Introverted Extrovert

I am addicted to personality tests, or at least I used to be. If someone said, ‘take this personality test to reveal….’ I was on it like a car bonnet.
I would then rally the troop. I wanted everyone I knew to take it too. All my loved ones. I am not sure if it is because I love self-development or if I love to learn what makes people tick. But I love it.

When I was younger, these tests would come back as an extrovert. What I have noticed is as I get older and maybe even more self-aware, I am becoming more introvert.
I wondered if this is because my tribe gets smaller as I have gotten older. Perhaps I am not a fan of people or because of certain experiences I have become more introvert. Not being a fan of people is NOT it.
As I look back on my life, I think I have always been an introverted extrovert. I do get my energy from people, not the energy draining vampires, but the high vibe people. I get my energy from being on stage or talking to people who I connect with. I also need to be alone. However, if I am alone for too long, I become a depressed hermit.
Is it possible to be an introverted extrovert?
Let me tell you about a recent experience where this became abundantly clear. I went to an event by myself with about 400 other people. I was nervous. I absolutely hate these scenarios, but I felt like I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am not opposed to risks, getting out of my own way, being uncomfortable. However, this… This was like pushing me out of a plane without a parachute.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always been one to talk to people….. if they start talking to me FIRST. I absolutely hate small talk. I hate striking up a conversation. It feels so disingenuous and inauthentic for me. You may relate, you may not.
This is where I rely on my partner to talk to random people first, then I chime in. He has a gift for chatting and making people laugh. He has that high vibe, genuine connection over small talk. I don’t get it. However, if I can get some small talk out of the way, I am in. We are friends. I build my relationships this way. I ask questions, I want to know you. I try not to be inappropriate with my questioning, but I believe that is why being a life coach just fits. I ask questions and listen.
Anyway, back to this event. When I was sitting at the table and speakers were on the stage, I felt fine. It was the beginning, breaks, and lunch that I hated. It was awful, uncomfortable. Most people knew someone.
I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. So much so that I skipped the last day and drove home. Those who know me, even my fiancé said, “I am so surprised at this.” I understand why he would say this. I am an extrovert. I love being on stage, I love being around people (for the most part), I love connecting. I am not quiet, and I have never been told I am meek. I can talk to anyone right? NOPE.
Remember, I love personal development, self-development, diving deep into the human behaviour.
So, I had to reflect on this event and my feelings around it. What was it about me, an extrovert who gets their energy from people, become an introvert who hates these settings with such a passion that I leave early, no matter that I paid a pretty penny for this event?

Then it hit me, I am an introverted extrovert. I am an extrovert in some arenas and an introvert in others. But what made me so uncomfortable?
I was triggered. It reminded me of church. Yes church. I remember as an adult visiting churches. My ex-husband and I visited different churches, if he was speaking or we were ‘church shopping.’ It was by far the worst social experience of my life. Some of the smaller churches would make you stand up and wave, “We have some visitors today…” Then you think “Oh shit!” Then of course after the worship music ended, the pastor would get up and ask you to shake the person’s hand or greet others around you.
“Oh shit.”
However, that wasn’t the worst part of the experience. The worst part is after the service when coffee and cookies are served. Everyone knows each other. They’re all sitting around in their respective circles. Thousands of kids are running around out of control and there you are, the two of you standing there talking to each other and wishing you could run to the exit, and no one would see you, or worst-case scenario the ground would swallow you up. Actually, that would be the best-case scenario. If only!

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, count your freaking lucky stars!

As I reflected, I realised I have a few lessons I had learned from this experience.
1) I do not like going to large events alone. I won’t do it again and that’s ok!
2) If someone is alone at an event, I will speak to them. Even if I hate that initial conversation.
3) You can be an extrovert and still be very much an introvert in certain settings.
4) It’s ok to NOT always push yourself into uncomfortable situations to ‘grow.’
5) I prefer smaller groups!

Am I alone in this? I don’t think so.