Day 2 – What I want to tell you about Introverts

My name is Angela and I am an Introvert.

Drawn to extroverts, I used to wish I was more outgoing like them, more of a jokester and more of the “life of the party” type. But alas, I’m not. And that’s okay. I am not even fun, really. (Also okay – a recent discovery). More reserved, I prefer one-on-one deep talks over low lighting and hot tea to the excitement of the latest social soirée.

Society seems to elevate extroverts and view them as the favored personality type. I believe that’s because they are more overt in their awesomeness. They are more of an open book. Introverts are awesome too but you have to be willing to crack the code before we’ll let you in. Sure, we’re tricky. But we’re worth the effort.

So, let me clear up a few misconceptions about us introverts. Once you understand us better maybe you’ll be more willing to solve the mystery that is the introverted personality. Pay attention:

1) Just because we’re quiet sometimes, doesn’t mean we’re not interested. We are! But, generally speaking, we don’t think quickly on our feet. We need time to gather our thoughts and formulate a clear, accurate picture of what we really think and feel. The last thing we would ever want to do is say something we’ll regret. So, cut us some slack; we speak with caution.

2) We are not going to jump at the chance to attend the next big social event. At least, not unless we are surrounded by close friends that we trust. The mere idea of meeting tons of new people all in one night is draining. We’ll do it. But we have to be in the right mood.

3) Let us be. After lots of socializing, we need time to ourselves. While you get energized being at big events with lots of people, we get energized being alone afterwards. Or debriefing with just one or two people. My husband is a big-time introvert, even moreso than me. During really busy seasons we like to schedule some time for ourselves to recover. In fact, I think my body physically rejects too much socializing at once. It seems like every time I overfill my calendar, I get sick. Coincidence? Nope, the life of an introvert.

4) Just because we need alone time doesn’t mean we hate people. I, for one, love people. I love being with people. I love learning about and understanding people. I have a degree in psychology for crying out loud. But that doesn’t mean I can be around them all the time.

I hope this clears things up a bit. This list is by no means comprehensive.

What about you extroverts? Need to clear the air?

Day 19 – E/I Follow Up

I read a blog post that I thought was a great follow up to the E/I post I wrote earlier in the series regarding Introverts and Extroverts. This pertains specifically to marriage but I think it has great application for any kind of close relationship. Check it out here.
Also here’s the link again to the Myer’s-Brigg site online in case you’re interested in finding out your own personality profile! The link I’ve provided will take you to a specific page addressing personality and relationships but the whole site has some great info!
Enjoy!

Day 7 Additional Info…

If you’re interested in learning more about your personality type I want to recommend a couple resources. The most commonly used inventory that assesses personality is called Myers-Briggs. In addition to testing whether you are an introvert or extrovert, the test also determines where you fall in three other categories and provides a 4-letter description of your overall personality type. This test has been around since the 1940’s and produces a reliable assessment of who people are. You may not agree with all of your test results but if nothing else, it gets you thinking about the different aspects that make you, YOU!

There is another test called the Keirsey Temperament Sorter which is very similar to the Myers-Briggs. David Keirsey has written a book called “Please Understand Me II” that contains the actual personality test as well as tons of information about each personality type and even how they interact with the others. There are also chapters that describe how your personality may play out in marriage, parenting and leadership endeavors.

Both resources are incredibly informative! I hope this is helpful!

Day 7 – E or I?

I took a class on Diversity last week and one of the things we discussed was diversity with regards to personality traits. We defined the introvert and extrovert characteristics and then divided up as a class into those sides. What surprised me, was the fact that only four of us clearly knew where we fell on that spectrum. The other 15-20 people in the class were unsure of whether they were an introvert or extrovert.
As someone who has read books and taken classes on personality, this topic is one I am familiar with by now. But I am realizing that not everyone is aware of what defines their personality and how becoming aware can impact a variety of situations in life.
So we’ll start with descriptions. What traits characterize an Extrovert and Introvert?
Extrovert
Introvert
Gets “recharged” being around groups of people
Gets “recharged” during alone time
Gets lonely and bored quickly from being alone
Gets tired easily from being around people
Sometimes speaks before they think
Thinks before they speak. Sometimes spends too much time thinking and misses an opportunity to speak.
Values having a large social network
Values having  a few close friends
Vents problems verbally
Tends to reflect on problems internally
Can be difficult to just sit and listen
Does not have issue sitting without interruption

Extroverts make up approximately 70-75% of the population and introverts make up about 25-30%. There is nothing right or wrong about either personality type, but as you can see above, they are clearly different.  You may be reading these descriptions and thinking that you don’t fit into either category; while there is a spectrum for sure and you may land somewhere in the middle, the majority of people land on one side or the other.
So what does this mean for your life? Well, a lot actually! This seems like a small thing but understanding yourself better is incredibly important.
I have heard a lot of introverts complain about the fact that they are not as social as their extroverted friends. That they “don’t have a life” or that it’s harder to really make their mark on the social scene because they tend to be more quiet or need alone time. Introverts can still have a life without feeling like they have to push through to the point of exhaustion (attending every social event they get invited to, going out of their way to help everyone that asks, never saying “no” etc.). If they do that they won’t be effective for anyone; They just need to step away every so often to get rejuvenated and explain that need to their more extroverted friends.

In the workplace, extroverts may speak up more in meetings making introverts feel like they can’t. It is helpful for coworkers to understand each other and know that introverts are not being quiet because they don’t care but rather they need some reflection time before they give their two cents. As a manager it would be helpful to know this in order to seek out introverted employees and make sure to find out their thoughts on various work issues. Extroverts may speak up without even thinking and say things they don’t mean or that are even out of line. Rather than judging them or writing them off as inappropriate, managers need to understand them and have patience. It’s also helpful for employees to understand their supervisor’s personality type. If an extroverted supervisor is frustrated and speaks out negatively toward an employee, it could be that the comments weren’t well-thought out. Or, if an introverted manager is intentional about setting side time each day to lock themselves in their office and be unavailable, it’s not necessarily because they don’t like their employees or are lazy and antisocial, it could be because they need that rejuvenation time.

Both personalities are important and understanding this small thing can really make an impact for people both socially and professionally. So… are you an extrovert or introvert? What do you want others to understand about your personality?

See you tomorrow!

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