Ever notice how some folks seem to get energy from being around people and social situations while others are left drained? One may find the situation fulfilling while the other finds it stressful and exhausting. That’s because stress and stress relief are different for people who are introverted vs. extroverted. Let’s compare the two.
First, let’s start with what an introvert and extrovert actually are. I believe Carl G. Jung put these personality differences best, stating that “Each person seems to be energized more by either the external world (extraversion) or the internal world (introversion).” An introvert is someone who prefers to focus on themselves internally rather than external interactions while the extroverts put their energy into social situations and external activities.
Traits more associated with introversion include the illusion of being shy or reserved. Those more closely related to introversion also tend to have a smaller circle of close friends and are comfortable being alone or doing activities alone. Traits commonly associated with an extrovert include the appearance of being outgoing or social. This also includes the feeling of comfort in working with groups and enjoying it. Also, extroverts tend to have a larger group of friends and have a larger circle of acquaintances.
Going back to where these personality types get their energy from, forcing them into the other end of the spectrum can be draining and stressful. For instance, an extravert may find it fulfilling to be apart of a large party where there’s the opportunity to meet new people; however, the introvert may find it stressful. In this situation the extrovert is usually seen as someone who enjoys small talk and who seeks out these types of social situations to expand their social network. In the same situation, the introvert would find it stressful to be put on the spot and have trouble with a large group of people they are not familiar with. Not to say that the introvert has difficulty talking to strangers; they may have little or no difficulty if the discussion is on a topic or issue known to them. While the introvert may prefer being alone with their thoughts, the extrovert can “fade” without social interaction.
Although being introverted or extroverted are viewed as opposites, most people fall in the middle. For instance, I feel like I can relate to traits related to both introverts and extroverts. Having little to no social interaction leaves me completely drained and I find fulfillment when I do get this interaction; however, in extreme social situations I find myself getting drained. This compliments the results of my personal personality test. As shown in my results below, I am more social than not but far from the super social end of the scale. Find out where you fall fall by taking the same introversion vs. extraversion test here. Although we all will land somewhere along the scale, it’s good to keep in mind the items that stress and de-stress those that fall somewhere closer to the ends of the spectrum.