I'm interested in this topic. I'm not sure whether I should've posted this under a different thread. Please tell me if I've missed related information.
I read this piece and I recognized myself in it. I am a consummate extrovert but simultaneously (very) socially awkward. Strangers mistake me for an introvert all the time, though I don't shut up around family and friends. I also feel very claustrophobic in groups, which is a big thing. Aren't extroverts supposed to feel comfortable in groups? I'm not. I'm only comfortable engaging in small clusters or one-on-one.
But I /do/ need constant stimulation because every single one of my thought processes are external. I am always in thrall of introverts because they sprout complete, thoughtful ideas -- without outside help/stimulation -- the first time they open their mouths. I just can't imagine being that way.
At first I thought that, because I was bookish and disliked spending time with most people, I might be an introvert. Then I realized that it wasn't because I disliked people in theory -- I just hated the individuals I had to interact with. I'm also a prolific reader (I read two to three books a day) but I use books as substitutes for intelligent conversation with actual human beings. Often when I read books, I read out loud and pretend that I'm having a conversation with my reading material.
And though I do like spending time alone, I have to constantly engage myself. If I'm doing nothing and I'm alone, I feel fidgety and lonely. After many days of isolation I get very depressed and can't operate. (I become like this often because I have an introvert's DREAM job; I'm a freelance writer.)
This has resulted in my wanting friends but somehow not being able to make them. I understand that this skill is divorced from the extroversion/introversion aspect of our personalities, but I feel like I should be a better "smooth operator" because I am inclined to be like that but somehow never found my way.
So is an acceptable status quo or should I aspire to be a better extrovert? Has anybody else felt like this? Thoughts?