Does one have to an extrovert or an introvert?
Have you ever wondered whether you are an extrovert or an introvert? I always did and suspected that I was somewhere inbetween. Now I am quite sure I am.
It was out of curiosity that I picked up this book called ‘The Introvert Advantage’ by Marti Olsen Laney Psy.D. It was published a few years ago and was on sale…
The book has a test which determines whether you are an extrovert or and introvert and well…it turns out that I am a bit of both.
What are extroverts and introverts all about?
Extroverts, according to the author, like to be in the thick of things, need external stimulation, talk more and listen less. Introverts prefer to relax with a few close friends, get over-stimulated by external stimuli, appear calm, tend to think before speaking and so on…and introverts are not necessarily unfriendly or socially withdrawn or even shy. But the major difference between an ‘Innie’ and an ‘Outie’ (how I shudder at those labels!) is that an ‘Outie’ requires external stimulation to be rejuvenated while ‘Innie’ needs alone time. Introverts may go out and socialise but they need time alone, more than they spend with other people.
Are there more extroverts in this world?
The author of the book also goes on to say that the majority of people in the world are extroverts…
But most of the people I know, from neighbours and class mates to friends and relatives, are neither extroverts nor introverts. In my opinion most people have some of the qualities of introverts and some of the extroverts. I may be wrong, but whether I am or not, I think it’s time we stopped labeling people as I am quite sure that many people move from one state to another sometime in their lives. I have seen this transformation in several people due to circumstances. One can always say that these people remain basically the same, but that is irrelevant as it’s how people function that counts.
I am sure psychologists already know this, that most people do not fall neatly into either category, but unfortunately lay people have this habit of putting people into one category or the other. And the problem is that we can label ourselves as well, and unconsciously try and fit into these labels.
There are some misconceptions about extroversion and introversion
Many people have a superficial idea of what extroversion or introversion is all about. Generally people feel that anyone who is a party animal is an extrovert and anyone who is shy is an introvert…but the experts say that this isn’t the right way to evaluate. Public speakers can be introverts and so can sociable people.
And as Brightfeather’s post points out, society tends to think that being extroverted is good and being introverted isn’t.
That’s sad because I am quite sure that anyone who is a typically extroverted or typically introverted has a need to see the other side and bring a bit of balance into their lives.
But coming back to the book…well, it’s more than 300 pages long and seems to have been written to give confidence to introverts. It talks about ways that introverts can use to come out of their shell and feel more at ease in hectic social situations. It’s written in a simple manner, and meant for the layman. The book isn’t earthshaking in any way but it did increase my understanding of what extroversion and introversion really is.