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?

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21 thoughts on “Embrace the introvert or extravert in you!”

  1. Spot on that many of us are a combo of both. I can surely be an extrovert when surrounded by introverts and vice versa. It all depends on the setting and the people. Like you, though, I must have downtime, quiet time when I am alone and able to gather my thoughts and prayers in peace and quiet.

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  2. I am introvert, this is probably because it is from as a child I had a speech impediment.
    People do not believe I am still and introvert, mostly because of my skills at public speaking, and being a pro wrestler. I have learned to use a persona, he is an extrovert, not me.
    I know this might seem like a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde scenario; but it does work for me.

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  3. As a kid, I was so quiet.When I got a chance to go to my first “big audition” at 8 years old, my mom forbid it because she thought I was too introverted to perform. My dad ended up taking me to the audition and he sat in the back of the theater when I went in to audition. He bumped into a teacher from my school whose own, older daughter was also auditioning. When I started performing my song, the teacher looked at my dad and went, “That’s Erica?????”. It’s funny how people expect us introverts to be quiet all the time. Totally not the case. We just need a certain amount of quiet time to “fuel up” in a sense. And I ended up getting the part! 🙂

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    1. Erica – I remember being called shy and quiet often as a child and teen. It made me rather self conscious as though I needed “fixing”. Whilst I would not voluntarily take centre stage, I was not afraid to step out when I needed to.

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  4. I’m definitely an extravert but I also have introvert tendencies. Like you, I must have “alone” time at the end of the day, where I can read and relax. Maybe it’s because extraverts like me expend so much energy during the day and enjoy being with people. But I do need down time.

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  5. You and I are on the same page, Phoenicia. I am a introvert who has never had a problem getting lost in a book or a movie theatre alone. My partner is the opposite and I adore him. Most people find it surprising to find out I’m an introvert since I seem to enjoy conversation, but after a day around a crowd, I do have to rest and take some time to myself. I also prefer more intimate conversation with a few friends versus a large group. Like you, I’ve recognized this about myself and tried to work through it as an entrepreneur. Still, it’s who I am and I wouldn’t change a thing. One of my favorite artists, Andre 3000, is an introvert as well and is also one of the greatest rappers ever (in my biased opinion).

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  6. I am a mixture of both. I can be very social and I definitely like to go out and party and make new friends but at the same time, I need my alone time. I am also very happy when I am alone with a good book and cup of tea and sometimes I really don’t feel like talking to anyone so I don’t. It really does depend on my mood.

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  7. Hi Phoenicia: Both my husband and I are extroverts in a major way. That is what drew us together, as we both had been previously married to introverts. when you are an extrovert, you really need to know that someone is hearing you talk. That is not always the case with introverts, whose thoughts can be elsewhere when we are talking to them.

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    1. Doreen – it is great to know where you fit then you are able to understand why you react the way you do on situations. For years I wondered why I was “different” and even tried to change- this lasted all of one week!

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  8. Normally this topic is a hot button for me because so many people seem to be driven to “define” others. I really appreciate your acknowledgment that we can have a mixture of introvert/extrovert traits. I have also found that with awareness we can learn to manage our preferences to accomplish anything we really want to. I am clearly an Introvert, but I enjoyed a successful career in the extrovert world of sales and public speaking. Terrific post, thanks Phoenicia!

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    1. Whilst we may gravitate to one trait, we will fit into others. I enjoy learning more about myself and others. I thank Patricia Weber for opening my eyes to the world of an introvert and extravert.

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  9. Have learnt from Patricia, who as you know is an expert on this subject, that the vast majority of people are a combination of extrovert and introvert. Am personally much more extrovert and it works well for me. So I guess I embrace it. Honestly never gave it a thought before I got to know Patricia online.

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