Coming from a performing background, I was surprised…in fact pleasantly surprised… to find how many people within the arts world were not the stereotypical loud and ‘look at me’ extroverted types that performers are quite often stereotyped to be. I, along with many people, maybe even you, jumped to the wrong conclusion as to what an extrovert or introvert actually was.
So what is an Extrovert or Introvert?
The terms Extrovert and Introvert were popularized in the early 20th Century by Carl Jung. There are many definitions and they mostly refer to how you are around other people; do other people give you energy or to put it bluntly….sap your energy? As a brief overview the following sums it up quite nicely:
“The key difference is how the person recharges. Which environment best juices your batteries? Some people charge their batteries by surrounding themselves with other people; those are the extroverts. Being alone in focused solitude is draining for extroverts. Others charge their batteries by finding alone time; those are introverts. Being in a social setting is draining for introverts”.
This isn’t the whole story though. I discovered I fell into the extrovert family. I do find being around other people charge my batteries, but equally, I find they can drain them too. This got me thinking so I did a little digging. When Carl Jung popularized these terms, he didn’t mean for people to be classified as an extrovert or introvert. The terms were the extremes of a scale where most people would fall somewhere between the two.
“There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in a lunatic asylum” – Carl G Jung
This means that people aren’t just an extrovert or introvert, they show stronger extroverted or introverted tendencies. But what about those of us who don’t lean more towards one way or the other. Could this be you? If so, you would fall, like me, into the ambiverts category.
Ambiverts are the people who tend to enjoy being around other people but after a while they may find it starts to drain them. Looking at the other end of the scale, they enjoy quiet and solitude but for not too long. So ambiverts recharge there ‘batteries’ with a combination of social interaction and alone time.
What does it all mean?
Where do you think you come on scale? You may know or you’ve taken an educated guess. How does it apply to everyday life?
I imagine you are meeting people who range from the more extreme extroverts straight through to the extreme introverts. The people who belt out “Dancing Queen” or “Don’t Stop Believing” at Karaoke after a few drinks, you can probably guess have more extroverted tendencies and those who are quite content listening, and it doesn’t matter how many drinks they’ve had, nothing will get them on that stage, have more introverted tendencies. It doesn’t mean they are shy.
Are All Shy People Introverts?
It’s a common misconception that occurs quite often. Shyness can be found in anyone, it’s just the behaviour of someone who is shy is similar to that of an introvert. Shyness can originate from a negative emotional event that occurred when they were young, which results in a fear connected to socializing. A shy extrovert for example would be the one longing to get up and sing at karaoke but doesn’t dare too until their friends drag them up on stage after a couple of drinks. It’s not advisable though to do this to someone who has strong introverted tendencies, they will not thank you for it!!