Hey, Psych2Goers! Welcome back. We really appreciate you keeping up with our new articles! Today, we’re taking a deep look at personalities.
Has your personality changed over time? I know mine has. I used to be someone who was always busy and always was with a different friend group. As time went on, I started taking more and more “me” time and enjoying that time more than if I were to hang out with friends. I started believing I was truly an introvert trying to be extroverted, but I had it backwards. I am an extrovert who was a bit scared to put myself back out there. Here are 7 signs you’re not an introvert but actually a wounded extrovert.
#1: You crave social interaction but you’re afraid of being hurt
When someone is a true introvert, they need time alone to recharge after some sort of event or task. Imagine it’s Friday, and you just had the craziest week you’ve had in a while and are DONE. Would you rather a) have a fun night with some friends, or b) have a cozy night in with your pjs and some Netflix? If you chose A, why? Can you remember a time you went out and things didn’t go right? Maybe you went to a party, and someone rudely made fun of your outfit. Maybe you get anxious with the idea of being in a large group. These might be reasons why you feel you’re an introvert, even though you’re craving that social interaction. You’re truly an extrovert, but you’re a little jaded from some past experiences.
This is very different from a true extrovert. A true extrovert craves and pursues social interaction despite past negative experiences or any feelings of anxiousness. Being around people is what calms and recharges them! After a good time out with friends, they’re ready to take on the world!
If you chose B, check out our video 10 Signs You’re an Extroverted Introvert. This might be you!
#2: You’re always alone, but you feel depleted by it.
Do you spend a lot of time by yourself or at home but are dying to get out there and do something? When a true introvert is out with a group of people or is completing a task, they are dipping into their energy reserves. They will need that self-care time to be able to recharge. An extrovert, however, might be able to go have lunch with a friend, but by the time the get back home are bored and invite another friend to go shopping. If you think back to yourself being this way once but something has happened which made you behave differently now, it could mean that you’re a wounded extrovert.
Try this: On your next day off, make breakfast plans with a friend or family member, then make lunch plans with another friend for the next day. See how you feel. If you’re totally drained, take all the self-care time you need. If you feel fine and are ready for the next hang out, you might not know you’re a wounded extrovert.
#3: You are rewarded by social stimuli.
Alright. Let’s get nerdy for a minute. Our brains produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine helps us to think, make plans, and also helps us feel pleasure. In a study led by Michael Cohen (2005), researchers found that more extroverted individuals had a stronger response to the brain releasing dopamine. Whaaaat does that mean? If your brain is releasing dopamine, you react to it more intensely if you’re introverted. In the above study, each participant was asked to complete a gambling task. Whenever the participant took a risk that paid off, the response to the dopamine release was measured. When a more extroverted person’s risk paid off, they had a greater amount of happiness than an introverted person.
#4: You isolate for different reasons.
No matter your personality type, we all need alone time to rest and recharge. The difference comes in how much time we need to fully charge our batteries and why we take that alone time. An introvert might prefer to be alone because they enjoy alone time. They also may take more alone time than most due to both their preference and actually needing a recharge after an event. However, a wounded extrovert might prefer to be alone, not because they enjoy alone time, but because they want to protect themselves to avoid getting hurt. This might be due to past trauma and a lack of trust in others due to the trauma. This does not mean you are a true introvert.
#5: You used to enjoy and look forward to group work and collaborations.
When it comes to school or work, an introvert is typically a “heads-down” kind of person. This means they put their head down and work. They don’t really hang out or socialize with anyone on the floor; they just get the job done. Extroverts, on the other hand, might hang out around the proverbial water cooler often (or do a lot of Slack messages nowadays).
If you think back and can remember a time when you used to socialize more at work, you may be able to also recall a time when socializing at work may have gotten you in trouble or something you said was spread around. If this point brings up a memory for you, it could be a sign that you’re truly a wounded extrovert.
#6: You used to talk about everything and were super talkative.
Have a problem? Talk it out. Need advice? Talk it out. Have a super long to do list? Talk. It. Out. Not only do extroverts love being around people, but they love talking to people especially if there’s some sort of disagreement or issue. This isn’t just for conflict either. A true extrovert is usually talkative most if not all of the time. They may also be uncomfortable with pauses in conversation, too.
Does this sound a lot like a past version of you? Go back a bit more. Can you recall a time where your chattiness may have gotten you in trouble? Maybe an issue or concern you brought up started an argument? These could be reasons why you forgo the conversation, even though you’re dying to speak up. This is a big sign of being a wounded extrovert.
#7: You were extroverted as a child.
When you think back to your childhood, what do you see? Do you see memories of you and others playing together outside? Playing video games together? Or were you someone that preferred to play pretend or video games by yourself? If you were someone who always wanted to be in a group or the person who always invited everyone over, this could be a sign that you were and still are an extrovert, but something happened that caused you to want to be alone. If this point sounds similar to you, please reach out to a mental health professional to help explore any past events or trauma you may have endured.
Did any of these points sound like you were listening to a description of yourself? Did I take everything you thought about yourself and give you a little to think about? Let us know in the comments below. What personality did you THINK you had, and what do you think you have now? Thanks again for reading, and keep your eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content.
For more information on wounded or shy extroverts, check out our video 8 Signs You’re NOT an Introvert, But a Shy Extrovert.
Side note: This article is not meant to be a strict classification for anyone, so please don’t take it too seriously. Think of this information more like guidelines thane actual rules. The references used in and to compose this article are referenced below.
Byrnes, D. (2019, July 23). Can an introvert become an extrovert? The Introverted Networker – Sales and Networking for Introverts. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://davebyrnes.com/blog/can-an-introvert-become-an-extrovert
Cohen, M. X., Young, J., Baek, J.-M., Kessler, C., & Ranganath, C. (2005, November 11). Individual differences in extraversion and dopamine genetics predict neural reward responses. Cognitive Brain Research. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926641005002880
Cristol, H. (2021, June 14). Dopamine: What it is & what it does. WebMD. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine#:~:text=Dopamine%20is%20a%20type%20of,ability%20to%20think%20and%20plan.
Dembling, S. (2020, April 20). Let’s talk about extroverts for a change. Psychology Today. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-introverts-corner/202004/lets-talk-about-extroverts-change
Livingston, M. (2019, October 23). How to tell if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. CNET. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.cnet.com/health/the-difference-between-introverts-and-extroverts/#:~:text=%22Typically%20introverts%20tend%20to%20enjoy,love%20being%20around%20other%20people.
Wiest, B. (2019, November 15). 16 signs you’re not actually an introvert, you’re a highly sensitive extrovert. Thought Catalog. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2017/03/16-signs-youre-not-actually-an-introvert-youre-a-highly-sensitive-extrovert/