Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Introvert vs. Extrovert

Which are you?

There are studies which say that 60% of the population is extroverted as opposed to 40% who are introverted. So where do you think that you are in this?

The answer may surprise you.

Most people will tell themselves that depending on how much social grace one has, that means if they are intro or extroverted, but that is just a small part of the final analysis.

Take me for example... If you know me, you would say that I am an extrovert and maybe an extreme extrovert at that. -But you would be mistaken in thinking this.

By definition, each characteristic is emotionally and physically charged being either being alone, or being around others.

So I wondered what MADE you an introvert or an extrovert? It must be something already pre-existing in your brain, I thought. When I researched it, I was informed that introverts use the frontal lobes of the brain and extroverts use the lobes in the rear (I guess that explains why all the cool cats hang in the BACK of the bus, right? ;) So 2 totally different ways of thinking, using different parts of the brain...

Well, I know that when I was younger, I would've been considered an extreme extrovert. I hated being alone, and I was always out with friends or in crowds. I found I would get very depressed if I were alone in my thoughts. In contrast, I was very energized when I was around people and I found that it recharged my "happy thoughts" and generally I was much more social and happy being around a crowd of people.

I enjoyed talking to people, debating, and learning how people thought and reasoned. I really loved sports and competition. I loved the joking and taunting of the guys in the locker room with all my teammates. I just really loved being around other people.
And if I was being punished, I was sent to my room to be alone. And that was indeed punishment for me. I hated being alone, and all that alone time brought.

My brother on the other hand, was pretty much exactly the opposite of all the traits I have listed above. Even though we were born 10 months apart, we were pretty much polar opposites in every sense. My brother really enjoyed being alone, playing alone, thinking alone. He was also very intelligent, whereas I was not. But when he was being punished, my parents would send him out to play.

How twisted, I thought.

But I guess being social for him took away a lot of his energy just the same way that being alone did for me...

As I grew into my 20's, my outgoingness really grew even more. It was almost like a runaway appetite that I couldn't control. Whereas my brother found an introvert girlfriend and was completely happy, I could not do the same. I could never really be attracted to an extroverted girl. Instead, I always have been attracted to introverted girls with a really good ability to handle extroverts. That seemed to be the best fit for me.

But as I have gotten into my 30's, I have become much more introverted than I ever thought I was possible of being. I really enjoy my alone time now, which I never thought would happen. I enjoy being on the computer, writing, thinking, being alone in front of a campfire with my dog and just reflecting. I find that much more intoxicating than being at parties meeting people these days. So, I think that in the last couple years I have changed so much, that most people wouldn't believe me if I told them that I was much more introverted than extroverted.

But I like this change. I don't think I have the endless amount of energy that I did in my youth now. I find I need to recharge my batteries often, and that I am exhausted after I "get on stage" with my friends in a social setting. But that's just me.

I have found out that just because you are outgoing and have good people skills doesn't exactly mean that you are one or the other. I think the trick is to find a balance, as in everything in life.

And in this, I think for the first time in my life, I have gone from my previous understanding of everything I thought I was, and what people thought I was to really understanding who I really am.

People change; and in that, I am certainly no different.


  1. The Meyers Briggs test is the best out there for personality profiles. I am an ISTJ through and through. They are very helpful when you know what all of your co-workers are and friends are. It is easier to know how to approach them. I find it extremely intriguing!! It is awesome. Jenna

  2. I think we all change in much the same way with age. I was very much like you have described here and have also changed in the same way as you...perhaps it's just age that changes us?


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