INTROVERTED or EXTROVERTED
“Introvert”. “Extrovert”. You’ve undoubtedly heard both of these terms at least a handful of times throughout your life. The former usually brings to mind words like “shy”, “reserved”, “socially anxious/awkward”, sometimes even “antisocial”. The latter however usually brings to mind words like “outgoing”, “social”, “friendly”, and “expressive”. But what do these words actually mean, and what does it mean to be introverted or extroverted?
“Introvert” literally just means “someone who is energized or ‘recharged’ by spending time alone”. Unfortunately, the word tends to carry a negative connotation, causing some people to assume that all introverts are shy, asocial/antisocial, and/or aren’t interested in maintaining a social life. Quite the contrary, most introverts lead fulfilling social lives, but just choose to do so with a smaller group of very close friends, rather than a large group of acquaintances. Introverted people definitely need their alone time to “recharge” after social interactions, but they are fully capable of being outgoing and exciting when with the right person or people. Introverts tend to put more sentiment into their interpersonal relationships, because they have fewer of them, but being the thinkers that they are, they choose those close friends carefully. Being more of a thinker also causes introverts to be more “laid back” than the “life of the party” at social gatherings, because they prefer to observe the situation at hand and think, before acting or speaking. Since introverts are always analyzing and thinking, the longer they have to be invested in a social interaction, the more draining it is, and will likely require an extended amount of alone “recharge” time.
“Extrovert” on the other hand, is “someone who is energized by spending time with others”. This isn’t to say they don’t value their alone time, but rather that more often than not, they’d prefer to be with a larger group of people than in a smaller group or by themselves. Extroverts get most, if not all, of their energy from being around and communicating with others. Because of this, extroverts often have several broad interests and hobbies that give them a chance to connect with other people. Extroverts are typically more outgoing and expressive, and are therefore seen as more friendly or sociable, hence the more positive connotation. Extroverted individuals tend to be more “do-er”s than thinkers, and will often act or speak without entirely thinking it through, causing them to be far more spontaneous than introverts. If you enjoy speaking and being the center of attention, and prefer working or hanging out in larger groups as opposed to smaller groups, you’re probably an extrovert.
Then you have “ambivert”,which just means a relatively balanced combination of introversion and extroversion, the category majority of people fall into. Maybe you’re more introverted in certain situations or with certain people, and more extroverted with others. Introversion and extroversion are anything but “black and white”, but rather a sliding scale, where everyone is different. Both introversion and extroversion have their perceived “pros” and “cons”, but it’s important to remember that while we may all be different, we’re still equal. There’s no “better” personality type, and there’s no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed if you feel you’re “too” introverted or extroverted. Instead, embrace the qualities of your personality type, it’s part of what makes you who you are. Personally, I’m mostly introverted with the occasional extroverted tendencies. Which of these 3 categories fits you most? Are you more of an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? Feel free to share in the comments!
“(photo credit: https://www.fastcompany.com/3016031/are-you-an-introvert-or-an-extrovert-and-what-it-means-for-your-career)”
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