Most of us think that being introverted or extroverted is as simple as falling into one of two boxes. Those in the first box prefer to stay home on a Friday night in pajamas, while those in the second box prefer to go clubbing with a large group of friends. So, introverts or extroverts?
Would you rather be in the spotlight or stay as far away as you can from it?
The truth is, your personality is not black and white. “There are no pure types in psychology”. Extroversion/introversion is a continuous dimension, just like height and weight. There are people who succeed in extremes, such as very heavy or very tall people. There are also people who have a very high point in less stressed situations. Most people fall, however, in the middle of these bell-shaped curves.
Regardless of where we occupy the spectrum, there is no doubt that personality plays a vital role in our daily lives. “Everything people do is a reflection of their personality,” says Michael Robinson, Professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University. “Personality is always with us, influencing what we think, what we feel and how we behave.”
Our personalities are composed of what psychologists call the Big 5 personality traits, which have the acronym OCEAN. The acronym stands for openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. So, even though extroversion is only a part of our personalities, it is still a big part of the way we think and act. How extroverted or introverted we are can influence everything, from our social conceptions to our relationships, to our careers.
Here’s what you need to know about the two polar ends of the continuum, and determine where you fit.
What characterizes an introverted person?
An introverted person tends to have prosperity over time spent with their own thoughts and ideas. Common introvert traits:
- You enjoy the time spent alone.
- Avoiding situations where you’re the center of attention.
- You prefer one-on-one relationships.
- Not into talking more than necessary.
- The absolute need for time spent recharging and reflecting.
- Enjoying work while in quieter and more independent environments.
- You focus deeply and think about specific interests.
“What confuses people is the difference between introversion and timidity,” says Robin Edelstein, Ph.D. Dr. Edelstein is President of the Psychology Program for the Concept of Personality and Social Contexts at the University of Michigan. “Shyness has anxiety or another negative component.” Pure intrusion, on the other hand, does not have this negative aspect. “They are happy to be alone, without so much social contact, but without other insecurities”. Introverts and extroverts do not differ in the quality of the friendships they have. ”
Pure introversion, on the other hand, does not have this negative aspect. “They are happy to be alone, without so much social contact, but without this anxiety about the “Will I be accepted?” question. Introverts and extroverts do not differ in the quality of the friendships they have. ” Another important thing to remember about introverts is that they prefer to be around a limited number of people. Still, that doesn’t mean they don’t have good friends and relationships, says Robinson.
“Once friendship is established, introverts and extroverts do not differ in the quality of the friendships they have.” Our society tends to be more extroverted. Just think about leadership roles, building connections and so on. However, the seemingly inadequate images that introverts sometimes receive don’t bother them at all.
“A lot of people have argued that we value extroversion so much in Western culture,” says Edelstein. “But it’s not problematic to be an introvert.” In fact, in addition to having great relationships, introverts can also be extremely successful in their careers. The only difference is that they tend to gravitate more towards roles that have an element of loneliness. Those can be accounting, engineering, writing or driving trucks on long-distances, for example.
What characterizes an extroverted person?
Being more of an extroverted person means that you will thrive on the energy of the people and things around you. Common extrovert traits:
- You tend to have many connections on social networks.
- Happiness amplifies while being the center of attention.
- You tend to think aloud.
- Quick decision making.
- Energy is absorbed from other people.
- Enthusiastic and positive. You grow up in team-oriented and open working conditions.
“Extroverts are more likely to be at the center of a social network,” says Ryne Sherman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Texas Tech University. “They are more likely to be people who know a lot of people.”
There is no research that shows the differences between how introverts and extroverts react and accept change. Extroverts tend to have larger social circles, which could make a difference in the impact of life events. They can attract more people to provide comfort, to provide social support…
When a major event happens, they have more support than introverts. “Our world is set up and oriented more towards extroverts, they make many connections.” This is part of the reason why extroverts can be found more often in leadership roles or people-centered careers, such as sales, marketing, or public relations. But it is important to note that extroversion is still a component of a person’s personality.
I believe that mixing introversion and extroversion with other traits will result in a different flavor. For example, there is a big difference between an extrovert who is nice, to one who is strong and makes polite comments. So how do you find out if you’re an introvert or extrovert?
Most of us will fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. This is a good thing, especially since our society has become increasingly obsessed with dividing us into “types”.