‘When I’m out with you, I’m all in. I can dance, wine taste, make small talk. But then I’m done. I have an escape plan.’: Woman explains difficulties of being an ‘extroverted introvert’ during the holiday season

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“I am an extroverted introvert when it comes to friendships.

What does that mean, exactly? Some people call it an ‘outgoing introvert’ or a ‘social introvert.’ Some people think it’s an oxymoron and not actually a real thing. ‘You’re either social or not. You can’t be both.’

But I think you can. I know I am.

Being an extroverted introvert means I really like going out and hanging out with people, but it takes me days to recover from it. It means that I can have so much fun with people I love, but then need to lay around on the couch afterwards to recoup from the mental toll it takes to be around a ton of others.

People exhaust me…even when I love and adore them. And I mean, I love and adore my people. But yet they can still drain me!

When I’m out with you, I’m all in.

I can dance, I can wine taste, I can stroll through a town, and I can be the bubbly and fun-loving friend you need. I can make small talk with just about anyone. I find people so intriguing and genuinely enjoy getting to know others. I can have fun with just about anyone at a party and truly enjoy myself. You could bring me along to any social setting and I could make at least a few friends while I’m there. I could also people watch for hours. Human beings really are so captivating.

But yet, the energy it takes to be around big groups of people can be exhausting. It’s almost like I have to schedule out these social events and then schedule alone time afterwards. My energy can be totally depleted after a night out. It’s like I go from 100 to 0 in a matter of hours, unless I prepare myself to last longer than that. I can have so much fun, but yet be so drained at the same time.

I can only be social for a set amount of time.

If that time is up, I have an escape plan. Heck, I have an escape plan before we even hangout because I know the guilt and anxiety will be lingering when it’s time to say goodbye. I know some people could go on and on all night, but once I’ve hit my limit, I’m down for the count. Sometimes it can be frustrating when I know everyone else is ready for round 5 or 6. But I gave all I had during round 1-3.

For instance, when my husband Tim drinks he becomes an energizer bunny. He gains more and more energy the longer the night goes on. Me? The more I drink, the more tired I become. Once I hit that wall, there is no turning back! I am done done done.

So how does this all work out in friendships, really?

I’m the kind of friend that isn’t going to always reach out to hangout. It’s not that I don’t want to hangout, it’s just that I’m doing just fine over here in my own home, hibernating. I feel like I can come across as someone who ‘doesn’t care’ or is a bit of a loner. I do care, I just have intermittent doses of energy to show it. I’m constantly thinking about and loving those who are close to me, but I don’t outwardly express it as much as I feel it. It’s never this linear expression with me. It can be up and down. And I’m working on that.

Sometimes I read text messages and then don’t respond because I just don’t feel like talking. It definitely makes it seem like I’m avoiding you. But I always respond when I’m ready and feel like I can engage in a meaningful exchange. I wait until you have all of me, not just some of me.

I’m the kind of friend that makes plans with you a month ago when I was feeling really extroverted and then desperately wants to cancel an hour before I’m supposed to meet up with you. I know I’ll have fun! I know it’ll be worth it. But I have to psych myself up for it. Which in the end is ridiculous because I ended up having a blast with you! It seems so silly, but I swear that’s how it happens every. single. time.

I’m the kind of friend that relies on your ability to reach out. I do so much better when you make the plans and I don’t have to think of something for us to do. I don’t know if it’s anxiety or what. But I am your stereotypical ‘girl not picking a restaurant when her boyfriend asks where I want to eat.’ I’d rather you do the picking. I’ll just roll with the punches.

I have a handful of friends I talk to on a regular basis. I crave the connection I share with them and I find so much joy in the meaningful relationship that we have. I’m more of a small knit group type of person rather than a huge social network one.

Because of this, I prefer one on one time.

I can listen to one person talk for hours and give them a true ear to listen to. I’m at my best when I’m with my best friends in the comfort of one of our own homes. The affinity I have to those I really love is truly unbreakable. I can express my true self so much more when I am connecting with someone without the noise of the world around us.

So if you know an extroverted introvert, just know that we love you. We want you to come over and watch Christmas movies with us while we make fancy hot chocolate. We want you to know that we are the best listeners and could do that all day. Ask us to go out and have fun, but know we have a limit. Even though we love you, we can’t do public outings for forever.”

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Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. You can follow her on InstagramDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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