Introverts & Extroverts: Clearing Up the Differences & Misconceptions
Updated: Jul 3
Why knowing if you are more introverted or extroverted is an essential part of knowing yourself.
Introvert and extrovert – these terms are often used nowadays to describe ourselves and the people we know. Introverts are often mistakenly seen as “shy” or “antisocial.” On the other hand, extroverts are often thought of as the “life of the party.” These stereotypes are not a complete picture of either personality type. Introversion and extroversion really can be defined by a person’s social battery.
Every person has a specific energy level when it comes to their social life. We all have different methods of recharging. Introverted people tend to recharge alone, while extroverts typically use social settings to recharge. Neither way is wrong. It is important for each of us to know how our specific temperament affects our mental health. Forcing ourselves to recharge the wrong way will lead to exhaustion.
What if we have attributes of both introversion and extroversion? An ambivert is someone who feels energized while alone and with others. Every person is complex – we often have different sides of our personalities highlighted in different settings. For instance, we often feel more talkative around people we feel comfortable around. Additionally, our demeanor in a workplace is likely more professional and reserved. It is perfectly normal to have many facets to our personalities.
Knowing your strengths
A key part of being successful in life is knowing who we are. Understanding our strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits will help us excel in our relationships and careers. Extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts all have distinct strengths which contribute to society.
Introverts are often great listeners. Being able to listen is a skill which makes a person a great asset to any team they are on. Active listening requires us to be present, and to really focus on the person we are with. Introverts typically enjoy listening more than talking – which can make them excellent friends, coworkers, and partners.
Extroverts typically have the strength of networking. Since extroverts do not find people draining, they can spend a great deal of time making connections with others. This skill is very useful in jobs that require you to network with a large number of contacts and businesses. If you know that being around people makes you feel rejuvenated, then seek out a career which involves a lot of social contact.
Finding your niche
Discovering which work environment suits your personality is key. Many people who feel miserable at their job have not found a career which aligns well with their temperament. What drives extroverts is being able to engage with other people. Introverts are often motivated by calmer tasks – reading, watching TV, painting, etc. That does not mean that extroverts do not enjoy solitary tasks – it’s just not what usually excites them.
Our different idiosyncrasies and personality traits make the world a more interesting place. It is completely valid to be someone who enjoys alone time, and it also is normal to love being around people. Normalizing extroversion and introversion can help people feel less inclined to conform to others' expectations. Learning to embrace our natural temperament can help us live more fulfilled and purposeful lives.