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Is an Extrovert Really Happier Than an Introvert? Let’s Look at the Research Findings

Is an Extrovert Really Happier Than an Introvert? Let’s Look at the Research Findings

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? You may know straight away or you may think that you’re a mixture of both – most people are. We live in a world that celebrates the extrovert – to be successful and happy in life you need to be outgoing, confident, talkative and sociable. But is this really the case?

With introverts being labelled as quiet, shy and sometimes unsociable it’s no wonder that people would automatically assume a typical introvert is unsuccessful or unhappy. However, maybe it’s time to question this myth and look at introversion as a positive personality trait that almost half the world’s population possesses.

What Does The Research Say?

Studies on happiness have become more and more popular and what’s abundantly clear time and again, is our happiness it more dependant on our personalities rather than material possessions.

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One study [1] looking at the behaviour of young people internationally, found that those who moved through their day in a more extroverted way, were found to lead much happier lives – this was in spite of geographical location and culture. Many more studies back this up but is this a fair evaluation?

Could The Idea That Extroverts Are Happier Than Introverts Be a Myth?

While these studies are interesting and worthwhile, there is, what could be considered, a flaw in how people’s personalities are measured. Most psychologists use what’s called the NEO PI-R assessment when conducting happiness and personality studies which only focus on the presence or absence of extroverted qualities.

In other words, there is no emphasis on positively valuing introverted qualities. If you’re an introvert yourself you can identify with the happiness you feel sitting by yourself with a good book and perhaps socialising less than extroverts, yet these are considered qualities that extroverts would associate with unhappiness.

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Extroverts thrive and re-energize by being around people and interacting, but introverts re-energize by taking themselves away and finding calm and quiet. It’s because of this that introverts fail to score highly on happiness scales in controlled studies as these low-key activities aren’t considered a source of happiness.

There’s also a struggle that introverts can experience that comes from the pressure of living in a world where extroversion is celebrated. Introverts can be made to feel outcasted because they don’t measure up to the lifestyles of those with extroverted qualities. Some introverts may lead a life that goes against their natural wants and needs in order to fit in to an extroverted world. This in itself could cause introverts to feel less happy moving through life.

Embracing Happiness No Matter What Your Personality Type

So what can we conclude from this? Are these studies really giving us an accurate understanding of happiness and how we interact with the world? While interaction with others is a huge factor in our happiness, for some it’s quality not quantity that decides how we feel in our relationships with others.

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But considering happiness is not all based on relationships and how often we interact, does this mean introverts are just as happy as extroverts? Eastern culture has introduced mindfulness, calm, meditation and quiet as an important way to connect with ourselves and reach inner happiness – things that introverts do naturally by spending more time alone.

Happiness is subjective. Introverts find more happiness in their inner-worlds while extroverts find happiness through their external worlds. But despite whether one is better than the other, what a lot of studies agree on is that the key to happiness is down to accepting ourselves, finding purpose, and creating a good social circle.

And what can definitely be concluded is that this can be achieved by anyone whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert.

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Featured photo credit: Gianne Karla Tolentino via pexels.com

Reference

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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