Introversion versus Extraversion Personality Types

Some people love to spend their free time alone in their room, curled up with a book.
Other people love to kickback with friends after a long day at work.
Some people prefer to go for a solo run or relaxing drive to de-stress.
Other people anticipate good times at the dance hall or party spot to celebrate the weekend.

Social butterfly vs. Book lover.
The person who talks to everyone at the party vs. the person who stays within a small group.
Introvert vs. Extrovert

Psychology has studied personality traits for decades, allowing researchers to classify and organize people's differences. The results of these research studies helps to sort employment applications, boost company camaraderie, sort matches for online dating hopefuls, and more. Analyzing your personality can offer valuable personal insight, especially in regards to overcoming bad habits or destructive patterns.

Today I'll discuss the difference between introversion and extraversion.

Originally developed by Carl Jung (who was the formulating theories at the same time as Sigmund Freud), introversion and extraversion explain how people interact with the world, especially regarding social matters.

Think of it like this:
There is a line continuum with a large "I" (for Introversion) on one end and a large "E" (for Extraversion) on the other end. People do not all sit squarely on the "E" or the "I," but they fall somewhere along the path between the two. For example, if you identify yourself as more of an extrovert, you fall somewhere between the center line at the "E." The closer you are to the middle, the more you balance both traits; if you score closer to the end of the line, you have a stronger inclination towards that personality description.

People who lean towards extraversion enjoy associating with many people. They usually enjoy crowds, parties, and large groups of people because they find fulfillment absorbing energy from those gatherings. Social time recharges them and satisfies other personality needs.
On the other hands, people who lean towards introversion crave some time spent in solitary activities. They often enjoy solo activities such as reading, drawing, or writing. Have quiet time alone allows them to recenter themselves and feel peace. They charge their energy tank through quality alone time or in small groups.

You cannot be fully an Introvert or an Extrovert, because we all have bits of both traits in our personalities. Most likely, you lean closer towards one trait, hence the phrase "Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?" I prefer to say you lean towards one side or the other, because labels can be confining. Obviously people who lean towards extraversion can have satisfying alone time, and more introverted people can attend social gatherings. Introversion does not mean shyness. Frequently I hear people lament that they are an Introvert in my counseling office, as if it's a doomsday sentence. I enjoy explaining to them what that them actually means so I can cheer up their mood.

This is how I explain Introversion and Extraversion to my counseling clients:

Introverts and Extroverts recharge their batteries in different ways.

Neither trait is more valuable or "better" than the other; they are simply different.
If you find yourself leaning towards one side, than embrace your discovery! Now you know how to charge your batteries and be fresh to face the world. Try not to confine yourself to this as a "label," but let that knowledge guide you in decision making and time management. 

I lean towards Extraversion. 
(Most counselors, on the other hand lean towards Introversion. .  .)
I greatly enjoy quiet time, especially when my kids are napping.
I like to take walks by myself, when I find the time, and I enjoy creating art, when I find the time. If I find a great book, I'll try to seclude myself, if I have time, in order to read all at once.
Notice how "find the time" was mentioned frequently in the above paragraph? Because I am more of an extrovert, I place a  higher priority on spending time with friends or having play-dates at my home. I like solitary time, but I love social time. So, I usually choose to spend my free time with other people, and occasionally I pull away for alone time, where I enjoy self-reflection and quiet. On the other hand, someone who leans towards Introversion would do the opposite. He or she might prioritize their alone time, and only occasionally go out of their way to schedule social time with large groups. 
Neither trait is good or bad or wrong or right; they're simply different.

Which trait best describes you? How do you embrace that trait and practice self-care?

Labels: ,