According to The Myers & Briggs Foundation this plays out as follows:
Extraversion (E): Getting your energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. Being excited by being around people and liking to energize other people. Understanding a problem better when talking out loud about it and hearing what others have to say.All of the above.
I've never considered the other side of the room any less than though. I have introverted friends who I like and who seem to like me. The differences tend to be "...they get their energy from dealing with ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions inside their heads. They often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people they feel comfortable with."
I've made a concerted effort to learn about being me and how to help those who are not me not despise their time with me. I've done that by reading some great resources:
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- How To Get Along With An Introvert by Donald Miller
- Four Lies About Introverts by Amie Patrick
- Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh
This olive branch notwithstanding, I have always believed being extroverted wasn't a bad thing. That was until I wandered into the Internet wilderness. Suddenly I found myself the target of those who find "my kind" to be more than a bit disappointing.
I polled Facebook fans and Twitter followers and asked "What’s the first thing you think when I type 'extrovert?'"
I thought the kind answer was this:
— Amanda (@mandiemariebee) April 26, 2013
But the majority of responses were what scientific research professionals would call "icky."
Loud, uncomfortable, tiring, hates to be alone, acts without thinking, likes attention, crazy, too much, jerk, outspoken, tireless chatterbox, and the most popular: not me.
Please give me a second while I eat this Snickers.
That's better. Let me address a few of the misleading characterizations.
1. Extroverts Are Loud: I'm not saying my sound isn't impressive, but the implication doesn't seem to be volume but rather noise. It's as if an extrovert's content isn't valuable just because it may seem less thoughtful or quieter in comparison. And YOU GUYS...I talk about Cheez-its and shoes, so there's that.
2. Extroverts Love To Meet People: Again, the assumption is I don't experience social anxiety. I get embarrassed. I feel insecure. I'm not immune to the nervousness that comes with walking into that ballroom or sanctuary or networking meeting. I like to be WITH people, but meeting them is often preceded by uneasiness.
3. Extroverts Are Mean: Eek. There are definitely unkind people in the world. However, that's less about being extroverted and more about being a douche-canoe who coincidentally may be extroverted.
4. Extroverts Can't Be Alone: That's like saying introverts can't be WITH people which is poppycock. It may take me a bit more time to reach my fill of people but I always do. You'll know I'm in need of some solitude when you find me hiding in the ladies' room.
Rabbit Sidebar: I'm bringing "poppycock" back, so get on board.
5. Extroverts Hate Introverts: I'm not sure why we're being pitted against one another because we shouldn't be at war. I know it's my job to be sensitive to those who navigate the world differently than me. But it's your job too. Let's reject the either-or.
I promise not to try and fill every moment of silence, if you promise not to just stare at me with a furrowed brow.
So what lies did I leave out? What lies are folks spreading about introverts?
And remember, extroverts and introverts both have feelers. Don't hurt them in the comments.