Every once in a while, I see an article going around on social networking sites about “how to treat an introvert.” It contains advice like “If an introvert makes a mistake, explain it privately rather than reprimanding them in public,” which always confuses me because I think that is a good way to handle anything politely and tactfully. I mean, I’m an introvert but even if I was an extravert I can’t imagine I would enjoy or benefit from being yelled at publicly for a mistake. But mostly, what seeing this article always makes me think is that people attempt to value one over the other, like being an introvert is better or worse than being an extravert. And that’s just not true. One isn’t better than the other, but it is good to know which one you are because knowing yourself is important for self-esteem!
The simplest definitions of extraversion and introversion are these: introverts get their energy from within themselves, while extraverts are energized by interactions with others. This doesn’t mean that all introverts are shy and all extraverts are outgoing; it’s just a matter of whether one has a preference for solo or social activities. The most common reference to introversion/extraversion comes from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which is often used as an aide to determining potential careers. However, there is no career which is “closed” to introverts or extraverts.
There are definitely misconceptions about both introverts and extraverts. I am an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I am anti-social or that I don’t like people or that I don’t want to spend time with my friends. My extravert friends don’t need to talk all the time and they’re not loud or party animals. At least not simply due to the fact that they are extraverts. Sure, there are plenty of people who fit the stereotypical introvert/extravert dichotomy, but there are plenty who don’t as well.
So what does being an introvert or an extravert mean for you, as far as relieving stress and finding balance? Just think about it: as an introvert I like to spend time alone, to think and recharge. An extravert might prefer to spend time with other people, to talk and relax. It gives you energy and makes you feel more comfortable. So if you’re an introvert, or an extravert, be proud of it to feel happy and energized and use it to know your needs and know yourself.
– Lauren Mateer
LeadHer™ Intern, Campus Calm™
Learn more about Lauren here.