The Gifts of Being Introverted or Extroverted

July 3, 2019

Some of us might be more likely to curl up under a blanket with a movie marathon on Friday nights, while some of us are much more apt to go out with a big group and dance until the sun comes up. Some of us prefer to recharge alone, while some of us feel most alive when we’re around others. All of us, however, have definitely heard the terms introvert and extrovert -- and we’re all probably pretty aware of which personality type we lean more towards. Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between, you can learn to harness your personality type to be even more fulfilled and happy than you already are and improve your life in the process.

The personality type perks

Extroverts: In the original Theory of Psychological Type, psychiatrist Carl Jung described the term extrovert as those who “orient their energy to the outer world.” The outgoing team players of the group, extroverts absorb energy from being around people and draw upon social groups in times of need.

As social butterflies, extroverts are described by Psychology Today as those who “tend to search for novel experiences and social connections that allow them to interact with other humans as much as possible.” Often friendly and outspoken, extroverts love to lead, communicate, and live out loud. 

Introverts: Carl Jung defined the term introvert as those who “orient their energy to the inner world.” Typically the more reserved of the group, introverts recharge well when they’re alone and find great value in one-on-one relationships and individual working environments.

Though introverts tend to prefer independence over overly social situations, Psychology Today notes that “introversion is not synonymous with an aversion to people.” Often creative and fiercely independent, introverts love to cultivate strong relationships, listen, and focus. 

Harness your personality type

Regardless of whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert (a little bit of both), there are ways to harness both your strengths and shortcomings to reach your full potential.

Extroverts: Though extroverts tend to be wildly popular and thrive well among people, there are always going to be certain aspects of their personalities that can set them back (along with the ones that propel them forward). Here are a couple of ways to harness your potential:

  • Slow down a little bit. Extroverts often want to be in several places at one time, meeting with different people, sharing big ideas, and making waves. A lot can be said for taking the time to take a breath and take things as they come.
  • Listen well. As remarkable communicators, extroverts can easily command attention and do so well. However, it’s also important to learn to fully engage and listen to the others around you, even when your mind is racing a million miles a minute.
  • Focus, focus, focus. When ideas and people abound, so does an extroverts tendency to bounce around. Take a second to ensure that you’re focused on the task at hand before you jump on to the next one -- you’ll be more efficient and successful at the same time.

Introverts: Though introverts tend to be remarkably creative and resourcefully independent, there are certain things that can prevent them from reaching new heights. Here are a couple of ways to harness that potential:

  • Lean in, but do so slowly. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid massive events or situations that bring about social anxiety, but they’re often part of life. Work to develop strategies that make you comfortable when you’d rather be alone, such as bringing someone along or practicing breathing techniques.
  • Get to know yourself. As the personality type who recharges best alone, make sure you’re using that time effectively. Whether you pick up a new skill or enjoy a new hobby, use your remarkable ability to enjoy your own company as a tool for becoming more self-aware.

Toe your comfort zone. While it often feels more rewarding to stick to your closest friends and yourself, challenge yourself to step out of your carefully drawn boundaries and try something new. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or huge, but it does need to make your heart beat a little faster.