I’ve always been fascinated by the issue of personality – how/why people do what they do and say what they say. One of the best, most useful guides to personality I’ve ever found is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, based on the now-classic books Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II.
The sorter consists of items that measure personality/temperament traits based on the following dimensions (derived from the Myers-Briggs assessment), all dealing with the different ways people interact with the world:
- Introversion/extroversion (or extraversion)
If you don’t know your type, you can take a free test here: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
While all of these things measure ways we respond to different people and situations, introversion/extroversion is the one that is most visible to other people – and it can even be easier for us to recognize about ourselves.
For example, the world loves extroverts. They are the successful, capable, results-oriented individuals who always seem to be happier and healthier than everyone else. Unfortunately, introverts are frequently perceived by others as just the opposite. They may not luck happy, healthy, or successful, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. Looks, after all, can be deceiving.
Let’s take a minute to look at the things that identify introverts and extroverts, and see where you think you might fall on the spectrum. And, if you’re curious as to how your level of happiness measures up to that of others, you might want to take this free personal happiness assessment.
You Might Be an Introvert If:
- You can’t stand to be the center of attention.
- You feel more energized and comfortable when you spend time alone.
- Your thoughts often turn inward, even to the point of seeming to ignore what’s going on around you.
- You may choose to stay quiet in public, even if you have the right answer to a question or pertinent information to add to a conversation.
- You enjoy one-on-one conversations with people with whom you feel comfortable.
- You don’t have many friends, but the ones you do have are very, very close.
- Your top concern is not the approval of others, nor is your self-worth derived from it.
- You prefer to work alone, or in very small groups.
Introverts also have trouble dealing with change, but their ability to focus is much stronger than that of the extroverts. While the extroverts are chattering away, their introvert counterparts are calmly and quietly listening to what they have to say, even as they’re wondering at the sheer volume of seemingly shallow thoughts spilling from their lips. On the other hand, the extroverts think the introverts are kind of strange too. Here are some of the ways in which they’re different.
You Might Be an Extrovert If:
- You thrive on being the center of attention, and you even demand it sometimes, with your loud, boisterous manner.
- You feel more energized and comfortable when you’re with other people (and the more, the better), even if you’re with a group of strangers.
- You don’t let strangers stay strangers for long; you immediately introduce yourself and think of everyone you meet as your new friends.
- Your circle of friends and acquaintances is broad and crowded, but your relationships are not always very close – at least not compared to those of the introverts.
- You are quick to give your opinions on everything, whether anyone has asked for them or not.
- You generally talk more than you listen, and you usually disclose too much information to everyone around you.
- You are very easily distracted and often move from one task to another without completing any of them.
- You crave social recognition and the positive appraisal of others, and you may feel like a failure if you don’t obtain it.
But you remember when I said above that this introversion/extroversion thing was sort of a spectrum? You may feel that all, or very few, of the above introvert/extrovert statements fit you personally. That’s because it’s not necessarily a black-or-white issue. Think of it in the following way:
If you resonated with statements in both of the above-mentioned categories, you may not be an introvert OR an extrovert.
Most people have both introverted and extroverted qualities. If you agreed with a mixture of the above statements, you may qualify as an ambivert, and that is a good thing. Really. The somewhat ambidextrous ability to thrive in multiple environments and situations usually means you’ll have more personal and social success, as well as better health and well-being than either the true introverts or extroverts.