The Extroversion-Introversion preferences are one of the most common talked about differences and most often misunderstood.
You may not be well-equipped in the understanding of personality, but you probably have heard of the term 'Extrovert' and 'Introvert', and probably identified yourself with either one.
In this section, you will understand the key differences between the Extrovert and the Introvert and dispel some of the myths about these two preferences.
When we talk about extroversion and introversion, we are really talking about the individual’s energy orientation. i.e where the individual draws energy from.
This is NOT about physical energy. Both Extroverts and Introverts need proper sleep and physical rest, and both recharge physically through proper care of their bodies.
Energy orientation talks about how they draw and recharge their soul energy.
For example, Introverts who are placed in a social environment for too long will find themselves drained and would need time alone to recharge. This is not so much a physical recharge but more so one of soulful recharge.
Herein lies the key difference:
Extroverts prefer interaction and interfacing with the world around them, meaning social interactions and activity help their soul recharge while Introverts need time to live in their inner world, meaning time for personal reflection, meditation or just simply solitude.
Everyone can operate in both the outer world and in the inner world.
The preference for Extroversion or Introversion merely tells you which world you prefer to operate in.
It is a popular misconception that Extroverts cannot live in their inner world, and Introverts cannot live in the outer world, which is by observation, clearly false. But it is a popular theory because it simplifies an otherwise complex understanding of our energy orientation.
Here are some keywords associated with each preference:
Extroverts often need to speak out their thoughts; that’s why they seem to be talkative.
While not true all the time, Extroverts generally find it easier to make sense of what they are thinking when they articulate it.
The result could be an incoherent combination of words sometimes, but its all part of the process of helping the extrovert make sense.
Introverts, however, need to consider their thoughts and words before actually articulating them. This means that they will often take a while to respond to questions.
Hence, don't try to force answers out of them: they are working it out in their heads!
The preference for variety extends to most areas of the extroverts’ life. When it comes to eating, they may prefer small bites from many different dishes, rather than eating only a single dish.
It is the same when coming to activities; they prefer variety and would like to try out different projects rather than sticking to one.
This also explains why they have many friends and acquaintances because they enjoy the variety of people they meet.
When it comes to communication topics, extroverts also change topics relatively quickly compared to introverts. When meeting up with their friends, they like to speak about a variety of things rather than sticking to a single topic.
Introverts, on the other hand, prefer depth in their lives.
While they like variety in their food as well, they are generally satisfied with a single dish for a meal. With activities, they prefer doing only a few and sticking to those.
Introverts also prefer sticking to a few close friends rather than having a big pool of acquaintances (which the Extroverts call friends!)
When chatting with these friends, they can go in depth into a single topic and stay on that same topic throughout the meeting. Hence, their friends are likely to share an interest with them.
Extroverts often need to share their emotions as they feel them and unload them by telling their friends or family. This makes them come across as the more emotionally alive or expressive types compared to the Introverts.
Introverts, on the other hand, tend to bottle up these emotions. This makes them look like they lack emotion or in extreme cases, emotionally dead. But Introverts feel as much as Extroverts, it is just simply they do not share it as readily.
However, when the Introvert does come out with their emotions, it usually comes out in a torrent like a volcanic eruption, a sudden burst of emotions that may surprise people around them.
Introverts live with an invisible bubble around them. When that space is violated, you will naturally see them back off a little or just feel uncomfortable. While it may appear aloof or cold, it’s really a need for personal space in a social setting.
It is best not to invade that ‘bubble’ of the Introvert because you would be deemed insensitive by the Introvert.
This also means that they’ll feel much more relaxed in a location where there is an abundance of space like a mountain cabin by the countryside compared to crowded places like clubs or city centers.
Extroverts are more comfortable with social settings. They are likely to stand closer to people whom they are speaking to, and thereby coming across as warm and intimate.
Extroverts generally love places where they are a lot of people doing activities, basically places with a buzz about them: city centers, beaches, clubs and so on. They are energized by the buzz.
When it comes to inviting people over to their homes, Extroverts are generally far more comfortable doing so, seeing their home as a good location to socialize.
Because of their natural need to retreat to their inner world, Introverts do need time alone to reflect, meditate, pray or just simply read or watch a movie. They can spend huge amounts of time alone, without interaction with other people and be fine with it.
In a world that supports Extroversion: about getting out there and actively engaging the world, an Introvert’s secret wish is to stay at home and simply have nothing on the agenda.
This puzzles Extroverts, who may misunderstand Introverts to be loners, lazy people, or even think that the Introvert doesn’t like spending time with them!
Reality is, in a world where they are asked to be constantly and actively engaging the world, they need a lot more time alone to recharge their souls.