Saturday, 4 February 2017

Is there such a thing as a shy extrovert?

I read recently these two lines:

Embarrassment is a progenitor of low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is one probable cause of why a person is introverted.

I read these sentences in this book and I thought of a couple of things. The author writes about introversion and shyness.

First of all many people believe that introversion and shyness are the same thing and they are not. As Susan Cain, the patron saint of introverts says in her Ted Talk, shy people are fearful of social judgement while introverts are energised by some alone time or with one or two good friends.

It is possible to be a shy extrovert though. We have this image of extroverts as confident, party going, dancing on the bar, yahooing people and in some cases that is true (I'm thinking of one person in particular when I write that) but not all people who are extroverts (remember, an extrovert is someone who is stimulated by being in social situations. i.e. parties, events, concerts etc) are comfortable in these situations. They might want to be at a party but once they get there they find it difficult to talk to anyone. They are energising by the music and people around the place and smoke and the food but once they get with a group they find it difficult.

What are the signs that you are a shy extrovert?

There are a few:

1. They like to be at the party but they find it difficult to engage with people.

As I said above, these people are energised by the business and the loud music but when it comes to making conversation, they find it difficult. Another example would be a guy going to the bar and having a good time with his mate or mates but when it comes to flirting with women they find it very difficult to.

I have been in this situation many times. I remember one woman was giving me the come hither look at a nightclub a few years ago and all I did was nothing. Maybe I smiled a couple of times. The look she gave me when she left the nightclub that night was the proverbial 'if looks could kill.'

2. A shy extrovert is someone who loves the big party or the nightclub.

They are able to blend into the surroundings and as you can see in my previous example they might not necessarily talk to anyone but they are comfortable. The quieter events are more stressful for a shy extrovert because they are scared that they might be put on the spot. It is sort of the same kind of fear that people have of public speaking.

By the way, if you fear public speaking and you would like to get better at that I suggest Toastmasters. You can read more about it here or here.

3. Shy extroverts don't need constant conversation.

You will find the more 'pure' extrovert can not stand the lull in conversation and they have to fill that gap with talk that to the introverted might sound like 'pure bullsh*t.'

It can be really tiring to listen to someone who either loves the sound of their own voice or just doesn't have an off button. You never know when you will get a chance to say anything or when they might finish. This is where knowing how to eject yourself from the conversation is very important.

4. Shy extroverts love to have long conversations.

 I've done it myself at events or the like where I have met someone interesting, usually they are standing by themselves looking nervous, so you go up  and say hi. Most of the time they are pleased to hear from you and will engage you in conversation.

I remember at an embassy event a few years ago introducing myself to a guy I had played cricket against a few years before. I think he was similar to me as talked for about one hour about cricket. It's quite possible that both of us didn't want to go and meet other people as that would have been a hassle.

5. Shy extroverts hate public speaking.

When you are giving a speech or presentation you are the centre of attention and that is just not very comfortable. I've read that the reason why we hate public speaking is that it goes back to the caveman times when humans were prey to all of those nasty carnivores roaming the earth. Imagine the feeling that you are been stalked by a sabre-toothed tiger or something similar, it wouldn't be a very nice experience and this is the same kind of feeling we get when we are public speaking. We are the prey and the audience is the sabre-toothed tiger.

(Not a sabre-toothed tiger but imagine having the feeling that you are being stalked by this fellow. This is the same feeling we get with public speaking.)

6. The recharge time is important. 

Like an introvert, the shy extrovert needs that alone time but not as much. The shy extrovert may want to stay at home on a Saturday night but at about 10pm, they get antsy. They start thinking about the things that they might be missing out on. They then have two options, go out or go to bed to try and get the feeling to go away while asleep.

Don't think that introversion equals shyness and extroversion equals outgoingness. We all have our different switches and it is good to know what those switches are so as to take better care of ourselves and to know when to stay and to know when to go.

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