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Lately, I've been questioning my ''introversion'' and wondering whether it has been cultivated by my shyness and therefore, not an innate longing to be alone. As a child, I was very loud and expressed my opinions with vigour. I've lost count the number of times my parents were dragged up the school to discuss my behaviour. Whilst I was never really the class clown, I did enjoy making people laugh. However, I wasn't popular. I longed to be the alpha of the group, but was always given the position of ''sidekick''. Even though I was a forceful character, I was always shy, though I refused to show it. I dreaded going to new clubs meeting kids I didn't know. My confidence started to wither when I was bullied in high school. This was when my introversion became very pronounced. However I was still very lively around my friends. I was known as the chatterbox and still am to this day when I'm around people I'm comfortable with.

Many of the INFP traits resonate deeply with me. Even in primary school I used to fight injustice whenever I saw it. When an innocent kid was being used as the scapegoat, I'd stand up for them. When a teacher unfairly treated a classmate of mine, I'd call their behaviour into question. Needless to say, I paid for it. Detention, isolation, routine humiliation, you name it. But I didn't care. I was prepered to sacrifice my freedom in order to preserve my vaues. So it isn't really the NFP part of me I've started to question, but rather my introverson. Am I just a shy extrovert?
 

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I think you might be a semi extrovert who's very protective of your own values and private thoughts, and you are afraid of getting even a little involved with people who do not meet you at that level...right? :crazy:
 

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The way I usually question such things or try to describe it to friends/family who are constantly pestering me about going out or what not is to go over what my preferences are. Yes, I enjoy my time with family and friends and I do talk a lot and laugh and listen and poke at them and we all just have fun. However, I cannot do that all the time. As a matter of fact, if I do that more often than I take time for myself I start to get very drained, very tired, and downright nasty after too long. I need my thinking time, my time when there is no one else I am speaking to or have to entertain or help or figure out... it's just me. I'm fairly certain that I do not have to worry or be concerned about going stir crazy if I were locked up somewhere voluntarily and had no outside contact. It would be a lovely reprieve.

From what I understand and have observed, most extroverts need some alone time, but too much-a day is a lot, and they start to go stir-crazy. Extroverts need some interaction with others just to keep from feeling tired and drained and to be able to keep functioning.

So, the question is, which scenario do you see as being your most natural - Needing to be around people versus just enjoying their company but needing time by yourself.
 

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Your childhood experiences remind me of myself! I thought I was introverted for a long time, but looking back I think what really happened was because I was such an eager-to-please kid, I got picked on a lot and that really made me hide in a shell. I was still always focused on the outer world more than my inner world, but I was too scared to do much so I came off introverted. Do you feel like you focus more strongly on one realm than the other? Are you more likely to be too distracted by what's going on around you to think, or too distracted by your thoughts to pay attention?

From what you've said, you seem sort of extroverted to me, but that could just be because you're focusing on the things that entertain that idea in your post. You should look more at yourself on a longterm basis. INFP and ENFP share the same two main functions - Ne and Fi - but INFP uses Fi before they'd use Ne. ENFP would use Ne then Fi. There's lots of good info on the forum about those functions if you want to look it up.

Also helpful to me was this website: INFJ or INFP? a closer look There's an article called "Introverted Extroverts" if you check out the drop-down menu. Towards the end the author mentions ENFP/INFP differences more specifically, but the entire article can apply to your question.
 

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If you can gain energy from people, you are an extravert.

If you can gain energy from being alone, you are an introvert.

If you can do both and prefer to do both equally, you are an ambivert.

If you can do both but prefer to do more of one than the other, you are still either an E or an I.

It's pretty simple.
 

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as a child would you say you were more curious or sensitive? an ENFP child is very curious and quite sensitive, an INFP child vice versa.

it is FAAARRR more likely for an extrovert to confuse themselves with an introvert than for the opposite to happen, simply because it's MUCH easier to choose to be alone than to choose to be surrounded by people.

ENFPs are quite fragile in that we NEED lots of friends in order to function normally. an ISTJ for example can be quite content going about their general lives working on projects and completing tasks with relatively few friends and can be healthy and non-shy, an ENFP NEEDS lots of affirmation to be fulfilled. that's why it is common for us to confuse ourselves with INFPs, because those needs are often not met, especially in the dog-eat-dog world of highschool, and when they aren't we become insecure and "unhealthy" members of our type (that word in mbti theory not being as terrible as it sounds and certainly common, just means someone isn't fulfilling their potential as a person). when that happens, anxiety increases and mood decreases, therefore we can fool ourselves into feeling like introverts.
which of course makes it harder to get the level of affirmation we seek, and so on in a cycle.
 

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Just from the OP, it sounds like your focus is on things outside of yourself more than your inner world. That doesn't mean you may not have a rich inner world, it's just where your focus is. I think many people are close on the E/I line, so we tend to think of them in extremes when we differentiate between them, and that can confuse people who are not an extreme. Throw shyness/social anxiety into the mix, and extroverts may really find it difficult to determine what they are.

Your second paragraph says "champion of the underdogs" to me, which is more of the ENFP persona than the INFP one. ENFPs will most definitely get riled up over injustice and make personal sacrifices to fight it. INFPs tend to be a bit more subtle, although we'll show great courage when we find it necessary. I notice we work on individual levels more, which is why the INFP persona is the "healer" or the "harmonizer clarifier". We're good at helping people understand how they feel & what is important.

As for being a chatterbox, to compare myself to you, I can talk a lot on a subject that interests me with someone I am comfortable with, especially if the people in the conversation number 4 or less. The more people, the more I shrink back, because I feel overwhelmed. It's not even shyness, but a matter of how well I can focus on multiple external stimuli. I also only talk in short bursts. Then I am done for awhile, even if I am still around someone I feel safe with. However, I am an expressed introvert.
 

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I'm slightly shy too, but I think I'm Introverted because I can not talk to more than a couple people at once, and that's not because of my shyness. It's because I can't concentrate on that many people at the same time. I also tend to talk in small bursts. It's not atypical of me to ask someone a question, and then not talk to them again for a couple hours. Explaining things, or telling long, descriptive stories can drain me at times. Not only that, but I can never remember that many details about what happened. It just kind of passes my mind. If I am really interested in a subject, I can talk for a little while, but will need some time to think to myself about it for awhile. I also question my introversion because my parents said that I was a very outgoing girl when I was around 5 years old. They said I was very inquisitive, imaginative, and playful. From their descriptions, I sounded like a ENFP or ESFP.
 
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