by, 09-14-2012 at 03:45 AM (245 Views)
Out of all my personality traits, this is the one that I find is the most misunderstood. Extroverts just seriously donít get it (not all but a lot). I think some do try to understand but we just think so differently that itís hard for them to.
They think introvert means shy but that isnít true. Introverts can be the life of the party, excellent public speakers and generally love socializing. We just get tired from it and need to rest by having time alone. They think we donít like people. I love people. They think we donít like spending time with people. I love spending time with people. I just like spending time alone.
Those are the two keys things I think: introverts both like and need time alone. This comes from the fact that introverts and extroverts think differently, value different things, get enjoyment from different things and get their energy from different things.
We canít control these things, just as I canít control whether I like blue or donít like red; I just do. Just as I canít control whether I value being on time and someone else canít control whether they donít value being on time. Some people care about organization, some donít. Some people enjoy reading, some donít. Thereís nothing wrong with any of these things, theyíre just differences we all have.
There are a number of ways to think about the differences between introverts and extroverts. Iíve generalized it but here are my distinctions:
You can think of it in terms of preference. I like spending time with people and alone but I prefer time alone. Itís like writing and drawing. I like doing both, theyíre both hobbies of mine but I prefer to write. Extroverts given the choice prefer to spend time with people. Extroverts can get offended that we prefer to spend time alone than spend time with them because they prefer to spend time with us. But itís not that we donít like you, we just prefer time alone to time with people.
You can think of it in terms of energy. Some people love exercising and they will do it every day but they canít do it 24 hours a day because they would get too tired so they rest. I love spending time with people but after a while it emotionally tires me out. On the other hand, I can spend day after day alone and not get emotionally tired because time alone is my version of rest. Some extroverts get offended at the idea that people tire us out because for them people energize them. But itís not your fault, itís just the way weíre wired so donít take it personally.
Or you can think of it like an electric drill that needs recharging. Even extroverts need time alone to recharge but an introvert needs more time than the extrovert. For me, Iím like a writer who said they were like an electric drill that needed two hours of recharging for ten minutes of use.
You can think of it terms of the world introverts live in. We live in the internal world of thoughts, reflection and ideas which requires time alone to think. Extroverts live in the external world of action whereas introverts live in their own minds.
You can think of it in terms of entertainment. An extrovert needs outside stimulus to be entertained. Left alone and they start getting bored, they need things to entertain them whereas an introvert can entertain themselves. My mind is all the entertainment I need. I can sit for hours doing nothing but thinking and Iím having the best time.
I think itís much easier for an introvert to understand extroverts because extrovertism is an outward quality that you can see and we live in an extrovert world. Extrovertism is rewarded and accepted but introvertism is seen as strange and inferior. Extroverts try to Ďfixí us. They tell us to talk more, be louder and go out more.
It would be hard for extroverts to live in an introvert world. After a while theyíd be so bored, lacking energy and enjoyment. I imagine introverts would try to Ďfixí extroverts telling them to stop being so restless and be at peace with silence and their own company. (Iím sure this must happen in some introvert households where there is one extrovert family member and that person must feel really misunderstood.) In the extrovert world, after a while introverts get really tired, drained and lack enjoyment. This is the real world so introverts donít try to fix extroverts but extroverts try to fix introverts because culturally extrovertism is the way life is.
Itís not that one is the right or wrong way of doing things. Thereís nothing wrong with introverts or extroverts and thereís nothing wrong with an extrovert or introvert word. Itís just the way things are. But it does mean one group isnít well understood.