It may sound contradictory to refer to someone as an introverted Extravert. But personality does not exist in absolutes.
Introversion and Extraversion can best be pictured as opposite ends of a personality spectrum. You may be closer to one end than the other, but not 100-percent defined as one or the other.
The introverted Extravert is still on the ‘E’ side of the spectrum, but closer to its middle area than to its edge. Their personality is unmistakably extraverted, but they exhibit certain qualities that show they have an introverted side.
Have you ever felt at least a tinge of uncertainty about your identification as an Extravert? If your answer is ‘yes, I have, because I seem to have some opposite tendencies,’ you just might fall into the introverted Extravert category.
Here are 11 signs that could indicate you belong to this fascinating classification.
#1 You prefer to spend time with a core group of friends and family members
Like all Extraverts, you’re comfortable conversing with a wide range of people, about a broad range of topics. Nevertheless, you have certain friends and family members that are especially close to you, and you will choose their company over others every time. Your discussions with them are more in-depth and intimate and bring you a higher level of satisfaction than socializing in general.
Naturally, even the most extraverted Extravert has some preferences. But the introverted Extravert will go the extra mile to ensure get-togethers with their best friends and most cherished family members comprise the majority of their social interactions.
#2 Conversations can either energize you or wear you out
Extraverts gain energy from virtually all social activities and will usually jump in feet first. Introverts, on the other hand, are more reticent about entering into conversation. They generally adopt a more cautious ‘look before you leap’ approach. They know that some individuals or discussion topics will leave them feeling drained or overwhelmed, and so they take steps to control their exposure to stressful interactions.
If you're an introverted Extravert, you’ll be able to relate to both sides. You genuinely enjoy lively discussions about interesting topics with pleasant people. But there are a few topics and people you prefer to avoid, knowing that they will leave you feeling tired, depressed, and anxious to escape.
#3 You enjoy your private time at home and refuse to sacrifice it for anyone
An introverted Extravert sees their home as a sanctuary. They really enjoy the time they get to spend there, either alone or in the company of loved ones. The environment relaxes and refreshes them, functioning as a rejuvenating complement to their normal activities.
As an introverted Extravert (assuming you are one), you require your privacy and your quiet time. Social connections are important to you, but not so important that you’d sacrifice your home time night after night to make them. You enjoy going to parties, restaurants, or the movies with friends, but not every night (or even most nights) or your life.
#4 You hit your limit a bit more quickly than other Extraverts
Your conversations with friends, family members, new acquaintances, and others may bring you great satisfaction. But only up to a point. You frequently find yourself ready to move on before your conversation partners, secretly hoping to escape from discussions you either initiated or helped keep going.
This mercurial aspect of your extraversion reveals your hidden introverted side. As an introverted Extravert, you are outgoing and friendly as a rule. But your motivation to socialize can fade rapidly if you lose control of a conversation and are forced to stay in it for too long.
#5 You’re more likely to exhibit situational introversion or even shyness
An introverted Extravert may not feel equally comfortable or at home in every social environment. They may struggle a bit to open up or get comfortable when dealing with authority figures, for example. While many Extraverts enjoy public speaking and love being the center of attention, the introverted Extravert may become quite nervous if required to speak in front of a roomful of strangers.
You may show a streak of shyness, if you’re exposed to people who make you anxious or social environments that fall outside your comfort zone. This may not happen very often, but if you’re an introverted Extravert it will likely happen at least on occasion.
#6 You sometimes have to be talked into going to places where you’ll have to socialize
Presumably, Extraverts are willing and eager to go to any social function to which they’ve been invited. But the introverted Extravert is not so predictable. Sometimes they will want to go to the party, the conference, or on the outing with friends. Other times, they will be really reluctant and will have to be talked into going (if they go at all).
Does your motivation to socialize rise and fall in this way? If so, that’s a sure sign you have an introverted side. The good news is that if you do decide to go to a social gathering that you were initially reluctant to attend, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll have a good time in the end. Your initial reticence won’t affect your social performance much once you actually arrive, since starting pleasant conversations is one of your specialties.
#7 You can run out of patience with small talk
As an Extravert you are adept at small talk. You may not love it, but you understand that light and polite conversation works well as an ice-breaker, facilitating a deeper and more satisfying interpersonal connection in the long run.
Introverted Extraverts share this characteristic. However, they tend to lose patience with small talk after a few minutes (is it like this for you?). They like to see conversations progress and touch on deeper and more meaningful topics, which is a trait commonly displayed by introverted types. An introverted Extravert will still prefer small talk over silence in most instances, but if the discussion goes no deeper they will seek a quick escape.
#8 You’re surprisingly moody
People tend to see Extraverts as endlessly effusive and enthusiastic, and always ready to strike up a conversation. With the introverted Extravert, however, things are more complex. They may engage easily in some instances but seem surprisingly reluctant to participate in social exchanges in others. They may even seem grumpy when approached.
If you find that your normal extroversion sometimes gives way to social fatigue, that could be a manifestation of your secret introversion. From time to time you need more space and separation to contemplate and reflect, and your occasional impatience with socializing likely emerges from that need.
#9 Other Extraverts sometimes outdo you
When Extraverts are together, there is usually a lot of fun and laughter and a healthy give-and-take. People take turns leading the conversation and the dynamic is open and exciting.
You’ve undoubtedly experienced this and enjoyed it. But if you’re an introverted Extravert, you may frequently take a less active role in group conversations. Sometimes you prefer to sit back and just listen, concentrating on the contributions of others while being less concerned about your own input. This is a clear indicator that some of your companions are more extraverted than you, as would be expected if you’re an introverted Extravert.
#10 If you can't get a conversation started, you're okay with that
Extraverts try hard to start conversations most everywhere they go. It comes naturally to them, since they crave connections with other people. When others aren't open to their attempts to get a dialogue going, they usually find it disappointing, and will quickly move on to the next person to see if they have more luck.
Interestingly, the introverted Extravert is usually good either way. If the person they try to speak to isn't in the mood for conversation, or is shy and is not comfortable having a discussion with someone they don't know, they won't mind staying silent for a while. They may eventually seek out a new conversation partner, but they usually aren't in any hurry to do so. If you can relate to this, it could be more evidence showing you’re an introverted Extravert.
#11 You’ve been drawn to jobs that are normally most attractive to Introverts
Choosing a career that is popular with Introverts is one of the clearest signs that you’re an introverted Extravert. If you’ve already become or are hoping to become a writer, forest ranger, artist, landscape designer, librarian, organic farmer, or something else that involves working in nature or in a solitary environment, it shows your extraverted side is not completely in charge.
If your career doesn’t offer much opportunity for socializing, it means you’ve prioritized your personal interests over your social needs. Your happiness and contentment obviously don’t require you to indulge your extraversion all the time, although your social life overall is undoubtedly still quite active.
Enjoying the Introverted Extravert Advantage
If you’ve come to the conclusion you’re an introverted Extravert, congratulations! You’ve joined a unique club of people who display a complex range of behaviors and tendencies that can make them fascinating to get to know.
In a sense you can enjoy the best of both worlds. You can rely on your extraverted personality to form a lot of fun and meaningful relationships, while developing greater compassion and understanding for those who are more reserved by acknowledging your own introverted traits. As a friend, family member, partner, or co-worker you have a diverse outlook to bring to the table, which should help you make mutually satisfying connections with just about anyone you choose.