Some people are outgoing and inclined to feel very confident in social situations. Others are inward-focused and feel happiest when they’re in small groups or on their own. Carl Jung was responsible for popularizing the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” when describing these two types of people. But as with so many things, there’s no real black-and-white here.
In fact, there are several shades of grey between the two opposites, and that may mean that it becomes difficult to know which way you lean. Buoyant extroverts may well encounter situations in which they behave in an introverted way, while usually-quiet introverts can become the life of the party in certain situations.
How to Know Whether You’re Extroverted or Introverted
Knowing ourselves can be difficult. While a painter can stand back and admire his work, we’re living in our own skins all the time, so getting an unbiased test to tell whether we’re introverted or extroverted and to what degree we have these characteristics can help. The Myers-Briggs Type indicator measures four characteristics, combining them into a four-letter description of our personalities. An ESFJ personality type, for example, is an extrovert (E) who relies on the senses (S) to a greater degree than intuition. He or she is very in touch with their feelings (F) and yet still uses careful judgement (J) over perception.
The test itself is very simple. It consists of a series of statements with which you can agree or disagree to varying degrees. It then analyzes your answers to allocate a personality type. In this article, we’ll be looking at introversion versus extroversion and why it’s important to know which of the two is part of your personality, and to what degree.
Introverts vs Extroverts
Before we jump into this topic head-first, there’s one point that must be cleared first. In popular attitudes, it’s often thought that extroversion is “good” and introversion is “bad.” This is an overly-simplistic interpretation. Either of these characteristics has potential pitfalls and positives. Extreme extroverts, for example, can be overly exuberant and “out-there” while extreme introverts can have a tendency to overthink and become depressed. And, while extroverts could be broadly classed as “doers”, introverts are more inclined to be thinkers.
That doesn’t mean that extroverts are incapable of thinking, nor are introverts incapable of doing – in most of us, some degrees of extraversion and introversion exist all in one package. The point here is that neither extroversion nor introversion are all bad. They merely point towards areas of preference or a “comfort zone.”
Why it’s Worth Knowing the Score
Understanding ourselves and the ways in which we react in different situations isn’t always as easy as it may sound. Knowing our preferences with the help of an unbiased test can help us to see why we feel uncomfortable in certain situations and why we enjoy being in others. It points toward areas where we can challenge ourselves to try something outside our comfort zones, and it indicates areas where we will be in our element.
For personal growth, it’s best not to remain only in situations where we feel entirely comfortable. A balance between introversion and extroversion where there is only a slight leaning towards one or the other is likely to be the “happy medium” that offers the best of both worlds. For example, extroverts’ boundless energy and outward focus can be their own worst enemy. There are many typically introverted activities that help to put a smile on one’s face.
Interestingly, a balance between extroversion and introversion is known as ambiversion, a term less commonly used in daily language, and a rather controversial one since most people have a bias towards introversion or extraversion no matter how small it may be. All the same, some balance between the two opposites has the potential for a bigger comfort-zone in which the social skills of the extrovert are balanced against the thoughtfulness of the introvert. Personality isn’t set in stone, and it’s not unusual for scores to change over time – provide you know where to focus and have the will to work towards expanding your spectrum of possibilities.
Knowing our tendencies and what we prefer can also help a lot when choosing a career or leisure activities. It can also help us to better understand differences between ourselves and people close to us or in our broader social circle. So, apart from improving our understanding of ourselves, knowing the score helps us to understand others.
Myers-Briggs Personality Types: Introvert vs Extrovert and More
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator embraces much more than the question of whether we’re introverted or extroverted. As a tool that promotes self-knowledge, each of the four indices have their points of interest and value. In this article. We’ve discussed only one of these, but it provides some insight into the usefulness of completing this personality test at intervals throughout our lives.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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