For years now, sh*tty Instagram and tumblr pages have been getting the definitions of Extrovert and Introvert all the way wrong. So let's break it down:
Extrovert: Someone who needs to emotionally and spiritually recharge with people.
Introvert: Someone who needs to emotionally and spiritually recharge away from people.
The meanings for introvert and extrovert have nothing to do with your like or dislike of social interactions or meeting new people, so there is no way for terms like "Extroverted Introvert" to make sense. That being said, no one is fully one or the other. Just like many other things in life, it's a spectrum, and it's completely possible to wake up on the other side of the metaphorical river.
Now, if you're anything like me, you've probably been living under the guise of extroversion, all because you're interested in meeting new people, things, and branching out of your comfort zone. People might have labeled you as 'so totally an extrovert.'
During multiple day conferences, you might have felt burn-out, anxious, or upset during your second or third day going without much personal time — maybe even distancing yourself subconsciously to try to soak up any alone time you can find. Surprise! You're and Enthusiastic or Outgoing Introvert.
You're probably like 'Oh ominous and omnipotent writer, whatever could you mean?'
An Enthusiastic/Outgoing Introvert (E/OI) is someone who may externally appear as an 'extrovert' but actually recharges alone. They may have an easy time starting conversations and meeting new people, but will find it hard to form deep and lasting friendships; they might also seem standoff-ish when overwhelmed, but can easily flip to a more 'pleasant' and energetic form of themselves when approached with conversation.
The difficulty while navigating being E/OI is that it's harder to fit in in just the right piece of your puzzle. True extroverts can be a bit much for E/OI at times, while true introverts can seem a bit subdued for E/OI when their social batteries are fully charged. While there's no hard and fast way to deal with this, the most important two are: awareness and affirmation.
Awareness means educating those in your circles about the actual definitions of Extrovert and Introvert. Nothing kills the soul as much as being mislabeled. Letting people know that your outward presence has nothing to do with your inward processes. Let me repeat that for you:
Your outward presence has nothing to do with your inward processes.
You are the beholder of your own identity. This is also to say that it is completely possible to have an extrovert with social anxiety. In either case, it is completely up to them to define themselves, just as it is up to you to do the same.
Affirmation doesn't mean that your friends just blindly feed your ego. Affirmation is the way that your social circle legitimizes your existence within the space. Whether it means allowing you to take a breather during social situations, or even just realizing that maybe you started your day on half a tank of social energy, an affirming circle will not question or criticize the decisions you have to make for self-care.
The fear of missing out — FOMO — can be super strong with E/OI, but here's the kicker: good friends will never make you feel like you missed out, even if you didn't make it.
The key to life and navigating your own identities is by surrounding yourself with people who support you and the decisions you need to make to be comfortable in that identity.