The Curse of the Omnivert
Loners with Lots of Friends
For a long time, it was assumed that there were only two types of people. You were either an introvert or an extrovert. To the surprise of no one, like gender, it turns out our personality types are also a spectrum. With the addition of Ambivert and Omnivert as blurred middle grounds, it gives people like me (omnivert) a place that feels a little more familiar.
Since I am an omnivert, and as I have lived experience with being one, I want to talk about it, what it means and how it affects me and others like me. I would like to also preface this with the following disclaimer:
I am not a medical or psychiatric professional. I am not an authoritative source on any of these things, this is merely my lived experience and opinions.
Now that we have that out of the way. What is an omnivert? An omnivert is someone who displays classic traits of both introverts and extroverts, in specific situations. For example, I can be the life of any party, flitting my way around the room, engaged in conversation, with multiple people for hours and hours, and flourishing the entire time. No problem, easy as pie! When the party is over however, I will need two days of solitude to recharge my social reserves. I will need soft music, warm beverages, long books, and fuzzy socks. I will likely turn my phone off, and I probably won't respond on social media. I know my social batteries are full when I start to get lonely.
See here is the fun thing about me, I need both the time to recharge my batteries, and the activity to drain them. If my batteries are full for too long, I get anxious and snappy, and become much less fun to be around. If they are empty for too long, I will force detachment through dissociative behaviors, like staring at nothing on my phone, or blanking off into space in the middle of a conversation, or taking long and unnecessary trips to the bathroom to get a moment alone. In short, I desperately need other people, just not all the time.
The other part of it is who I hang out with, which can be isolating for a lot of my friends. I go through cycles where I will hang out with one person, or one group of people for a while then shift to the next person or group for another while. Some of this has to do with the amount of social energy expected from me with each group. When I have the itch to be around people but need to recharge as well, I tend to hang out with my friends that are lower key. Preferring to go to someone's house and watch movies in companionable silence, where as when my batteries are full, I have been known to hang out with the people who enjoy going out to bars, or go to parties, or when I am feeling extra ambitious, I have been known to host a party or two.
I think this is also why I have felt such companionship and camaraderie with people who I have met and interact with online. I can express all the love and support and humor without having to put on airs. I can be genuine without plastering a smile on my face, or checking my posture. In other words, it is all the social with very little of the energy required for face to face interactions.
But as I stated previously this can be isolating for my friends who are not in the current rotation, and I am aware that it can feel hurtful. No one likes to be told you don't have the energy to hang out only to find out that you have hung out with someone different. My intention is never to be hurtful, but how do you say, "I don't have the energy required to hang out with you specifically" in a nice way?
So to all my friends who have been wonderful and accepting of my odd social quirks, I appreciate your willingness to adapt, and not take it personally.