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The term “social introvert” sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? You are either social or an introvert. But let’s not forget introversion and extroversion have nothing to do with how social you would like to be. It’s all about where you get your energy from and how you recharge. Do you leave feeling refreshed after going to a party or after taking a walk alone? Does it take more energy for you to be around people or to be by yourself? Sometimes, introversion and extroversion coincide with their respective levels of sociability. But sometimes, they do not. The fact is that you can be an anti-social extrovert or a social introvert. Being a “social introvert” It’s a fun dynamic to be, but it does have a few pitfalls:

Being a social introvert means you absolutely crave social situations, even though you know they will drain you. You love birthday parties, big dinners and yes, even family reunions, even though you know you’ll need loads of recovery time afterward. It means you don’t see “recovery time” – a.k.a., time to be alone – as “anti-social” time. You wouldn’t label going to the gas station as “anti-driving” time, so the same applies here. They are just refueling. It means you love having roommates, so long as your bedroom is yours and yours alone. It means desperately wanting to get to know and meet new people, but not knowing how to start a conversation. It means you embrace your geeky, weird side because it is seriously easier to bust a crazy move on the dance floor or tell a dumb joke than it is to attempt small talk.

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It means you come alive when you meet a shy or introverted person at a party.

It’s like, “Hey! I know what it’s like! Takes a lot of energy to be here, huh? This is a good foundation for starting a conversation!” It means concerts are like being in heaven. You are surrounded by people who all have something in common – namely, an affinity for the music – and you don’t have to focus too much on how you’ll start conversations with anyone. Instead, you can dance and sing with the person next to you. It means any organized, activity-oriented group outing is heaven. Any chance to be surrounded by people — especially people who all have something in common — and doing something together is wonderful, especially when the burden of starting up a conversation out of nowhere doesn’t exist. It means you love being friends with extroverts. They want to go to all the parties and talk to all the people and you will gladly hang out alongside them, contributing to the conversation whenever possible.

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But…it also means sometimes, you become a bit too much of a tag-a-long to your extroverted friends. “Sorry, buddy, but being social is just so much easier when I can ride on your coattails!” It means you understand what it’s like to run out of social energy and that it might have absolutely nothing to do with how tired you are. You know that all you need is some time alone and you’ll be right back in action, but it might look weird if you suddenly leave the part and take a walk alone.

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Being a social introvert means sometimes, you really just like to observe what is going on around you. It doesn’t mean you’re being antisocial or you want to be alone. It also doesn’t mean you feel like you’re being left out of the conversation. Sometimes, it really is just so much fun to watch the rest of the world operate. It also means inevitably, people might misread you. To some, you appear to be that shy person. To others, you’re very much the extrovert who attempts to seem “deep” by calling herself an introvert. And to others, you’re the weirdo who can’t strike up a conversation to save her life, but can strike a goofy dance move at the drop of a hat. But that’s okay, you wouldn’t trade in how you operate in the world!