What It's Like When You're Outgoing, But Painfully Shy On The Inside

by Zara Barrie

I don’t know about you, but for ME, it feels as if the world at large divides itself into TWO distinct, oppressive parts:

The outgoing and the shy. The extraverted and the introverted. The unabashedly LOUD and the blissfully quiet.

So what’s a girl to do when she finds herself to be the confusing combination of both qualities?

What about the young lady who appears to look like a bonafide extraverted entity to the heaps of naked eyes that surround her, when really, if they were to dare to look a little closer, direct their gaze a hair longer, they would see her core is that of a soulful loner?

I’m equal parts loud and equal parts quiet.

When someone first meets me -- and takes in the dizzying display of obnoxiously red lipstick, the heaps of stacked bangles that brutally clank against one another and the noisy platform Mary Jane shoes that can’t help but vivaciously BANG against the delicate marble floor -- it’s easy to make assumptions about who I am.

I’m a girl who looks LOUD. There is nothing subtle about my outward appearance. I have massive, almost jarring features. I’m all eyes, and lips, and accessories, and makeup and fashion.

I was born with a voice that can’t help but crescendo. I’ve never been told to "speak up" in my entire life (but I have been told to keep my voice down more times than I care to count).

I have bouts of extreme outgoingness. When I’m on, I’m f*cking on.

I will go weeks when I am the very life of the party. The girl who dances with a reckless abandon upon every tabletop in site.

The Chatty Cathy who is willing and eager to engage in the art of conversation with every single soul at the soiree.

The girl who gets an intoxicating high from talking. I am present and in the f*cking moment. Teeming with irrepressible liveliness.

And if you just get to know me a bit better, you will come to find I am as vehemently anti-social as I am vigorously social.

My bouts of outgoingness are matched by extreme phases of introversion. I go through longs stretches of time embodying my inner-homebody, the girl within me who never wants to go out.

I will crave nothing more than to be home alone on a Friday night swaddled in a thick blanket whilst studiously reading dead politicians' memoirs and watching documentaries chronicling history.

I won’t utter a sentence for days at a time. I'm not even mildly down or depressed. In fact, I'm blissfully at ease in these moments.

It’s almost as if I plunge into a full-blast socializing detox and must cut myself off from the outer world in order to replenish my talked-out soul. It’s like rehab for the overtly outgoing.

It’s a weird way in which to live, but I can’t help it. To deny one aspect of my personality in order to make more sense to the masses would be to be untrue to myself.

And I don’t play with all that unauthentic garble. Not at this stage of the game.

While I wouldn’t change a thing about myself, there are some very real struggles that occur when you’re an outgoing person on the outside and an introverted person on the inside:

You’re constantly deemed difficult to read

When you’re equal parts extravert and equal parts introvert and you meet new people, it’s usually when you’re in a wildly flirtatious, outgoing state of mind.

So let’s say you meet a new, dare I say, “love interest” when you’re feeling "on"; it won’t take long before your new flame quickly realizes your electric social spark burns out as quickly as it rapidly ignites.

Ever so suddenly, your new love realizes you’re not always the crazy, wild talkative he or she fell for.

People are constantly confused by your quietness and take it personally.

You bail on plans and are forever viewed as a flake

When you’re in the heat of a social episode, you will say "yes" to any and all plans anyone asks to you to partake in.

It’s not that you’re being fake and people-pleasing; it’s more that you really truly want to join in on the fun in the moment.

Cut to 9 pm on a Saturday night, and you find yourself in an acutely antisocial mood. You know you won’t be fun or HAVE fun, for that matter, and so you cancel.

You're doing the masses a favor, really; no one will want to be around you when you're quiet and antisocial right?

You’re either madly intense or acutely quiet

When you’re introverted on the inside and extraverted on the outside, you feel things in extremes.

You’re either the loudest person in the room or the quietest person in the room. There is no middle ground.

You have resting party face

Some people have resting bitch face; others have resting nice face. I have resting party face.

I might be feeling cripplingly shy inside, absolutely petrified at the thought of human contact, and you better guarantee every hard-partying, crazy spirit will be magnetically drawn to me.

Something about the energy I emit in the universe just screams "I'M WILD! COME PLAY WITH ME!" -- even when all I want to do is crawl into a tiny space and read a book.

Everyone thinks you're depressed when you really just need to decompress

Since people assume you're always down to party, they freak out and are "thrown" when you need time to yourself.

They don't understand it's not about them, and you're not, in fact, deeply depressed -- you just need to decompress. 

When you look a certain way and give off a very social energy, people don't know how to handle it when you're feeling internal. They worry something is wrong.

They jump to rash conclusions that you don't like them anymore.

What they don't understand is you're actually at your most grounded and happy when you're in your own safe space.

What they don’t understand is you like yourself enough to spend time alone with yourself.