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Are You an Introvert That
Others View as an Extrovert?

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

As with any dual classification system (smart-stupid, shy-bold), most people don’t clearly fit into one category, even when others think they do. You may be a smart psychologist, yet a really stupid physicist. (Umm, do you imagine I’m talking about me?) Or, you may be shy in one environment, bold in another.

This is because personality traits exist on a spectrum of contexts. Though some people fall closer to the extremes, most of us are somewhere in the middle. Hence, though others may perceive you as an extrovert, you alone – since you know what’s going on inside of you – may identify yourself as an introvert.

If this describes you, read on:

  1. You enjoy spending time with others. But every night? Not a chance. It’s simply too much people time, not enough alone time (which is precious to you).
  2. Yakety, yak, yak small talk drains your energy. You may look like you’re at ease, but on the inside, you’re just trying to figure out how to make a quick exit.
  3. In contrast to small talk, in-depth talk on topics that interest you revs up your energy. When you’re with people you relate to, chatting away on topics that interest you, you appear to be an extrovert. Indeed, you may even enjoy being the center of attention.
  4. Calm environments appeal to you. Loud noise, frenetic energy and lots of people make you uncomfortable. That’s when you just want to get out of there and go home to some peace and quiet.
  5. You often feel anxious before an event, worrying about who will be there, whom to talk to, what to wear, etc. etc. That anxiety may stretch out to the event itself. Yet, as the evening progresses, you warm up to people. If they seem truly interested in you, you reveal more of who you really are.
  6. Though you like people, you don’t have loads of friends like extroverts do. Only a few friends. But that’s fine with you. You don’t need lots of people in your life. Just a few special ones will do.
  7. When people cancel plans, you may actually feel more relief than disappointment. You now have free time and you don’t have to worry about the details of getting together, especially if it’s a large social engagement. Plus, you’ll have more time alone or with that special someone in your life to do what you want to do.

If you’re relating to this description of introverts whom people mistakenly view as extroverts, know that there’s a word to describe you. No, it’s not confused; it’s an ambivert. Not a total introvert or extrovert but someone in the middle. A good place to be, I would think, as most extremes create problems both for themselves and others. So smile, amiable ambivert - appreciate who you really are!

Copyright © 2018: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.
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