Confessions of a People-Pleasing Extrovert
I’ve seen an item shared around Facebook. It’s about the secret life of introverts and how they aren’t really what they seem on the initial impression.
Well, I’m here to speak for all those people-pleasing extroverts out there.
If they can shut up long enough to read this. Or if you have one in your house, if they shut up long enough to let you read this.
I am a classic example of a bubbly, friendly, people-pleasing extrovert. I meet people and make friends everywhere. The crustier more cantankerous a person, the more I view it as a challenge. I like to count conquests of people who, akin to Cam on Modern Family, I DARED not to like me.
But I think there are a few things you non-extroverted people need to know.
1) Extroverts need time alone.
I couldn’t believe it either. Not until I got a little older and found myself seeking the solace of a quiet bedroom, an empty (but for the horses) barn, or a long road trip by myself. To me, while I love people and social gatherings, time alone to reflect and stop being the extrovert is much needed. Not for long though, pretty soon we've spent a solid twenty minutes reflecting and need to go and tell people how much we need time alone.
2) When you’re the extrovert at the party, or the meeting, or the random social event, there are expectations.
People look to you to start conversations, make a joke, and to generally be ‘on’. And let me tell you, as a lifelong extrovert I am more than willing to comply. Heck, it’s what I live for. Give me a glass of wine, a willing audience and I will happily put on a show. Alas, there are odd occasions where us extroverts want to sit back and allow others to carry the conversation, or feel in a funk and want to just observe. Now, more than likely there is another extrovert in the room, in which case the party will proceed as always, however, part-way through the night the extrovert who was 'off' may decide to be 'on' and we will have what is known as 'duelling extroverts' This is a much better show for all watching. Even better if at least one gay man is involved. Just FYI.
3) Extroverts are not flaky. Or fake. Or fake flakes.
We love people, and we love social occasions where we can entertain and meet new people. BUT while we flit around the party smiling and making promises to catch up soon, grab a coffee, make lunch, go for drinks…… etc. Know that we are lying. Both to you and ourselves. We don’t mean to make false promises, it’s just that if you knew how many people we already made those same plans with for one teeny week you would be horrified. And we don’t know we are doing it. Because we LOVE to make plans to see more people!! And we want to fit everyone in our schedule, which is almost always crammed already with more things than we could possibly manage. People get mad at us when we bail on lunches and drinks, but we charm them and make more promises that we may or may not be able to keep. Tip: Have a large gathering with many of the extroverts friends (don’t kid yourself, no matter the occasion we still assume the party will likely star us) and we’ll almost always make it. Partly because we really do intend to meet up with you, and this is sort of a 5 birds one stone situation, but mostly because we’d hate for that many of our friends to get together and talk about important things (like us) while we weren’t there.
4) We aren’t AS narcissistic as you think. Not quite anyways.
Extroverts always get this stereotype about blah blah blah-ing about themselves at a party. And in fairness, we do tend to take over conversations. But we really are sincere in that we want to get to know more people. I am the biggest Barbara Walters at any function. I ask more questions than are socially acceptable, and will occasionally be fixated on certain people I want to know more about. These usually seem to be people with accents. Either way, an extrovert’s love of people and communicating means that we tend to also give up a lot of information about ourselves. It’s the easiest fall back plan when you have a tough crowd. Sometimes the introverts overwhelm the loud people and awkward silences abound. As an extrovert, that’s like nails on a chalkboard. We begin speaking before thinking, and as default start telling the crowd a story. My fall back plan is usually an incredibly embarrassing story about something I did that should have stayed in the past where it belonged. So the next time I, or a fellow extrovert starts regaling a tale and their significant other makes themselves a stiff drink, listen up. It’s likely going to be totally offside and definitely too much information.
5) People-Pleasing Extroverts hate to disappoint. Well at least I do anyway.
We hate it when we feel like we’ve let someone down, or that someone doesn’t enjoy us. We will go to the ends of the earth to try and rectify the situation. Unfortunately for us, there are some people out there that like to be left alone for long periods of time, and who may never warm to us. This is the deepest wound an extrovert can incur. Bear with us, and never give us the cold shoulder. Be direct and up front or we will never leave you alone. I’m willing to bet most accidental stalkers are extroverts. There you have it. Five confessions that will help you understand us better.
Us mythical, misunderstood creatures.