There probably aren’t pure extroverts nor pure introverts. In my opinion, our personalities fall along a sliding scale between the two classifications. By my non-professional reckoning, we are ambiverts who function along a spectrum to varying degrees, according to social circumstances.
It’s tempting to self-categorize oneself as either an extrovert or as an introvert. In my view, this is an unhealthy practice. Imposing limiting beliefs about oneself stunts personal growth. On the other hand, it’s smart to understand where our personalities lie along the extrovert/introvert spectrum along with when and how this varies due to circumstances.
For example, in most instances, my personality leans strongly towards introversion. However, I selected a public career because it provided just the right amount of social stimulation I need. Even after retirement, I still crave time behind the mic. After public time, a fair amount of alone time is necessary to charge my emotional “batteries”.
Similar feelings are also present regarding parties and other gatherings of several people. Parties are not my default mode of entertainment, but I greatly enjoy being included from time to time. Partying, mixing and socializing provide great joy. Depending upon the event, mingling among a crowd even feels energizing.
Then again, most obligatory social events such as weddings, funerals, and corporate gatherings drain my emotional energy. Obligatory events leave me drained and wanting to retreat to my den at home to recharge for hours.
Most folks I know also have complex personalities along the extrovert/introvert scale leaning one way or another. They are not entirely one or the other. Some friends have low tolerance for parties and get-togethers while others cannot stand to be alone for more than a few hours. Some love family reunions and other people loathe them. The same goes for cocktail parties and other social “mixers”.
A common misconception about introversion is that it is sometimes mistaken for shyness. Being introverted is the preference for quiet solitude or small social settings. Shyness is more about fear of being socially judged. We may feel shy about going on a date or having to undergo a job interview. Shyness is concern about what others might think about us. Introverted people may also be shy, but not necessarily so. Extroverted people can experience conditional shyness, too.
During my younger years, I mistook shyness for introversion and I judged them in a negative light. I observed outgoing, extroverted peers and wished I could be like them. I tried hosting a few parties in order to try on the partier role. It felt completely unnatural and overly awkward. Although I had fun, it wasn’t rewardingly fun. I eventually accepted that, in my case, introversion won out over extroversion. To have strong introverted tendencies is not negative.
Introversion can be quite positive. This was revealed after much work to diminish personal shyness. I finally came to own my introverted traits and to accept them as super-powers. I can spend many hours, and even days, alone in solitude. There seems to be a certain sensibility about preferring a lot of alone-time.
Regardless of where your personality lies along the extrovert/introvert spectrum, it’s ultimately good to accept and embrace that part of you.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes pop singer, Daryl Hall. “I was always an introvert as a kid. Then, when I first came out as a human being, used to be one of those guys who’d go nuts on the dance floor, and people would gather around.”
I prefer small social settings over large ones. For me, it’s easier to find connections with other people at those type of events.
Yes. Small gatherings seem more congenial.
I agree that nobody is strictly one or the other type.
Agreed. I reflect sometimes on how introversion and extroversion might change over time. Meaning, how as we grow and develop, they might also iterate. Hm. Interesting to think about.
Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
HEY—I RESEMBLE THISW POST! ::D
Agree. I always felt that extrovert vs. introvert was needlessly limiting and not particularly useful. Some days, I feel more extrovert, some days, more introvert.