The Joys of Being an Introvert / Extravert

The terms introversion and extraversion were popularized by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. All models of personality include theses traits in one form or another, including the popular Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.

Jung believed that everyone has an extraverted side and an introverted side, with one being more dominant than the other. Often thought of as a single continuum, to be high in one characteristic suggests being low in the other.

Generally speaking extraversion is associated with outward focus of energy, whereas introversion is an inward focus.

Extraverts

Extraverts are “people” people! They are at their most energised when they are around others.

A cosy night in on the sofa will simply not do; they thrive in the company of others and accept all invitations!

They Love People and People Love Them!

Extraverts can be warm, funny & energetic – the life and soul of any party. They can also be very demanding, liking to be centre stage, and prepared to do almost anything to stay in the spotlight.

For many this is no problem because extroverts can be charming and good company. They find it easy to establish contact with new people. They can stroll into any party and start chatting to whoever is on the dance floor.

Extraverts need stimulation or they become bored quite quickly. They tend to find solitary tasks quite draining. Their concentration span tends to be shorter than that of introverts.

They are happy to share their thoughts, even if they have not been fully thought through. Bouncing an idea around is part of their thought process so they tend to be a lot more spontaneous than introverts. This can make them very exciting to be around (“Let’s book a flight to Paris for tomorrow!”).

They tend to change their minds more often than introverts, who will tend to scrutinize and overthink an idea before deciding to share it with the world.

Extraverts tend to have a wide circle of friends and are always up to date on the latest developments in their social circles.

Although they can be very demanding company, extraverts are always a lot of fun to be around!

Introverts

Introverts love to think. Quiet contemplation is heavenly to introverts, who tend to prefer their own company to that of others.

Introverts can attract friends (when they want to!) with their quiet charm but they can also seem distant and aloof to someone who doesn’t appreciate the introvert mind-set. 

They Enjoy Social Events but in Much, Much Smaller Doses Than Extraverts

Generally introverts don’t like attention from a crowd unless they are very familiar with everyone.

They can be content in a bar with a group, but will mainly be the ones quietly listening, the ones who usually don’t say very much. However, when they do, they often bring unique insight.

Just because their participation is low-key does not mean they are not having a good time, or even that they are shy.

They usually pursue solitary hobbies and pastimes rather than seek to be involved in groups or team games.

Introverts can be slow to develop relationships. When they do, the relationship will be a strong one that often endures for the rest of their lives. They will have a small circle of close and trusted friends that they would do anything for, even if they don’t see them from one year to the next.

In relationships they may not be forthcoming with their feelings, particularly verbally. Often they communicate better in letters and cards, or in gestures. I have heard on many occasions partners saying something like,

“S/he writes the loveliest things when s/he sends me cards, but s/he can’t mean them because s/he never says them to my face.”

This is because introverts prefer to consider their words very carefully which sometimes makes spontaneous displays of affection difficult for them.

Deep down, they love intensely.

Although they may be harder to get to know, introverts make fantastic, loyal friends who will never let you down. They will be the people you turn to when times get hard because they are great listeners and great problem solvers.

Despite their quiet nature, life would be very, very dull indeed without introverts!

-Adrian Jackson

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