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Are You An Introvert or Extravert?

Introvert-Extravert- Jessica LawlorAll my life, I thought I was an extravert.

In fact, without even examining the definition, I just *assumed* I was an extravert.

After all, I’ve always loved people, I’m outgoing, I’m comfortable in large groups. In high school, I did theater. In college, I led organizations. Now, in my career, I engage in public speaking on a regular basis and constantly communicate on the phone and in person with the media.

These were all the things I thought marked the characteristics of an extraverted person. I always thought being an introvert was a “bad thing.” I thought it meant you weren’t a social person or didn’t enjoy the company of others. Obviously, I was wrong.

It was only recently that I learned the true definition of introvert and extravert and realized…I might just be an introvert.

(PS- Extravert can be spelled either extrovert or extravert…I’ve gotten a few comments about the spelling, but apparently extravert with an ‘a’ is the correct spelling in psychological terms, so that’s what I went with)

Here are some characteristics of an introvert, straight from personality experts Myers-Briggs:

  • I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world.
  • I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with.
  • I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act.
  • Sometimes I like the idea of something better than the real thing.
  • I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
  • I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.

I can totally relate to many of these bullets. I’ve always been inside my own head, even from the time I was little and my parents would claim I was in “Jessie World,” many of the activities I most enjoy are done solo (running, yoga, writing) and I’m very reflective- I think most writers tend to be.

Then when I read this beautifully-written passage from Jessica Hammond’s blog, I could immediately relate and knew for sure that I learn toward introverted personality traits:

“As an introvert, I derive strength from solitude. It does not mean I am shy, nor does it mean I am socially inept or awkward (Well. We all have our moments, okay!) When I am with people, I prefer to engage with an individual, or a small (I’m talking two to three, maybe four) group. I certainly don’t fall to pieces in large groups, and I can actually enjoy myself. But it is a draining experience. While I enjoy parties and birthdays and nights out on the town, my favourite part of those night is wiping off all my makeup, stripping down to my skivvies, and crawling into bed. Going directly from the sea of creatures to the silence of the fish bowl is one of the most serene and energizing experiences an introvert like me could have.”

I just got back from a work conference in Tampa. After conferences, I always think my introvert tendencies tend to come out even more than usual. Being “on” for three days straight meeting new people, constantly socializing and learning can be exhausting. I love people and I love communicating, but there comes a point where I just need to be quiet and alone to recover from that kind of extreme socializing.

Funnily enough, I took a Myers-Briggs test at the encouragement of my friend Ron (you can check out a free version here) and learned that I’m actually an ENFJ (‘E’ for extravert, no ‘I’ in there!).

I even took this test twice- once six months ago and one today, just to make sure my results were still the same. They are.

I thought it was strange that my results coined me an extravert- although it did say I have a SLIGHT preference for extraversion over introversion. Who knows? Maybe I’m an extravert with introvert tendencies and preferences?

Our personalities shift and change over time, but I think it’s okay to be both extraverted and introverted. Take some time to educate yourself on the definitions- one is not necessarily better than the other. I think learning about your personality trait can really help you understand more about who you are and help inform the decisions you make down the line.

Have you taken time to explore your personality? Are you an introvert or an extravert? Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs test? What were your results?

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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