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Discussion Starter #1
Hi ENFPs,
For the past decade I've believed myself to be an INFP: definitely Introverted because the fact that I'm quiet is the first thing new people feel the need to point out to me!

However, there was a thread over at the INFP forum about social anxiety. I chimed in that a lot of the time I would really like to be socializing, but it's hard to overcome my fears (that people don't like me). According to a few of the replies I got -- introverts don't like socializing (at all??), which implies that I'm actually an extrovert with social anxiety.

Although skeptical that I'm not still an introvert, I thought I would get some opinions over here: how would I know that I'm an extrovert besides the obvious... being loud? :)
 

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I am an extrovert with social anxiety. I thought I was an introvert at first ahah

Maybe you can relate to this:
-Wanting to go out and just be out there but feels an invalid fear every time you even think of it
-Avoiding social situations and staying home for a few days only to find yourself extremely irritated because you haven't socialized.
-You catch yourself off guard sometimes when you notice yourself enjoying the conversation when the energy you gain from chatting over powers your fear (usually doesn't last too long...)
-You make so many plans on going out either alone or with your friends but you cancel it last minute because as the day approaches, you feel more and more anxiety.
-You do not approach strangers, but you feel excited/energized but fearful at the same time at the idea of having a stranger approach you

There was this one time when I went to the beach with my friends and a random stranger came up to me asking if she could have some sun screen and I said "sure". Then she said "thank you" but instead of saying "your welcome", I said "I'm sorry that's ok"
...shows how sharpened my social skills are. But anyways, I remember feeling so much fear and anxiety just facing a stranger at that time that I think my "I'm sorry that's ok" came out like "yeah um i'm sorry haha yeah huh that's ok yeah ahha"

BTW have you tried to study Ne and Fi and see which one you relate to more? I mean the functions are pretty different. I pretty much reek of Ne. I'm not as social as other ENFPs but I am 100% sure that I am an ENFP.

I'll copy and paste something that might help you that I found on another thread:
Dominant: Introverted Feeling (Fi)


"I know just how you feel--I've felt just the same way when that happened to me, and it really hurt. You should be able to say how you feel even if others don't always necessarily think it's appropriate--as long as it's truly from the heart. You should never go against what your personal moral compass says, even if that goes against the commonly accepted morality of all of your close family and friends and anyone you respect. I don't want to know what you should feel--I want to know what you do feel."

or


Dominant: Extroverted iNtuition (Ne)


"More than anything I need to feel like I'm working toward some kind of meaningful change or improvement in people's lives. I have a lot of big ideas for making things better, and I get really excited about new ideas that point toward some kind of new direction or idea I hadn't thought of before. I usually try to have a lot of people I like around, both because I like having them to bounce my ideas off of, and because it's really important to me to be able to connect with people on a personal level. Sometimes I feel I'm bursting with so many different ideas at once that I have trouble even remembering them all--I can get lost in my imagination. I tend to get involved in so many different interests that I have trouble focusing my attention on just one, and I often end up committing to more things than I really have the time or energy to complete. It's just really important that I be able to change direction and try something different when I hit a dead end and whatever I'm doing stops feeling interesting. I have to get excited about exploring the possibilities of something new before I can really work in my element and show off the full extent of my talents. I need to be doing something creative where I can put my own personal spin on whatever it is that I'm working on. Really, I just work best in a relaxed and open environment where I can have freedom to explore and find what feels right to me, and be appreciated and respected for my talents. What's the point of living life if you aren't pursuing something you're passionate about?"
I hope I helped!
 

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I have been wondering about the prevalence of social anxiety among extraverts for awhile. It seems as though it would be more detrimental to an extravert than an introvert. I think it is a misconception that introverts don't need, or don't want social interaction. The problem is that if an introvert socializes too much, they become drained and need a break to recover. I am quite fond of socializing, but I can only do it so often as compared to my extravert friends.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your response! I like hearing real examples.
I actually make it a point to go to as many social functions as I'm invited to (even if I get nervous, I rarely back out). Then I spend the rest of my night going over what came out of my mouth vs. what I actually meant / should have worded things (like your sunscreen example).

In college it took me a month or so to adjust to sharing my space with three other girls (shut UP I'm trying to sleep): but by the end of the first semester, there was nothing I loved more than our little "club". When I was with them, I was what I believe to me my real self: just silly & sweet. I've noticed I go through cycles like this where I get really used to a small group of friends... and then when we go our separate ways, I get super depressed and it's almost like I'm more introverted than ever. Slowly I made myself go to concerts (live music is just one of my favorite things ever) sans supporting friend group, as almost a social experiment to see if eventually people would remember me and say hi. It sort of worked, sort of not (gained many acquaintances, or dates, but no deep friendships... which is what I crave).

I can relate to both of the Fi & Ne quotes that you posted. Although I think it's important to live by your morals: I would rarely shove my opinions in anyone else's face. I think that's one of the most obnoxious things... to think that the world is black & white and that your beliefs are any more right that someone else's. However: I love the very end of the Fi quote - I hate when I say what I'm feeling and I'm asked to cite specific examples of proof. F U, feelings are more real than facts to me.

I can relate to the Ne quote in that I'm an artist with a bajillion ideas floating around and it's hard to focus my energies. I just found a group of artists who meet locally and are really encouraging of my abstract style... It's like I come out of my shell when I'm talking about art - the thing I'm passionate about. When I get home from those meetings, I talk a million miles an hour about it to my husband... instead of just crying which is what I do after work, where no one talks to me like a human being. I struggle working for companies because I can always see ways to improve things, but no one takes my ideas seriously (I believe this is because I look a decade younger than I really am).
 

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Hum, i have anxiety tendencies, although social anxiety isn't one of them. I don't know how you would know the difference between I/E stemming from anxiety. Do people drain you after you've been in their company for some time ? I think introverts become drained for longer periods of time once they have engaged in social activity. I see where it could be difficult trying to make the correlation between the two. I think once you manage your anxiety the answer will become clearer. Good luck.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Hum, i have anxiety tendencies, although social anxiety isn't one of them. I don't know how you would know the difference between I/E stemming from anxiety. Do people drain you after you've been in their company for some time ? I think introverts become drained for longer periods of time once they have engaged in social activity. I see where it could be difficult trying to make the correlation between the two. I think once you manage your anxiety the answer will become clearer. Good luck.
I find people that I don't really have a choice in being around (family, co-workers) to be very draining. I can't handle people who are cynical. I don't get too drained by my husband or friends... but I do like a couple hours alone per day to pursue my own projects. According to the INFP board, this should be more like... a few days. I have a one day threshold: after that I cry that no one likes me.
 

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I have a one day threshold: after that I cry that no one likes me.
Lol, I just laughed so hard at that part there. Because its how I feel sometimes too. I was reading those dominant function descriptions and I agreed with Fi until the whole "this is my opinion, dont care about yours" part. I always say things truly from the heart and if I am feeling that what I am about to say is going to hurt someone even a little I think about rephrasing and choosing different words so its not loud and obnoxious sounding. I dont like to be mean-spirited. Morals are really important to me but even having strong convictions does not mean I tell anyone how to live their lives. I want to be a good person because I feel this world needs a hug every once in awhile and people get bitter and cynical about how down the drain our world is going so I try to show people in my social circle or the ones I encounter that maybe we're going be fine, maybe things will work out. It just starts with loving everyone and everything.

Now for the actual question at hand. Lol, I always do this. The question I intend to answer gets answered last. Its like my brain is going places which it thinks relates to a certain topic and its like its working its way to navigate to the question which sounds like a detour to people when I talk but to me its all related in some weird convoluted way. Ok, so extroverts with social anxiety! I think that I am one of those mainly because the extroverts I know are loud, oh so very loud! I'm more like about connected with people even though I want some attention at times lol. I love people, I love creativity, I love talking about what life is, life could be and just sparkling some inspiration like its confetti lol. But at the same time, I do get drained by people. I get more drained my people who are negative (realists, intellectual debby downers) than those who are positive (fun loving, silly, like me basically). I agree with the one day threshold, definitely dont need three days. After a day of not talking to someone properly I feel like texting my friends and just seeing how they are. You know what bugs me though SJs and their matter-of-fact attitude. Worst type of people to text after the whole self-torture we do when we think no one likes us.
This quick reply thing needs a maximum character count limit thing LOL
 

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Samandeep: I came to the INFP board expecting to find a lot of people to relate to. But your response (even just the writing style with many tangents) sounds the most like me so far. Emotional but not from a dark place, if that makes sense!

I agree with the whole self-torture/SJ comment. My mom is an ISFJ ... it's so hard because I want one of those close mother-daughter relationships, but I can't handle the matter-of-factness. Sometimes I think a lot of my insecurities started there.
 

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According to a few of the replies I got -- introverts don't like socializing (at all??), which implies that I'm actually an extrovert with social anxiety.
That's not true. It's not that introverts don't like to socialize at all. That's no longer introversion, that's schizoid personality disorder. An introvert is a person who prefers solitude to social events. It does not mean the introvert does not like to go out with a large group of friends every once in a while but they tire very easily from socializing and will need to recharge with some time to themselves. Some introverts love spending time with people but it's usually limited to a very small number of close friends at a time.
I know an ENFP with social anxiety. Before the onset of panic attacks, she always used to go out with large groups of friends. She somehow always managed to be the center of attention at parties, gatherings, even charity events. Everybody knows her and nobody hates her. Then, for some reason, she began to be afraid of how others were perceiving her and it became crippling to a point where she didn't leave her house for six months. Now, after I've known and helped her out as much as I could, she goes out again once every week to meet with people. She still has moments of panic but we sort through them with me logically explaining to her that there is nothing to fear, that no one is judging her, that everyone just wants to have fun, etc.
My point is, both she and I still consider her an ENFP. She does not relate to the "I" aspect because deep down she knows she loves meeting people frequently, much more than any introvert would. She may not go out as much as most extroverts but that is for another reason entirely (her anxiety). She is still an extrovert at heart.
 

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That's not true. It's not that introverts don't like to socialize at all.
Thanks... was hoping someone would agree with me on that. I don't know anyone who doesn't like to hang out with friends at least on occasion!

Do you know what caused your friend's onset of panic attacks? I've had them since I began middle school (when I didn't have classes with my neighborhood friends any more) & I'm in my late twenties now.
 

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Do you know what caused your friend's onset of panic attacks?
She's had a bit of a rough childhood full of instability, false hopes and promises, death of her father, and some abuse (not within the family). It's strange though because her anxiety did not manifest until her early twenties. We don't know what caused it specifically but we do know that it's only in a social setting that she'll get extremely anxious. She fears that others are judging her with every move she makes. She hides behind her anxiety so no one asks anything of her (knowing her condition) and therefore no one will have expectations of her. She's afraid of being a failure in the eyes of others. I think perhaps it might be a severe sense of low self-worth, bordering on dangerously low. When I met her, she had no confidence in herself and she was overcompensating by being cocky and slightly narcissistic. When she got to know me, that cockiness faded (as she soon realized I'm difficult to impress, not at all like the people she surrounded herself with). She saw me as both a threat and a challenge. I discovered her anxiety though and did not wish for her to remain in her comfort zone. It did not seem logical for me to do so when I knew I could help her slowly.

When I met her, she didn't even go to the store for milk. She hadn't left town in years. After a few months of talking to me daily, of me refusing to treat her like everyone else did (like she was broken, like she needed to be pitied), I showed her that I had expectations of her (which she feared intensely but faced head on when she realized my expectations would only accumulate). Now, after 2 years, she goes everywhere on her own. She's left town more than once (not without hesitation but it was a big accomplishment). And, like I said, she goes out every Saturday to meet with bunches of people. Her life is in her own hands again and I still show her that, even though I'm proud of her and how she's become, I still have expectations. I still know she can improve further. You see, she still has panic attacks but her life is getting better. I expect those to fade away soon.

I won't pretend to be presumptuous in the least about your anxiety, but if you need to talk further about this, maybe learn from my friend's experiences, please feel free to private message me.
 

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I am some anxiety issues but it is not social anxiety, but I can see how it could be misconstrued as such. I know exactly what triggers mine, but I just push on through---as much as I hate those moments.
 

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@Samandeep Grewal - Oh my goodness, your train of thought is so similar to mine! I also feel like I somehow make connections and ties to so many ideas that it just all comes together in some convoluted way that makes sense. :p
@AnalogDreamer - After reading @jaurim's description about social anxiety, I'm actually pretty convinced now that I am an ENFP who suffers through occasional bouts of social anxiety. Depending on my emotional health, I can have a lot of fears about people not liking me and that I'm not fitting in well with people.

I was going through a phase in college where I over-socialized that I ended up having an identity crisis from neglecting myself so much. It came with a long struggle of this deep paranoia that people didn't like me and that everything I was doing wasn't good enough.

Those were the extreme days.. and unhealthy days, too. :p

Even now, I'm actually avoiding hanging out with new friends and people because I'm really busy with school and trying to get my finances back into order. When there are some things that are out of order in my life, I don't feel comfortable in social settings and can't completely be my confident self.

But I'm pretty convinced I'm an extrovert even though I can have my introverted streaks. I start to go crazy when I don't hang out with friends for over a day or two. It's kind of funny to admit it, but it really does drive me nuts. xD
 

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I definitely have social anxiety, though it's not as bad as it once was. My anxiety used to be so that I couldn't even ask people what the time was, or for directions if I got lost (or even say 'excuse me' if they were standing in the way - I used to just stand there like an idiot, trying to shrink in on myself until they noticed me). I actually believed these people would respond aggressively to my questions/requests. Even now I have problems asserting myself because of this, but having picked up a job in retail I am kind of forced to overcome my fear of social interaction. It's really difficult trying to explain to your boss that you don't want to approach a customer because you're worried they will react negatively (and some of them do, of course). So I kind of have to just toughen up and bite the bullet.

Like others, I also cancel on social events at the last minute. I get myself all worked up about having to get ready, having to drive there, having to battle traffic, wondering whether or not I will know anyone etc and I usually end up canceling. If I manage to get myself out of the house, I am perfectly fine once I am there - friendly, bubbly, chatty, very social etc. On the flip side of that, there are days where I want to tear my hair out because I have been cooped up inside and have had no social interaction. I will call four or five people in order to make plans to get out of the house, and that usually results in the rest of my week being socially booked out. :)
 

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I love talking to people and I have a great time no matter who it's with. Even boring, awkward, uncomfortable conversations are enjoyable and energizing...most others are a million times better. However, when I'm not interacting with people they always seem unwelcoming and unfriendly. Whenever I look at people they just never seem open and accepting to me but when I talk to them it seems completely different. I don't know how to shake that feeling.
 

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Here's an online Social Phobia Inventory tool.

I always score very low on these things because I don't have true social anxiety. My issue has more to do with expecting (subconsciously and irrationally) that any attention from someone I don't know will be negative. This stems from being bullied a lot as a child.
 

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Here's an online Social Phobia Inventory tool.

I always score very low on these things because I don't have true social anxiety. My issue has more to do with expecting (subconsciously and irrationally) that any attention from someone I don't know will be negative. This stems from being bullied a lot as a child.
According to the test you posted, I have Mild Social Anxiety. I figured as much, though it used to be a lot worse. I have gotten a fair bit better. :) I also think that a lot of my anxiety stems from being bullied as a child, and also being crushed by family members who didn't like how outgoing/outspoken I was as a child.
 
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According to the test you posted, I have Mild Social Anxiety. I figured as much, though it used to be a lot worse. I have gotten a fair bit better. :) I also think that a lot of my anxiety stems from being bullied as a child, and also being crushed by family members who didn't like how outgoing/outspoken I was as a child.
Here's a quote (from Wikipedia lol) about social anxiety that I find interesting: "in an ancestral environment characterized by small bands in which all individuals were known to one another, it was usually very dangerous to be confronted by a large group of staring, non-kin, unknown, and not smiling strangers." For an extremely vast majority of human and pre-human evolution, our species lived in small groups where everyone knew each other very well. Outsiders were a tremendous threat to the safety of the individual and of the group. Social anxiety makes a lot of sense in that context.
 

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Here's a quote (from Wikipedia lol) about social anxiety that I find interesting: "in an ancestral environment characterized by small bands in which all individuals were known to one another, it was usually very dangerous to be confronted by a large group of staring, non-kin, unknown, and not smiling strangers." For an extremely vast majority of human and pre-human evolution, our species lived in small groups where everyone knew each other very well. Outsiders were a tremendous threat to the safety of the individual and of the group. Social anxiety makes a lot of sense in that context.
That's actually incredibly interesting, and makes a lot of sense. :)

Just thinking some more on the issue of where social anxiety stems from...

The funny thing is that when I was quite young, strangers didn't terrify me in the slightest. I was that kid who would approach you on the train and start telling you what I had for breakfast, how much I loved Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie, and how my brother fell off his bike the day before but didn't cry because mum put a Mr Strong band-aid on his injury and kissed it all better. It's almost as if I didn't have that filter: strangers = threat. Which leads me to believe that my social anxiety was brought on as a result of negative reinforcement (my mother telling me off for talking to strangers/talking too much), bullying, and a learned fear of social responses (e.g. "don't annoy people, they might yell at you!") rather than any actual negative experiences I had through social interactions. Which means that this social anxiety stems from a type of conditioning...?

I think I've just connected the dots. :)
 

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Like others, I also cancel on social events at the last minute. I get myself all worked up about having to get ready, having to drive there, having to battle traffic, wondering whether or not I will know anyone etc and I usually end up canceling. If I manage to get myself out of the house, I am perfectly fine once I am there - friendly, bubbly, chatty, very social etc. On the flip side of that, there are days where I want to tear my hair out because I have been cooped up inside and have had no social interaction. I will call four or five people in order to make plans to get out of the house, and that usually results in the rest of my week being socially booked out. :)
I could have written that.

Maybe 85% of the time I had strong feelings I should stay home, I've ended up glad I went out. I'm oddly grateful for guilt I feel about flaking on people. Intentionally, I use it as a tool to trap myself into doing things I'm averse to.

And, @AnalogDreamer: If I'm an ENFP, you probably are too.

I just found a group of artists who meet locally and are really encouraging of my abstract style... It's like I come out of my shell when I'm talking about art - the thing I'm passionate about. When I get home from those meetings, I talk a million miles an hour about it to my husband...
I could have written this too. Well, 'cept for the "husband" part. :)
 
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