Have you ever wondered if you are more introverted or extroverted and what that says about your personality? There is plenty to be learned by answering this question, or even understanding what it means.
Most believe it means you either enjoy being around others more or being alone. But it is actually a central dimension of human personality theory.
The terms introversion and extraversionwere first discovered and popularized by Carl Jung.Extraversion tends to be manifested in outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior, whereas introversion is more reserved, quiet, shy behavior. Virtually all comprehensive models of personality include these concepts.
The central question here is whether you obtain the most gratification from being with others or being alone. Do you come alive in company and feel more like yourself, and dislike spending much time alone? Than you tend towards extroversion.
If you find it much more interesting to spend time alone, and literally recharge yourself in solitude, than you tend towards being introverted. Some have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction. This is similar to Jung’s view, although he focused on the expansion of psychic energy rather than physical energy. Few modern conceptions make this distinction.
You may find it interesting to study your own tendencies in this regard as you age. Most of us are a little bit of both. Ambiversion is a term used to describe people who fall more or less directly in the middle and exhibit tendencies of both groups. An ambivert is normally comfortable with groups and enjoys social interaction, but also relishes time alone in solitude.
I always wondered about that in my Myers Briggs Test. Why did I have to be one or the other? Now I know I am quite the combo. I like to think of myself as balanced, extroverted in my writing, deep friendships, and public speaking, introverted in my need to build up reserves of psychic energy through time spent alone in thought and study.
BTW, these tendencies can and do shift and change as we age. Next time I’ll tell you how and why.