|I am five and I am an extravert.|
If you are an extravert you are outgoing and become energized in groups. You usually want to share your experiences and ideas with others and you like to talk and have conversations with others. You think and make decisions by talking to others. You don’t seek out solitude or alone time and you need others to feel approval and acceptance. Feedback and sharing refuels your energy. Extroverts are impulsive, fun, and easily express their feelings. They want to have many friends and love group work.
If you are an introvert you usually prefer to watch and listen before you join into an activity with others. You enjoy doing things by yourself or with one or two other people. You find it draining to be around large groups of people and you don’t want to share your thoughts and feelings until you ponder them. You have a strong sense of personal space and you enjoy being alone in your own space. Unlike an extrovert, you may find it hard to share what you are feeling and you do not process well with others. Being social drains your energy and you need alone time to recharge. You like to reflect and think about problems and you need uninterrupted work time. You may not have as many friends as your extroverted friends, but the friendships you have are deep and long lasting. You are able to entertain yourself and you often become a master of the delayed minimal response. You like to work alone and need to find ways to lower the sensory overload that you often experience.
The world encourages us to be extroverts. The school system rewards extroverts who work well in groups, share and easily bond with others. Introverts often grow up feeling that there is something wrong with them and they quickly learn to become extroverts. There is an attitude that introversion needs to be cured not valued in our world. Our preference to enjoying the internal world (introverts) or external world (extroverts) is fixed and we can learn to act outside our preference, but we can’t be forced to leave it without feeling overwhelmed, lost and knocked off centre. Some of us fall in the middle ground of both, but regardless the world is a healthier place when both types are allowed to operate in their comfort zone.
How can introverts and extroverts get along?
When you see an introvert reading, sitting alone, don’t assume that they are lonely and want to be interrupted. Respect their space and ask if they are busy before interrupting them. Introverts need to learn that it is okay to say that they are in the middle of something and would rather not socialize. Introverts work out their ideas by thinking inside their heads and they often need to remind extroverts that they are not ignoring them, rather they are silently processing what they just heard. Extroverts are talkers. This is hard and draining for introverts. Introverts need to remember to get alone time after being with a talkative extrovert to recharge and not blame extroverts for their need to talk or take it personally. Both types need to remember that the other type is drained by what energizes them. The world is filled with introverts and extroverts and we need to be more understanding and accepting of each other.