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What Makes The Differences Between Introverts And Extroverts?

What Makes The Differences Between Introverts And Extroverts?

A conversation on Friday night.

‘Let’s head to the bars downtown. I heard there will be a massive party. It’s gonna be real fun!’

Nah, I’ve got 300 pages to catch this weekend.’

‘Come on, don’t be so discouraging. Two hours, okay?’

‘Um.. I would rather-‘

‘Are you really that shy?

‘I just prefer to be alone. It’s tiring outside.’

Typical introvert and extrovert traits, right?

Introverts are shy and always want to be alone. Extroverts are outgoing.

This is a major misconception of introverts and extroverts. Extroverts think that introverts never come out of their room; while in introverts’ mind, extroverts always stay way out of their room. This is a pure misunderstanding between the two.

What if it is because they have to?

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We’ve made it wrong – we’re all hybrids

The origins of the terms ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ can be traced back to as early as 1920s, when a Swiss psychologist Carl Jung coined the two terms to contrast between two distinct personality types.

In fact, introversion and extroversion are never two mutually exclusive qualities. More precisely, they are on the two opposite ends of a spectrum. Meanwhile, everyone of us falls on somewhere between the two extremes, only differing by the extent we are more introvert-like or extrovert-like. As Carl Jung put it,

There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.

    ▲ No one is a pure introvert or extrovert.

    We have no choice. Our brains are the bosses.

    Introverts and extroverts may behave very differently in people’s eyes. One may think it is just their preference to work like this. Yet, it is actually their brains that makes such a difference. They have no choice but to cope with it.

    How are their brains different?

    Extroverts are hungry for stimuli, while introverts have much in store

    Extroverts appear sociable and always try to be the centre of attention. This is in fact due to their comparatively weaker sensitivity to stimuli.

    That’s why they have to proactively seek outer stimuli in order to reach a functional equilibrium for their minds.

    Hans Eysenck, a German psychologist, defines extroverts by analyzing their baseline arousal. The result reveals extroverts have a lower baseline arousal. Consequently, they need to be engaged in more thrilling activities to gain satisfaction while introverts, with a higher baseline arousal, are more easily satisfied.

    By contrast, introverts are much more sensitive to stimuli. So they opt to escape from stimuli to avoid being overwhelmed. In fact, it is difficult for them to perform normally if they are constantly under the influence of stimuli.

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    When it comes to recharging, introverts and extroverts seek entirely different ways as expected. Introverts gain energy by being alone while extroverts recharge themselves through social interaction.

    Introverts take the long way, while extroverts take the shortcut

    Ever wondered why extroverts think and make decisions much more quickly than introverts?

    First, it’s because the prefrontal cortex in the brains of introverts is much thicker than that of extroverts. Prefrontal cortex is an area responsible for deep thinking and planning. That’s why introverts are more fond of spending more time on rumination whenever they need to make decisions or come across some problems.

      ▲ Introverts’ brains are like a complex transport system, while extroverts’ brains are like a straightforward highway.

      Second, when it comes to processing information, introverts take a longer, more complicated pathway. The route passes along areas associated with memory, planning and problem-solving.

      By contrast, extroverts take a much shorter path. The shortcut mainly runs through areas responsible for sensory processing.

      Due to the different pathways they choose, extroverts tend to speak and act quickly, while introverts need more time to come up with a response.

      Introverts and extroverts react differently to human faces

      Aside from the structural difference of the brain, introverts and extroverts respond differently to human faces. When given a picture of human face and a picture of the wild nature, extroverts reach more vigorously to the human face one. Introverts, on the other hand, respond fairly the same to both pictures.

      Of course it doesn’t mean introverts don’t even feel a thing from any interaction. They just feel less strongly. They don’t feel as excited and require comparatively less social interaction to gain satisfaction. They still need social life.

      Personality stereotypes are as terrible as gender stereotypes…

      Stereotypes of introverts and extroverts are deep-rooted in everyone’s minds. Introverts are connected with ‘shy’ and ‘preference to be alone’ while extroverts are associated with ‘outgoing’ and ‘good at talking’.

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      It is not true.

      Introverts in reality may even be a better public speaker for their deep and thorough thinking. Extroverts who have diverse interest in different topics are better at coping with small talk.

      Introverts do not prefer loneliness. They simply avoid being overwhelmed by stimuli due to their high sensitivity to stimuli. Hence, they are in favor of close conversation with a small group of people. By contrast, extroverts are in need of external stimuli so they prefer having fun with a large of people.

      Can’t relate yourself to the two camps? Here’s the third one for you

      Till now, we have been focusing on people on the two sides of the “introvert-extrovert” continuum. What about those in the middle?

      Ambiverts, that’s how we call them.

      Ask yourself these questions:

      1. Do you prefer time alone while also love people?

      2. Do certain situations make you feel outgoing while some reserved?

      3. Do you struggle with categorizing yourself as an introvert or extrovert?

      If your answer is yes to these questions. You are probably an ambivert.

      Ambiverts are those who possess traits from both introverts and extroverts. They exhibit qualities of both extremes in different situations.

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      For example, you may be uncomfortable in a night club full of people but you feel energized being around your classmates at school. You feel awkward with a bunch of strangers while you are extroverted with your friends.

      Most people are actually ambiverts. Like the statement at the beginning, introvert and extrovert are just two extremes.

      Find the common language. After all, we’re not from two different planets.

      Introverts and extroverts don’t seem to go along with each other.

      Not true.

      Recognizing and accepting the difference between the two can create the best environment for co-existence.

      Advice for introverts:

      For introverts, you need to put your treasured ones slightly in front of your work. It may sound uncomfortable but the main point is to look for a comfortable balance between work and social life. Be aware not completely drop out of your social circle.

      Socializing with others is necessary. You understand you have limited energy to spare on so spend them wisely. Divide it equally for your work and social circle.

      Also, it is important to leave yourself some space to recharge. Never fully devote all the time on the others. Otherwise you will soon be exhausted mentally and physically. Give yourself at least a day per week to recharge.

      Striking for a balance is the main point.

      Advice for extroverts:

      Extrovert, on the other hand, you need to understand the difference. Don’t force introverts out of their comfort zone. Instead, find out when your introverted friends are okay to hang out. Forcing them out when they don’t want to only ends disastrously. None will be pleased in the end. You can communicate your schedule with them and look for the best possible plan to satisfy both sides.

      If, unfortunately, your friends are mostly introverted and you still feel dissatisfied after attempts to compromise, try to expand your social circles then. Join clubs, learn some new skills. Voluntary work would do the job too.

      Remember there is nothing bad to be either an introvert, extrovert or ambivert. The most important point is to understand yourself. Embrace who you are. Forcing yourself to become another person is a big no-no. Only by acknowledging and accepting the difference can we all live in a harmonious world.

      Featured photo credit: Personality Central via personality-central.com

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      Jeffrey Lau

      Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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      Last Updated on June 13, 2019

      How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

      How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

      Think you have a boring life?

      The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

      Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

      1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

      What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

      Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

      2. Go Play with Kids

      Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

      They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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      3. Order a Hot Dog

      While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

      4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

      Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

      5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

      You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

      You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

      6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

      Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

      Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

      7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

      Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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      What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

      8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

      You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

      9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

      Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

      10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

      We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

      11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

      It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

      12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

      This will give you something to look forward to.

      Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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      13. People Watch

      Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

      People are infinitely interesting.

      14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

      Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

      15. Dance

      You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

      If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

      16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

      This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

      17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

      Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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      18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

      Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

      19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

      OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

      20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

      This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

      Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

      Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

      More About Living a Fulfilling Life

      Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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