment, our daughter is 16 and we are banished to the front room – whilst she and her buddies make lots of noise and upset the neighbours and it is the perfect time to read a post about being an introvert or extrovert as I have spent the afternoon and early evening fascinated by the various teenagers – nothing quite like a bit of people watching. I think we all have a foot in both camps and what we are so depends on the situation, our mood and the people around us. I consider myself social but so crave my own company and am very good at ignoring social interaction for some time if I feel like it much to the annoyance of my husband and both my teens are exactly the same. My daughter is way more social than my son in that she just adapts and talks to anyone based on the situation she is in whereas my son will withdraw completely if he doesn’t feel the vibe of the people in the room so to speak. A bit of a wine induced tangent but watching the eclectic mix of teens invading our space today I think everyone is the same – some dominate but being high octane for a long time is hard work so they have to withdraw eventually and then there are those who naturally withdraw but in a group of people they like blossom into the biggest extroverts. Great piece and as I said perfect timing for me today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jo, it really is fascinating for us too when K’s pals come around, and to watch the way they behave, and to see how our girl interacts with her peers. Our girl is quite the extrovert – as she was as a pre-teen girl — but we have not seen a lot of that from here in recent times! The same girl often snarls at us, or responds with a syllalable or two, but can appear on stage and sing solo in front of a crowd. Something her dad, for one, would not even countenance if he could sing!

      Like

  50. If I had to choose I would say I was more of an introvert although I think I am more of an inbetweener. I am neither introvert or extrovert I am a little bit of both and probably quite distinctly average! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

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