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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 May 21, 2019

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

          If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

          Example 1

          You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

          You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

          In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

          Example 2

          You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

          People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

          You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

          Example 3

          You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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          The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

          Example 4

          You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

          Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

          If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

          Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

          • Understand your own communication style
          • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
          • Communicate with precision and care
          • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

          1. Understand Your Communication Style

          To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

          In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

          Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

          2. Learn Others Communication Styles

          Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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          If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

          “How do you prefer to receive information?”

          This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

          To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

          3. Exercise Precision and Care

          A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

          On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

          Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

          I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

          I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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          In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

          The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

          Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

          4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

          Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

          In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

          “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

          Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

          Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

          It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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          It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

          It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

          Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

          Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

          The Bottom Line

          When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

          I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

          More Articles About Effective Communication

          Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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