Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?

Extroverts are people who generally gain their energy from social and external settings, including people and places, People who are more introverted tend to share common characteristics, including being shy or socially awkward, lacking strong interpersonal skills, or being inclined not to lead. (Photos: Freepik)
The terms introvert and extrovert have existed for some 100 years and are widely used to describe people’s varying degrees of sociability, among other characteristics, but the terms continue to be misinterpreted by the majority of us.  اضافة اعلان

Introvert-extrovert spectrum

Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung is considered the leading scientist to develop this area of psychology. In 1921, Jung introduced the concept of two mutually exclusive attitudes that could be determined by what typically interests individuals. Extroverts typically focus on external interests, whereas introverts focus on internal interests. 

In theory, the distinction between the two is extremely obvious, but in practice, most people exist somewhere in the middle, creating more of a wide spectrum. This spectrum is typically described as a normal distribution bell curve with true extroverts and introverts on opposite extremes. 

In all practicality, the average person experiences both introversion and extroversion but may have a bigger inclination towards one over the other. Jung also argues that the preference for one attitude over the other is a product of unconscious thought rather than the result of conscious or deliberate choice.

Traits of an introvert

People who fall more on the introverted end of the spectrum tend to share common characteristics, including being shy or socially awkward, lacking strong interpersonal skills, and inclined not to lead. 

Although these may seem like negative traits, there are unique characteristics that compensate, since an introvert is more likely to ponder situations more carefully before acting and tends to avoid conflicts.  This is because, as research suggests, introverts are more sensitive to negative feedback and have a higher ability to visualize and be creative due to the time they spend reflecting in silence.

Similarly, because chatting or talking in social settings is draining for them, introverts are generally better listeners and prefer to observe quietly. In order to function, introverts need more time to themselves, and they spend this time thinking and recharging, especially before or after excessive social interaction. As they spend less time interacting in a social setting, they have closer friends and fewer acquaintances than extroverts.

Traits of an extrovert

Extroverts are people who generally gain their energy from social and external settings, including people and places. They generally find it easier to express themselves, enjoy working in groups, and are more willing to try new things. Their confidence and outgoing behavior incites them to take risks, and thus, they tend to have more friends and acquaintances than introverts.
Although extroverts may be seen as impulsive, they also like to discuss issues and may need input from others. Being extroverted is also characterized by being optimistic; extroverts find a silver lining in negative situations.

This does not mean that they don’t feel the impact of negative situations, but they bounce back quickly. Time spent alone drains them and makes them feel tired and irritable — a trait that is in stark contrast to introverts. 

Extrovert vs introvert

The differences between the two character types can best be seen in three different areas of interaction: sociability, communication, and decision-making, with sociability being the most visibly remarked. An extrovert prefers seeking, engaging in, and enjoying social interactions, is socially present and thrives on other people’s energy, and as a result, easily becomes the center of attention. Introverts are more reserved and feel overwhelmed in social settings, but they are not necessarily antisocial, rather, they derive their enjoyment from other quieter sources.

When communicating, extroverts are more talkative and are louder, use gestures, and initiate conversations, seeking to assert a stronger social presence. They exhume confidence, make eye contact, speak frequently, and are better at interpreting nonverbal signals.  An introvert, however, may possess the same attributes, but often in much lesser degrees. 

When there is a decision to make, extroverts are likely to make impulsive decisions and base their choices on what feels naturally right, and although they take time to ponder a decision, they may seek the opinion of others when faced with important choices.  In contrast, introverts avoid impulsive decisions and rely on valid information, thoughtful consideration as well as intuition when they need to make a decision, often independent of others.

In the center of the spectrum

The majority of people are halfway on the spectrum between introvert and extrovert, and those are the ambiverts, who feel and project a mix of the two sets of traits.  Ambiverts generally enjoy social settings and alone time equally.  They are good listeners, and engage in active listening, offering thoughtful insight on the situation at hand. 

Ambiverts confront decision making and problem-solving with a balanced approach, which may vary according to the context and the circumstance surrounding the issue.  They do not dwell on a decision but they give it enough thought, and when they decide on something they usually do not go back to reconsider.  

Ambiverts work and act well in a group and in social settings. Being somewhere in between introverts and extroverts, they are able to bridge the gap between the two personality types, find it easy to engage with both, and can adapt comfortably to new situations.  And, if there is a last-minute change in any plan, they are less likely to be irritated compared to others on the two ends of the spectrum.  

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