Extroverted Introverts Aren’t a Thing. Here’s Why.

My most frequent thought while scrolling through Facebook is “that’s… that’s not a thing.” People love to make up words to describe themselves in order to feel special, but unfortunately most of the people who show up in my newsfeed don’t have the creativity of Lewis Carroll or Dr. Seuss. So we end up with terms like “extroverted introvert,” which not only makes no sense, but is one of the more pointless terms I’ve seen lately.

I believe it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of what extraversion and introversion really are, and an inherent laziness, too, since the terms can be understood with a two minute google search. But since the internet generation seems hesitant to use the internet for any kind of productive research, I’ll lay it out like an opinion piece, which is all the internet seems good for.

Extraverted is not the same thing as outgoing.

Extraversion and introversion have to do with how you reenergize—at its most basic: with people or without them. While outgoing and social are typically traits of an extravert, the three words are not all synonyms. Extraverts simply gain energy from social situations, while introverts gain energy from being alone.

So, in essence, calling yourself an “extroverted introvert” is akin to calling yourself a blonde-haired brunette—an argument can me made for what you mean, but the fact remains that your words are a meaningless oxymoron.

You can be an outgoing introvert, just like you can be an extravert who values alone time. Everyone needs some alone time. But extraversion and introversion are a spectrum; you can’t just bend it into a loop and say, “hey look! I’m both!”

If you need more proof, do that google search I mentioned earlier. If you search “extraversion and introversion,” you’ll find scientific articles and psychological studies and how those two terms have been defined and used differently in different theories put forth by educated individuals. If, however, you search “extraverted introvert,” you’ll find a) that google will try to correct your spelling to “extrovert,” the spelling that came along because people were too lazy to spell it correctly, and b) articles like “10 Signs You’re an Extroverted Introvert” and “Confessions of an Extroverted Introvert.” Nothing scientific, nothing legitimate.

If you think you’re an extroverted introvert, you’re probably just an introvert. Enjoying hanging out with your friends and being an outgoing, social person doesn’t make you an extravert. And calling yourself both doesn’t make you special, it makes you uneducated.

 

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