Embrace the introvert or extravert in you!

Within the last few years I have read more on the subject of introverts and extraverts.  Just where was this information when I attended secondary school back in the early 1990’s? Generally, introverts need quiet time to reflect whilst extraverts thrive on being in the company of others. Extraverts tend to be the life and soul of the party whilst introverts though they may be enjoying themselves, look forward to going home.

My friends are a mixture of both and I can appreciate the qualities these bring. What a boring world we would live in if we had similar characteristics. I find it interesting that whilst many of us gravitate towards being an introvert or extravert, we can still hold traits from the other group. It is important that we understand ourselves, our characteristics, what settings we like and which we draw back from.  Activities in which we flourish in and those we shy away from. The more we grow to know ourselves, the more we begin to accept ourselves.

As a child in the 1980’s, though I played with other children and was rather sociable, I was happiest reading a book or comic (Bunty, Mandy, Judy anyone?) I was at ease when reading and enjoyed slipping into my own world.  My cousin often jokes about my love for books. I guess it was my outlet.

As a young teen I was content having one or two friends at school. I was not outgoing or confident enough to “hang out” in a large group.  One of my friends in particular, yearned to make as many friends as possible and it was so bizarre to me.  She rarely spent time alone and would fill the majority of her time meeting up with people. I now understand she was an extravert so the total opposite to me.  I remember there were two bus stops near secondary school, one where the majority of pupils would congregate and one which was more isolated.  Guess which bus stop I walked to for the first few years of school?

Over two decades later, I know I am without a doubt an introvert.  I must have downtime every evening. No matter how late I return home from an occasion, I stay up alone for at least 30 minutes. I work hard to prevent my “inner introvert” from hindering me in my management role at work and leadership role in church ministry. Yes, it is an effort for me but likely to be an absolute doddle for a person who is a natural extravert.

The world requires introverts and extraverts.  One is not more important or superior than the other.  One would assume entrepreneurs, actors, actresses and musicians would gravitate towards being extraverts. Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts and Glenn Close are all introverts. If you think about your spouses, family and friends, I guarantee you can easily identify whether they are introverts or extraverts.  You should also love and appreciate them for the qualities they bring to your relationship/friendship.

Are you an introvert or an extravert?
How has this hindered or favoured you in life?