It doesn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who knows me that I am an extrovert. I’m outgoing and gregarious, I thrive on being in public and on being a part of work groups.
Until this year I always assumed that extrovert was synonymous with outgoing and since that defined me to a T, I was fine with people assuming that’s what I was.
Introvert is usually synonymous with shy, and that’s just how I assumed my more withdrawn friends were. Shy, needing to be jostled out of it with extra heaps of boisterousness and fun.
Then, last month, we did a Meyers Briggs seminar at my mother’s group and I gained a little more insight into the differences between the two.
I could not have been more wrong.
Did you know that extroverts recharge their energy by being around other people? It’s like we feed off the energy being put out. Most extroverts come home from parties buzzing and high on the collective energy they bathed in all night. Introverts on the other hand, are drained by being in public and recharge by being alone.
Did you also know that extroverts process information by verbalizing what they are thinking. We think best in a group setting, bantering around ideas, bouncing thoughts off other people. Introverts on the other hand, internalize the information, process it, then come back with their response.
At parties, extroverts assume that introverts are bored, which is clearly not the case. In meetings or during group discussions extroverts often take center stage and introverts get annoyed that they hog the conversation, often to say inane, stupid, un-thoughtout things. Some extroverts might perceive that the fact that introverts don’t jump into the conversation means they are dumb, when really, they’re just deeper and process the information differently.
It’s fascinating to know all these things. To be aware of the differences.
But knowing them doesn’t make anything easier.
Here are a few secrets you might not know about extroverts.
Sure, we’re loud and boisterous, but we’re still shy and insecure. We just hide behind our bravado.
Sure, we’re outgoing and first to jump in, but we’re also really, really sensitive. Introverts protect themselves at every turn, only showing their cards when they are good and ready. Extroverts have no protective shell, we jump in, feet first, and take it all in the face.
So when you tell us that we’re too loud, even at times inconsiderate of others in the room, it kills us.
You see, we just want to be loved. We just want to please. We want nothing more than to win over every person in the room, because that’s when we’ll finally feel secure. To hear that our insecurity coping mechanism causes your insecurities puts us in a painful quandary. It makes us even more insecure, which in turn makes us louder.
There’s no winning with that. Ever.
And really, it begs the following questions:
If my volume and personality cause such anxiety in others, why are the majority of my friends Introverts? And, how do I parent my introvert child when clearly, my very personality causes her nothing but angst?