Have you ever been at a party, noticed someone else doing their thing and wondered:
(1) “How can she sit so quietly in one place and still look happy?”
(2) “How can she speak to so many different people and not be overwhelmed?”
If you asked the first question, you’re probably an extrovert and if you asked the second, you’re probably an introvert.
Knowing yourself, and how you are similar to or different from others, is an important key to good relationships of all kinds. The difference between introverts and extroverts is one of the most fundamental aspects to understand.
If you were to draw a straight line across the page from left to right and then put the word ‘Introvert’ at one end and ‘Extrovert’ at the other, you and everyone you know would sit somewhere on that line between the two extremes.
Try it now, either on paper or in your head. Think of those closest to you and imagine where they are likely to be on that scale. Bearing in mind that it often depends on circumstances, some people will generally sit at the extremes and some will be more towards the middle, perhaps slightly more extroverted than introverted overall, or vice versa.
These are some characteristics to help you decide [is it possible to put these in two columns in the layout?]:
Characteristics of extroverts:
- Tend to take risks
- Focussed on what is going on around them
- Energised by other people
- Will spend time with a wide variety of people
- Usually rush to answer the phone
- Love being the centre of attention
- Good at making small talk
Characteristics of introverts:
- Keep their thoughts more to themselves
- Tend to be more cautious
- Internally focussed
- Energised by ‘alone time’
- Very discriminating about who they spend time with
- Often let the phone go to voicemail
- Are happier in the background
- Prefer deep and meaningful conversations
It’s important to remember that neither is better than the other – in fact, the world needs both types. It’s simply that knowing where you and those around you sit on the scale helps to understand how to best connect to them.
Here are some useful links to understand more about:
Image credit 1: Nguyen Hung Vu via Flickr
Image credit 2: Elizabeth Wagele via Flickr