“It’s ok NOT to be ok” my therapist muttered as I broke down in her office….
After years of keeping up appearances, saying “yes” to every invitation, and basically trying to be at every event or party, I found myself face-down on the mat of life, suffering from severe burnout and chronic illness.
It was a humbling experience, to say the least. And the irony? It led me to one of the most crucial revelations of my life: I’m not just an extrovert—I’m an introverted extrovert.
Sound confusing? I had questions too, let’s dig in….
What is an Introverted Extrovert?
An introverted extrovert, sometimes referred to as an “ambivert,” is someone who thrives on social interactions but also craves alone time to recharge.
So, you can’t decide if you’re a party animal or a homebody? Good news: you don’t have to choose. An “introverted extrovert” is the best of both worlds.
Imagine tearing up the dance floor on Friday but needing to chill binge-watching Netflix in your PJs all Saturday to recoup. That’s what life looks like as an introverted extrovert.
As I write this, I’ve decided I’m not leaving the sofa today… I need to relax and recharge after celebrating Oktoberfest all day yesterday. And I can finally give myself permission to do just that!
You get the idea—being an introverted extrovert means that you need to bring balance into your life, and you’ll be happiest when you give yourself permission to both go out and stay in.
My Personal Journey: When Work Fun Wasn’t Really Fun Anymore
Okay, friends, let me take you back to my days in tech marketing. I was the go-to person for planning huge corporate events and managing our digital team.
Sounds fun, right?
Well, let me tell you—it was, but it was also a lot for me! Imagine five days of non-stop talking, meeting people, and wearing those high heels that only look comfortable in pictures. And after all that? Dinners and happy hours! It was non-stop….not to mention I was also training for Ironman and never skipped a workout.
Actually, I never skipped anything. Why? Because I had FOMO—Fear of Missing Out—like you wouldn’t believe. I wanted to be in the action and KNOW everything that was going on with my team and within the company. That’s the control freak in me, I guess?
But here’s the thing: I was tired, you y’all. Like, not just can’t-keep-my-eyes-open, but my soul was tired. (I was burning out…)
Yep, I hit a wall. Chronic illness and severe burnout came into my life like uninvited guests and stopped me in my tracks…
Top 5 Signs You’re an Introverted Extrovert: What to Look For
I learned the hard way, and I don’t wish that experience on anyone! So, how do you know if you’re an introverted extrovert? Here are a few things to keep in mind…
1. Socializing Energizes and Drains You
You love meeting people and do love to connect in social settings. But once it’s done, you feel like you’ve just run a marathon —legs aching, brain foggy, and emotionally spent.
I get it; I’ve been there. I’m one of the first ones to RSVP to social events and dinner parties, because I do love being around people. I enjoy diving into deep conversations, laughing over shared inside jokes, and connecting with friends & family.
But here’s the kicker: the moment I get home, I can’t wait to kick off my shoes, slip into my comfiest PJs, and curl up on the couch with a good book or movie.
I’ve learned the hard way that I need time to recharge and rejuvenate before I’m ready to be social and ‘on’’ again…
2. You Prefer Meaningful Conversations
Small talk? No, thank you. You crave deep, meaningful conversations even when you’re in a large social gathering.
Oh gosh, can we talk about how much small talk makes me want to scream? At parties or events, I’m not the one chatting about the weather or what someone does for a living. I’m the one diving into subjects like the latest book that filled up my soul, or chatting up the highs and lows of life during the past year. Real sh*t!
I’ve been going to more networking and social events lately (now that I’m feeling better- Amen!) But I would rather meet and make one deep and meaningful connection than work the whole room with 20 new acquaintances.
It’s WAY less draining for me… (and actually fills me up instead of depleting)
3. You’re Highly Selective with Your Time
You could be the center of attention at a party one day and ghost everyone the next day because you need your “me time.”
And there’s nothing wrong with that! I remember one weekend when I was the life of the party—literally. I was dancing, laughing, and talking up a storm.
But the very next day?
Radio silence. I turned off my phone, wrapped myself in a cozy blanket, and got lost in binge-watching Sex & The City for the umpteenth time. My friends get confused asking, “Where’d you go?
“Is something wrong!” they texted.
The truth is, while I absolutely love those energetic moments, being “on” but it takes A LOT out of me.
Because of this, I’ve learned to be highly selective with how I spend my time. It’s not about being flaky or inconsistent; it’s about preserving my energy so I can be my best and take care of my introvert-self.
So, if you feel like someone is ghosting you after a night out, don’t take it personally—they might just be taking some well-deserved time to recharge.
4. You Set Boundaries (Reluctantly)
You love helping others but have learned (perhaps the hard way) to say no to conserve your energy.
Oh, setting boundaries—easier said than done, right? I used to be the person who said ‘yes’ to every invitation, favor, or extra task. I wanted to help everyone, be everywhere, and never let people down.
But guess what? I ended up letting myself down because I was chronically drained and overworked – both mentally and physically.
It wasn’t until I hit a wall, and eventually chronic illness, that I realized the importance of the word ‘no.’
It still feels uncomfortable, like I am letting people down. (Yes, I’m a recovering people-pleaser!)
But in reality, saying ‘no’ has allowed me to say a more meaningful ‘yes’ to the things that truly mattered, like my own well-being.
So now, reluctantly, I set boundaries. I’ve learned that it’s not about being selfish; it’s about being self-aware enough to know that I can’t pour from an empty cup.
5. You Feel Misunderstood
People have a tough time pegging you as an introvert or extrovert, leading to a lot of misunderstandings. Sound like you?
Ah, the constant confusion people have trying to label me as either an introvert or an extrovert—it’s like a never-ending game of guess-the-personality-type. (I don’t know why, but everyone wants to put people in a category?)
The truth is, it’s tiring to feel like you’re being put in a box that doesn’t quite fit.
I’ve even had friendships strained because they couldn’t understand why I’d decline a weekend outing just to have some “me” time.
So yes, being an introverted extrovert often leads to misunderstandings, but it’s also led me to be more vocal about my needs and better at explaining the unique blend that is me.
How to Thrive: My Best Tips for Being a Happy Introverted Extrovert
It took me 40 years and suffering severe burnout to finally embrace my identity as an introverted extrovert.
Balancing my extroverted drive with my introverted need for solitude has been a journey of trial and error. However, I’ve learned a few things along the way…
1. Listen to Your Body
When you’re tired, it’s okay to say, “I need a break!” Your body knows what it needs. Listen up!
2. Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
Taking time for yourself isn’t bad. It’s like putting gas in a car; you gotta do it to keep going!
3. Be You, Not Someone Else
You don’t have to be like everyone else. If you wanna stay home, stay home. You do you!
4. Stop the Comparing Game
You might see friends who can do lots of stuff and never get tired. But guess what? You’re not them, and that’s okay!
5. Embrace Both Sides
Being a mix of introvert and extrovert is like having the best of both worlds. You can party and you can chill, and that’s a superpower 🙂
The Wrap: You Do You, Boo!
There’s a certain level of authenticity that comes from really knowing who you are. Take the time to understand yourself, to sit in your own presence and feel comfortable with it.
I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to others or trying to keep up with my extroverted friends.
If there’s one thing I can leave you with, it’s this: understand that the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself. The better you understand what makes you tick, the better you can navigate the complexities of life—burnout included.
Sending you all love, light, and the courage to be your authentic self.
I’m cheering you on…
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