It’s no surprise that the loud, proactive personality types of the world take up the majority of our dominant roles in society. After all, they’re the ones who shout loud enough to get to the top whether that’s at work, in social circles or even scrolling our social media.
But all that does is create a disproportionate view of the world where all the introvert sees is a bunch of people not like them. So what’s really going on. Are there as many extroverts as the media would have us believe? Or can you be both?
Let’s take a look at what defines an extrovert and if it’s possible the lines are more blurred than we first thought.
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An extrovert is someone who prefers socializing over solitude. They are outgoing, talkative people who thrive on human interaction. In contrast, introverts prefer spending time alone or with a small group of close friends. What’s more, they may have trouble dealing with large crowds and don’t enjoy being the center of attention. Many people think that all extroverts are loud and boisterous, but this isn’t always true.
It’s often easy for introverts to misunderstand the intentions of an extrovert, since it’s not always about the stereotype of being the loudest in the room, though it may seem that way! Here are some examples of how extroverted personalities have their benefits besides being outspoken.
Extroverts enjoy being around other people and can be comfortable talking to strangers. This makes them good at networking and meeting new people. It’s part of the reason so many extroverts are found in sales roles and management roles where networking is at the core of business-to-business transactions.
Extroverts look to other people for comfort. So spending time with lots of people, especially friends and family, is a must for any extrovert to satisfy their social urges. Depending on the level of extroversion, some may stick to one social network or have multiple social lives.
Busy social environments stimulate extroverts and their understanding of the world around them. It’s not uncommon for extroverted behavior to go hand in hand with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), where the desire for stimulating environments, bright lights and the white noise of crowds of people provide that much-needed dopamine fix.
Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist who studied personality types. He believed that there were four basic personality types. Over time, various schools of thought have adapted to his four types, with many now using the terms extraverts, introverts, ambiverts (people who can switch between both), and neurotics.
These categories aren’t meant to be rigidly defined; rather, they’re used as a way to describe how people behave in certain situations. For example, you might be a typical extrovert when you’re out having fun with your friends, but when they aren’t around, you could also be an antisocial extrovert if you’re enjoying quiet time in solitude with a book in hand.
Jung’s studies paved the way for others to develop these ideas into personality assessment methods such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. These tests have been imperative in allowing people in their personal life and professional life to gain the best understanding of themselves and others around them. In doing so, working relationships improve and marriages are repaired.
The differences between introverts and extroverts are often very distinct. Extroverts are naturally sociable people who tend to be gregarious and outgoing. They’re often very energetic and enthusiastic about life. They love meeting new people and having fun. However, it can sometimes be difficult for extroverts to maintain friendships because they crave constant stimulation from others.
Introverts are naturally quiet and reserved. They like to spend time alone reading, watching movies, playing video games or listening to music. They also need plenty of sleep and are easily fatigued by too much exposure to stimulating environments such as bright lights.
The terms introvert and extrovert often get thrown around as binary pairs, where you are either an introvert or an extrovert. But as we’ve seen, the relationship between extroversion and introversion is not as clear-cut as first assumed. With exception of the extreme extrovert or introvert, that notion is far removed from reality.
Ambiverts are people who are both introverted and extroverted. They’re comfortable spending time alone as well as with others. They’re usually friendly and open to new experiences.
Needless to say, you can have social introverts and antisocial extroverts. The outgoing introverts, in particular, may still show their introversion in their reserved, calm temperament. But due to levels of emotional security within themselves or through lived experience such as attending a networking event throughout their career, they may feel comfortable enough in that space to
The important thing to note here is that, as proven by ambiverts, you can exhibit extroverted traits as an introvert, and introverted traits as an extrovert. Much of this comes down to other influences in your personality type and upbringing, such as trauma and upbringing.
It’s also easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when you factor in autistic masking and roleplay too. Sometimes known as social butterflies, even the most introverted person who is autistic can show personality traits of an extrovert as they spend time with people. This also leads to an identity crisis in many cases, especially in later-diagnosed autistic individuals who feel a personality assessment may deliver the wrong personality type.
The introverted extrovert often perceives a worldly view of what goes on around them, but looks inside themselves for comfort. For example, many introverted extroverts are passionate campaigners who double-up their inner confidence, and empathic awareness of the world for change (The author of this article is a campaigner type!)
Ambiverts are often misunderstood because their personalities seem contradictory. However, it’s not uncommon for them to show both extroverted and introverted behaviors. Some have said that being an ambivert is like having two personalities within one body. While there isn’t much research on ambivers, some studies suggest that ambiverts have more empathy than either extroverts or introverts.
The idea of empathy and ambiversion ties in to the notion of upbringing affecting someone’s base level personality type. Empaths in particular are a prime example of this, where childhood trauma has triggered an extreme extroverted awareness like no other of situations and those around them.
If you’re wondering what to do if you identify as an ambivert, just remember that you don’t need to choose between being an extrovert or an introvert; you can be both at once!
As an introvert, it can be overwhelming having an extrovert in your life. But understanding their behaviors can go a long way to making sure you’re as comfortable as possible with their seemingly out-there personality.
Why not check out this article on being an introvert while you’re here and learn more about yourself!
Last Updated on November 16, 2022 by Neurodadversity
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