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Introvert or Extrovert? Everything You Need to Know About Them

Introvert or Extrovert? Everything You Need to Know About Them

Say you’re organizing a getaway trip. Erica, the extrovert, suggests a wild Vegas weekend extravaganza; Irene, the introvert, wants to stay in a cabin in the mountains; while Amber, the ambivert, prefers a staycation.

Isn’t it frustrating? Your friends are clearly of different personalities, and there’s no one single solution that can accommodate to everyone’s needs.

But truthfully, it boils down to the age-old “extrovert vs. introvert” showdown.

So what’s the difference between an extrovert and an introvert?

Before I get into any definitions, the most important thing you need to know is introversion and extroversion are only a spectrum, and most of us fall along this continuum, which means no one is strictly one way or the other. Famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung once said,

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

    ▲ An extroversion-introversion continuum.

    To differentiate an extrovert and an introvert, the biggest difference is on how they recharge themselves.

    • Extroverts (or those with extroverted tendencies) gain energy by placing themselves in social situations. They don’t mind being under the spotlight, or the center of attention. However, spending too much alone time drains them mentally.
    • On the other hand, introverts recharge by spending time alone. After a long period of time in crowded social situations, they need a desperate break to regain their energy back.
    • The third personality, surprisingly constitutes most of the population, is an ambivert. Ambiverts recharge and regain their energy through a mixture of social interaction and alone time.

    Does it sound a bit too vague? Let’s dig a little bit deeper into each personality type.

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      1. Extroverts: the ones who talk the most

      • People and social situations excite and energize them.
      • They usually initiate and engage in conversations.
      • They can talk about anything with anyone.
      • They don’t mind others paying full attention to them.
      • Meeting new people doesn’t faze them.

      2. Introverts: the ones who prefer thinking over speaking

      • Alone time is the way to recharge.
      • They use their eyes and ears more than their mouths.
      • They don’t like small talks.
      • They prefer standing away from the spotlight.
      • It is quite uncomfortable to meet new friends.

      3. Ambiverts: the ones who are a mix of extroverted and introverted tendencies

      • They often wonder whether they need alone time or external stimulation.
      • They could be quiet during the entire conversation, but also share what they are passionate about.
      • Sometimes, they find small talks insincere.
      • If in the right context, they don’t mind attention, but often they prefer standing at the sidelines.
      • They are fine with talking to new people, but it’s better to do it with their friends.

      Researchers believe our tendencies are related to our genes.

        Psychologist Hans Eysenck discovered that extroverts and introverts have different levels of arousal, which is “the extent to which our minds and bodies are alert and responsive to stimulation”.[1]

        Comparatively, people with extroverted tendencies have lower rate of arousal, which explains why they usually look for stimulations and excitements from their surroundings and other external matters. And introverts are the opposite case.

        Why does it matter though? I already know who I am.

          Sure, you might have already done personality tests a bajillion times, and probably know a thing or two, but for some of us, we still don’t know how to embrace our true selves.

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          Extroverts are often told to stop being obnoxious, introverts are perceived as anti-social, while ambiverts think they have a split personality. The truth of the matter is, learning about who you are allows you to understand yourself better.

          Also, this is a chance to get to know other personality types, and learn to interact with others, which can greatly improve your social and romantic lives.

          We are all unique in our own ways, learn to embrace ourselves.

          There isn’t any preferred personality, and it’s more important to accept everyone for who they are.

          Introverts, socialize in small doses and retreat when needed.

          You are often mistaken as a shy person who lacks interpersonal communication skills. Don’t pressure yourself to be more extroverted. As you think deeply, express your thoughts eloquently, you are developing authentic and meaningful relationships.

          At the same time, don’t criticize extroverts for being obnoxious or annoying, they are simply expressing their emotions to you. They might be constantly reaching out to you, you should protect your alone time to not over-strain yourself mentally.

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          Extroverts, on the other hand, there’s nothing wrong to speak up.

          Others probably think you hog the limelight all the time because you are insecure about yourself, but don’t let them stop you from sharing your thoughts and opinions.

          Also, you like cheer people on, but keep this in mind — introverts need their space, so find the right timing to be the comforter, or else your empathy will backfire.

          Ambiverts, you are not abnormal.

          Are you ever confused of whether you are an extrovert or introvert? Believe it or not, the majority of us are ambiverts. With traits from both sides of the spectrum, you are more flexible than others, because you are equally comfortable being alone and with people.

          You are also more emotionally stable, as you find a balance in being sensitive, while not being influenced easily. The stability also makes you more intuitive — you know when to speak up and when to shut up.

          It doesn’t matter where you stand in the extroversion-introversion continuum, just remember, you are special and it’s time to embrace your true self!

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          Reference

          More by this author

          Chloe Chong

          Chloe is a social media expert and shares lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on January 15, 2021

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

          The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

          Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

          Posture

          First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

          • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
          • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
          • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
          • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

          All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

          Facial Expressions

          Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

          • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
          • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
          • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

          If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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          1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

          A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

          The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

          This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

          2. Relax Your Face

          New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

          The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

          To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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          3. Improve Your Eye Contact

          Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

          The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

          To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

          3. Smile More

          There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

          Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

          4. Hand Gestures

          Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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          It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

          5. Enhance Your Handshake

          In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

          “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

          It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

          6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

          As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

          Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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          Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

          Final Takeaways

          Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

          If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

          More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

          Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

          Reference

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