There is a massive miscommunication and misunderstanding being propagated about Introversion vs. Extroversion. Articles like here and here. The problem lies in the classic definition of what an introvert or extrovert are supposed to be. The classic school of thought of course is that introverts are shy and recluse, while, extroverts are the exact opposite, outgoing and social.
This style of thinking is completely false. What is missing from the definition is two things. 1) energy and 2) Type A vs. Type B personalities.
Here is the right definition of an introvert and extrovert. note: this is a sliding scale, most people fall between the two extremes. (more later)
These people have had the hardest day at the office, or at home. What do they want (need). To be around other people. This starts out in our 20’s and 30’s as after work drinks and turns into all sorts of social gatherings as we age. (Book Club, Poker night, Bridge, etc). Basically, if you want energy, being around others gives it to you. Being social and the ‘life of the party’ is not part of being an extrovert, they are incorrectly associated with one another.
These people after a hard days work, go home, don’t talk to a single sole and do whatever they do. (play video games, read, mediate, etc). It is often incorrectly assumed introverts are shy and not very socially engaging. False.
To be the life of the party falls under another classification. Type A vs. Type B personalities. I’ll define these as Type A = life of the party Type B = eager participant of the party. They key is they balance each other out. As does Introverts and Extroverts. Both are needed for a successful event, party or gathering.
This theory leads to, two very distinct and under appreciated types of people. Type B Extroverts and Type A Introverts.
Type B Extroverts
These people have it rough, they are shy, and not great at meeting new people. However they crave to be around people to get that energy level back to full. The key for these people is to work on tactics to enhance their social skills to help their energy levels. Some ways is through hobbies (where you are forced to meet new people) or discipline activities, cooking, martial arts, yoga. These build skills and a circle of people they need.
Type A Introverts
These people are sometimes the life of the party and are often mistaken for classic extroverts, but this is a practiced skill. Being social is work for these people, and can only be practiced when the tank is full. Key here to to no engage socially when the tank is low. Extroverts can be judged when they are not ‘feeling’ it, this is even more dangerous for the Type A Introverts.
A weird Mix
The final category of people is something I’ve recently discovered. These people are the 0–50% introverts and 50–100% extroverts, or vice versa. To operate at full capacity these people need to have a mix of both.
The real key is to understand what you and your friends (spouse, gf/bf, etc) are and how you fit the group. These will allow you to be mindful of your energy and others and understand how to unlock your potential.
Remember the whole spectrum is symbiotic, introverts feed extroverts and extroverts brighten the lives of introverts. We need each other.
What do you think?