The Paradox of A Socially Anxious Extrovert

I am the annoyingly talkative ninety-five percent extroverted girl who loves nothing more than to express what is going on in her head. But I have a secret. That is not who I feel like, which might come to a surprise to a lot of people who know me. Because I do not tend to act as if I am shy or nervous in social functions but I am terrified. My best friend always told me she followed me around to make friends because she is shy and I am bold enough to talk to whoever I want. But it is not me who is bold but her standing beside me that gives me the courage to speak.

I at first did not want to share this because I felt like I would be making a big deal about a little thing and maybe I am and those who know me will probably laugh at the thought. Because everyone I have told this to before has chalked it up to no big deal or a petty attempt to make a nervous person feel more comfortable. But I think this is an important subject to breach because it is so many times misunderstood.

People assume that those who are shy are introverts who do not need as much time with people while those who are extroverts are those with bigger and more charming personalities and are more comfortable with people. While the topic of introverts not always being shy has been addressed more often in recent years; the opposite has been left lacking.

For an example of non-‘typical’ extrovert look at me, yes I can be overly talkative and act as if I never feel awkward, but honestly I make myself feel awkward all the time. I feel as though I am completely inadequate of good social interaction at all. I pray sometimes that I will just shut up because it seems as though nothing I ever say is witty or intelligent and most of what I say is gibberish. I use to sometimes feel like I was unique or rememberable because of my quirks but that was in companies of a select few. Throughout most of my life, I have felt insecure in social interactions  which have resulted in me isolating myself from people either emotionally or physically for a time leading into a spiral of depression and self destructive behaviours. Because despite my social incompetence I am a major extrovert who without people the loneliness overwhelms me.

I have not figured out what I am going to do about the pang of fear I face every time I walk into a room of people. I have not found a way to either smother the overwhelming desire to be with people continuously or to calm my mind when approaching someone. It is like a drug that I will keep on going to because my sanity requires high doses of human interaction but my mind is screaming at me to crawl into the fetal position. But worst of all is the excruciating withdrawal from people accompanied by the pang of regret from bailing.

I do not think any of this truly makes sense, but this is more an excess to my mind then an answer to any burning question. I write this selfishly in order to attempt to make sense of what I have felt for years but also to maybe reach someone who feels the same and let them know that they aren’t crazy when they love being the centre of attention but also fear the thought of people looking at them. The though of a party is exhilarating but also walking into that full room is an internal panic attack waiting to happen. That people admire your social skills yet you feel as though you sound like a loser.I am sorry I do not have the answer to this paradoxical situation.

Until next time,

Myn K.

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