While introverts are often typecast as people who are quiet, shy, and prefer to spend their nights sitting at home, those descriptors don’t fit every introverted person. In fact, when it comes to being an introvert, it’s not all about being alone. Grotto writer and licensed therapist Krista Steele is a self-proclaimed outgoing introvert, and she shares some insights on what this means — as well as the challenges it brings.
If you consider yourself an outgoing introvert, keeping these things in mind can benefit both your relationships with others and your own emotional and mental health.
Know your limits — and respect them.
One of the challenges of being an outgoing introvert is that you thoroughly enjoy social outings, even to the point of planning and organizing them, but you can only take so much before your mind and body need a break. Krista shares, “While the outgoing part of us loves the excitement, the introverted part of us is wearing down and is looking forward to the next opportunity to recharge.”
With this mind, if you’re organizing or attending a social gathering, be sure to plan time before or afterward (or both!) to recharge. As Krista emphasizes, people who are introverts need to know their limits and recognize when it’s time for a break. “We need downtime to rest and recover from too much excitement and social time,” she shares.
That may mean going on a solo-walk to decompress after a gathering, or spending time in your room with your headphones on to block out the rest of the world for a few minutes before a social event. And if the gathering’s at your house, do yourself and your guests a favor by setting an end-time. It’s hard to be a good host when your body and brain are depleted!
Prioritize one-on-one time with friends.
At the end of the day, it’s those one-on-one conversations that make the biggest difference in building relationships — for anyone. But it’s important for introverts, especially, to get that face-to-face time with loved ones.
This may mean deliberately planning more intimate gatherings, or even just a night out for dinner with one good friend. Or it could even be as simple as carving out one-on-one time with friends at social gatherings. Making time for those individual connections can offer introverts the opportunity to engage in social circles while not completely depleting themselves. As Krista shares, “Spending quality face-to-face time with the people we love most is kind of like being alone, but with you.”
Find the balance that works for you.
There is not one right way to be an introverted person. There’s not even a universal list of rules when it comes to being an outgoing introvert. As Krista admits, “There’s this kind of unwritten hierarchy of what fills us up and what empties us, and it’s always changing.” So what works for you now may be different from what works for you 10 years from now. As your life changes, your social circles change, too. And with that, your social patterns may change as well.
At the end of the day, the only thing you can return to for guidance is balance. So for every social gathering you attend, you may need to find time to “balance yourself back out” — as Krista says — with some peace and quiet. How much time you need and how exactly you spend that time is up to you. What’s important is that you take the time to refuel yourself.
Whether you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, invest in becoming aware of what you need to take care of yourself. Understanding that you’re a complex and unique human being first, regardless of whether you consider yourself an extrovert or introvert, can help you better take care of yourself.