10 things you might see a reserved extrovert do or say:
- People watch. We watch people, all the time. It's not creepy or stalkerish, we just want to be involved in something, and if we don't know anyone, we can live vicariously through people watching. OK, so maybe it does sound a bit stalkerish...
- Eavesdrop. If you notice someone on the outskirts of your conversation, listening intently, they may either be the aforementioned stalker, or a reserved extrovert. We probably really want to join your conversation, but can't come up with a good conversation starter without you realizing that we've been listening to your conversation for 20 minutes.
- We seem bi-polar. You think we're the quiet one of the group, until you get us in a group where we are comfortable with everyone there. Then you get frustrated because there are too many loud obnoxious conversations going on because our mouths just will not shut up. I wish you could see the expression on my chemistry teacher's face in high school when she finally had to yell at me to get me to stop talking (I had been in her class for almost 2 full years before I got comfortable enough to reveal my hidden extroversion).
- We may seem cold or "standoffish". I can't tell you the number of times someone has said that I seem cold or standoffish. People have been offended by me, without even knowing me that well. I can put on a bubbly persona for jobs or professional activities, but in reality, my reservations about certain situations can make me seem distant (even my husband has accused me of this on occasion).
- We want to have friends, but we don't. I've been on the outskirts of deep friendships almost my whole life it seems. My extroversion causes me to crave connections with many people, but it seems that most of those other people aren't really looking for friends, because the people it's easiest for me to interact with are extroverts themselves, and they already naturally have a ton of friends. We are not living happy peaceful lives with one or two friends like an introvert might, but we crave those deeper friendships while lacking the forceful nature of an outgoing person to be able to start reaching out to those who might not have as many friends.
- We want to be good at direct sales, but we aren't. I was very successful at "shopkeeper" style sales (such as being a sales representative for a maid service company, or working retail jobs) but my personality just isn't right for starting up my own direct sales business (which I have tried and failed at several times).
- We put off phone calls. Once we actually make the phone call, we are fine. But if you are expecting a verbal RSVP, verbal invitation, Christmas present, or anything else that we need to do in person, you can expect it to be late or never.
- We can flirt, when the occasion calls for it. Of course, I'm married now, but I truly honed my flirting skills my senior year of high school (despite, or perhaps because of, a long-distance boyfriend at the time). I can't tell you how many boys thought I was really into them and were shocked that I wasn't (it almost led to an altercation between a friend I flirted with mercilessly in one of my more boring classes and my long-distance boyfriend who did come back to take me to prom - he was a giant teddy bear, so nothing would have happened violently, but I still laugh when I picture the look on my now ex-boyfriend's face as he faced down the 280 pound linebacker who said I was "his girl"). I did learn my lesson - so don't flirt unless you really mean it, it is fun and games, but people may get hurt, even if they don't reveal it.
- We operate better in the written world. We can text like nobody's business. We are on dozens of Facebook groups or Pinterest/Twitter, or blogs, and we participate actively in those discussions.
- We can get depressed easily. I am often frustrated by my own lack of friends, or close friendships. Yet, when opportunities present themselves for more, I often pass them by. Not because I want to stay at home and live vicariously online or through books, but because I'm just feeling a bit unsure and want a more outgoing friend (or spouse) to go along with me. Unfortunately, since my husband is outgoing, but not extroverted, he doesn't actually want to go the party, even though he can be the life of it. Fortunately for us, opposites attract, and we have a fairly social life for the both of us, probably a hint too social for him, and just barely not social enough for me.
So, what type of personality do you think you have? Are there some friends you may have passed over, just because they have a different personality than you? What personalities do you think they have, and how could you help them? Rather than just writing off "that awkward person" on the outskirts of a party, maybe we should be reaching out and bringing them into the fold. Didn't Jesus seek out the sinners and the outcasts?
And, if you don't know me that well yet, I can promise that I'm not a stalker, and I'm really nice once you get to know me!