Introvert or Extrovert?

Part One of a Four-Part Personality Series

Where do you focus your attention? On the outside world? Or inside your mind, pondering thoughts and ideas?

We all do both. But we focus on one world more than the other. Determining which you do naturally is the first step to figuring out your Myers-Briggs personality.

So are you an extrovert or introvert? Let’s take a look at three questions to help you find out.

Introvert or Extrovert?

How Do You Recharge?

Introverts and extroverts recharge in almost opposite ways.

Introverts hide away. After a long day, you’ll find them alone – watching TV, reading books, writing, playing instruments, thinking, or whatever. It really doesn’t matter. They just need a quiet place.

If they are with people, the group will be small. It might just be one other person. (And he’ll probably also be reading.)

Introverts need time by themselves to survive.

Extroverts, on the other hand, crave interaction. On weekends, they recharge with large groups. It doesn’t matter if they know the people or not. Getting to know someone they’ve never met before is half the fun.

Extroverts love high energy environments and loud music too. They don’t mind the noise of a crowd. They feed off the energy of the room, flitting from one person to the next.

So what do you think of crowds? If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, this is a good question to consider. Do you enjoy being surrounded by a sea of people you don’t know? Do you like parties?

What about music? Do you listen to mainly loud, high energy music? Or do you love quiet, reflective ballads?

Again, we all do both. But one comes more naturally.

How Do You Think and Process?

Are you an external processor? Most extroverts are. They’re excellent thinking on their feet. And they have no problem firing an answer right back at you.

In fact, they actually prefer to talk out their thoughts. They want feedback from other people. It helps them form their ideas.

Sometimes, their ideas may come out incomplete. But that’s because they’re still working them out.

A group of extroverts who are cutting one another off in conversation may just be thinking aloud. They may not even see one another as rude. They’re just participating in extroverted thinking.

Introverts don’t function this way. From the outside, an observer could conclude that introverts don’t have much going on upstairs. But that’s a far cry from the truth.

The reason introverts don’t talk as much as extroverts do is because they do their thinking in their inner world. They don’t like to share shoddy ideas. If an introvert’s going to speak, he wants to offer something new, helpful, and meaningful.

Talking just to talk is a complete waste of time to an introvert. And this is because he doesn’t need to talk to think. He can process his ideas alone.

What Do You Like to Talk About?

There is one thing that can get an introvert talking for an extended period of time – his pet subject. Introverts are passionate about a few things. And when you tap into their interest and area of expertise, look out. You’ll likely be listening for a while.

Most introverts disdain small talk. But they love deep conversations about topics that matter to them. These talks are rewarding and stimulating and typically happen in one-on-one conversations.

It’s not surprising that introverts are drawn to learning environments too. You can find them in lectures, at libraries, and wherever there are quiet places to think. They seek out and thrive in these environments.

Extroverts are just as intelligent – but in a different way. Their interests are broad and cover a variety of subjects. They know a little about a lot.

This knowledge lends itself to small talk. They can carry on comfortable conversations with almost anyone. Bouncing from one person to the next also gives them an opportunity to connect with someone new, talk, and reenergize.

So which are you? Introvert or extrovert? Think about it for a while, and leave a comment if you have any questions. When you figure out which preference fits you better, make a mental note or jot it down. You’ll have just placed the first piece of four in your personality puzzle.

Other blog posts in this series include:

  1. How Well Do You Know Yourself?
  2. Introvert or Extrovert?
  3. Sensor or Intuitive?
  4. Thinker or Feeler?
  5. Judger or Perceiver?

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