We’ve been hearing a lot about introverts lately, but what about the non-introverts, often incorrectly only described as extroverts? (Read to the end to see the other kind that’s often omitted from discourse.)
It’s often estimated that there are a lot more extroverts than introverts. Why doesn’t anyone write a bestselling book about them? Could it be that the champions of this population are just too busy talking?
What is an extrovert anyway? As explained by Jack Falt in an article about the Extraversion-Introversion dimension measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), it’s mostly about energy: “Extraverts get their energy from the outer world and feel drained when they are by themselves too long…Think of Extraverts like solar cell batteries. They need to be in the sun to get charged up. Introverts are more like rechargeable batteries. They need to by by themselves to restore their energy…” (Note about spellings: both “extravert” and “extrovert” seem to be acceptable.)
Another thing about these non-introverts known as extroverts? There’s this commonly held belief that they’re more friendly and introverts the opposite. But, nay: “Those with a high Extraversion score are not necessarily individuals that are more outgoing and lively. Rather, it means that they have a clear preference for Extraversion, i.e. practically everything they do will relate to the outer world. Similarly, a high Introversion score does not mean that these individuals are quiet and withdrawn, but that they usually go inside to think things through before they respond and need a lot of time by themselves.”
On the other hand, it does seem to be generally true that extroverts will prize having a bunch more friends than an introvert would ever care to have.
On the other other hand, there are extraverts who are shy; there are introverts who are socially assertive.
On the other other other hand, while extroverts may be more likely to get involved in such people-oriented fields as politics where they can try to change the world, introverts may be more likely to be preoccupied with trying to figure out how to understand the world.
Is this too confusing? Well, here’s another way to look at extraversion versus introversion. Falt uses the following quote (from an unknown source) to sum up one of the main things that differentiates these two types: “If you don’t know what an Extravert is thinking, you haven’t listened. If you don’t know what an Introvert is thinking, you haven’t asked.” This is because extraverts tend to think out loud, whereas introverts’ thoughts often stay internal.
What if you’re not just an extrovert, but kind of off the charts about it? Countering an article about the “secret powers” of introverts, Carol Pinchefsky writes in Forbes that she’s an “extreme extrovert.” She then shares her opinion about the “not-so-secret” powers of her own ilk:
- Our thrill-seeking temperaments benefit society.
- We’re easily bored…and that can lead to innovation.
- Our social network keeps us employed.
- Our many friendships keep us healthy.
- We’re happier than introverts.
She backs up each claim with supporting proof, of course. Check out the above link for more info.
But the group we really haven’t heard much from at all are the other non-introverts, the ambiverts. Ambiverts? What the heck are they? Well, as extraversion/introversion actually represents a continuum, and not a binary system, it does stand to reason that most people won’t fall squarely on either end. That leaves room for a whole lot of people somewhere in the middle, in a not-so-clearly-defined world where one can have traits of both extraversion and introversion.
So, who’s really in the majority now? Maybe of the types of non-introverts, it’s not actually the extroverts, as we’re often led to believe, but the ambiverts. But do they even know that?
As it turns out, I think they might need a book of their own most of all.
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