Friday, April 15, 2011

Extrovert or Introvert? Which is better?

Most people assume that I am an extrovert because I am a professional speaker and work as a trainer. My scores for introversion/extroversion are right on the line so although I can “turn it on” when I need to, I am much more comfortable in intimate settings with close friends. When I need to get energy I spend some quiet time alone but I love the excitement of speaking in front of large groups. I also view strangers as friends I haven’t met yet which puts me in the extroverted camp.
Which is better? Being an extrovert or an introvert?
Neither.  We need both. Rules and labels apply to food agencies but not to people. When we take the time to know people better and see what lies below the surface, we develop rich relationships that can last a lifetime. The key is learning to appreciate each other and increase our emotional intelligence.
We tend to see ourselves in the light of our intentions and others according to their actions. What would happen if we changed that? What if we judged others according to their intentions and ourselves according to our actions?
Many judgments are based on what we see. It’s like judging the size of the iceberg by what we see above the water line. For people who are introverts, people can misinterpret their behavior as cold, disinterested or even arrogant. Small changes for the introvert will give big returns. Things like smiling more often and asking how someone is, remembering something about others and asking them questions can increase their ability to connect and improve the perceptions of others.
People who are extroverts should allow others to talk and listen to what people have to say without interruption. This will help them to appear more caring and less narcissistic. Again we’re talking about appearance; the iceberg analogy.
Where are you comfortable? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? What do you do to see below the surface?

2 comments:

  1. Lea, I'm just off-centre, to the extrovert side. I remember my first Myers Briggs and being totally blown away that I was an "Extrovert". I always considered myself rather shy. Funny enough, since that I've stepped further over to the extrovert side. Perhaps I found it was a more comfortable place for me to be. As you say, we need both... in ourselves as well as in others. While extroversion is my preference, I can be introverted when it makes sense to be. I'm just not as good at it. It's sort of like putting on new high heel shoes that aren't broken in yet vs. my comfy old runners.

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  2. We're very similar Linda. I am definitely an extrovert but I enjoy my quiet times to recharge... very much an introvert attribute.

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