Trying to Understand Extroverts – Day 14

Seems only fitting to talk about extroverts the day after talking about introverts.

The explosion of discussion about introverts over the last 5 years has not been met by an explosion of discussion about extroverts; or, if it has, I have not seen this explosion. I am more attuned to seeing posts about introverts because I am an introvert. I remember seeing an attempt at discussing extroverts at one point, but it was a trend that did not seem to catch on.

In some ways, I’m glad that there’s more of a focus on introverts because, again, I am one, and because I often feel like there are more extroverts and that the world (or at least our country) is more extrovert oriented. At the same time, the lack of discussion about extroverts is not as helpful for me when trying to understand how extroverts function. I could certainly do the work on my own to find these articles or discussions (and the Google search I just did for “extroverts” came up with more than 3 million results), but even then, I feel like I need an extrovert guide to help me understand how an extrovert functions.

*Disclaimer – I recognize here, as I did with introverts, that not all extroverts are the same. This would be the case of me trying to get a general overview of extrovertism (or possibly extroversion, or maybe even extraversion – it seems I may not know terms very well) in order to begin to better understand the framework for how an extrovert functions.

With that said (and after having read a view of these Google search results), let me jump into a couple questions I have for extroverts:

1: You gain energy by being around people? How is that possible? Is there any exhaustion at all that is the result of being around a group of people for an extended period of time?

This is a trait I do not understand. I can be around a group for a decent amount of time, but the closer to the center I am, the more I have to talk, the more (and louder) that talking is happening around me, and just the overall overwhelmingness of being around groups (especially of people I don’t know) drains me an incredible amount. My second wind comes in the form of being able to stay around, quietly, on the edge of the group, not talking, and with a somewhat glazed expression on my face. How is it that those situations energize you?

2: How many extroverts really enjoy talking, and how can you focus when you’re all talking at the same time? Doesn’t the noise get to you at all?

I have been in several situations recently in groups with people much more extroverted with me, and the noise level rose (and re-rose after music was brought down to a more reasonable level) to the point of not being able to think or concentrate. This wouldn’t have been as much of a problem if we also hadn’t been trying to do something else. (How) Is it possible for extroverts to focus in those situations?

3: Speaking of music, is music always necessary? Or loud noises in general?

I like music a lot, and I do listen to music quite loudly at times, but my experiences have shown a presence and volume at a level that I cannot understand. I need either a quiet (read: silent) area to think, or (on occasion) an area with ambient noise (at what I deem to be a reasonable volume) that I can tune out. If you see me reading with headphones in, there’s nothing coming through those headphones. They’re in to block noise out. If there’s too much noise when I’m trying to have a discussion, I find it hard to focus on the discussion I’m supposed to be in. From everything I’ve seen, the opposite of everything I just said about myself is true for extroverts. How is it that you seem to be able to function so well in very noisy environments?

4: What does down time look like? Is there such a thing?

When I have down time, I often spend it by myself. I enjoy being around my friends, but I’m more inclined to do things like spend my break time alone rather than in the break room, or to seek out quieter spaces when I need to think (I literally read for class and wrote papers in a more deserted stairwell while I was in college because it was the quietest place I could find). Are extroverts actively seeking out people and interactions during down times? Also, is there ever a time when extroverts actively seek out time alone?

5: Does “putting yourself out there” come naturally?

Is it really easy (or how easy is it) meeting new people and just beginning a conversation? Is there any sort of “psyching up” that has to happen, or are extroverts able to just jump into those types of things? How long does it take to feel like you’ve “gotten to know” someone? Also, how difficult do extroverts feel it is to interact with introverts, and does that feeling vary from introvert to introvert (or extrovert to extrovert, for that matter)?

This whole process (read: this post) is meant to be a discussion, because I would legitimately like to understand how an extrovert’s mind works, or even just a sliver of how an extrovert’s mind works (even though this whole process seems exhausting). If you’re an extrovert or have any insight, feel free to leave a comment in response to any of the above questions. I don’t make any promises about understanding, but I will make a concerted effort to try.

(Also, I feel like this post could come across as a bit haughty, mostly I feel like it could be a bit haughty as I read it back. Any sort of haughtiness or similar emotion conveyed here is unintentional; I just really don’t understand the thought process of extroverts.)

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