“A person whose personality is characterized by introversion: a typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone.” (i)
Yes, I am making fun of the stereotype. So much of our perception of social connection is filtered through this term. I would speak of extroverts in the same light, but the introvert seems to be the person who claims the identity as an introvert, while an extrovert may simply regard themselves as very social.
Being social is hard for some people, harder than others who seem to be so skilled and socially-savvy that they can talk and talk and talk and never seem to run out of energy. And then, talk some more.
This perspective could be for several reasons. You have no idea how much coffee they drink, for one. Such artificial energy seems to give great boosts in the moment, but tend to leave one drawn and exhausted at home…until they get their next coffee shot!
What is the Extrovert?
An Extrovert is, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is…
“A person whose personality is characterized by extroversion: a typically gregarious and unreserved person who enjoys and seeks out social interaction.” (ii)
So what is positive about this lifestyle? The Extrovert lifestyle? Extroverts tend to be well-connected with those around them. They seem to be social, full of energy and life when seen, and oftentimes very productive.
I would argue that true extroverts are few and far between. Oftentimes people use stimulants as I mentioned before to fake extroverted behavior, but not actually be a true extrovert. They burn their lives away trying to pretend. This may be good for an actor, but not for the common man.
A healthy perspective is less about obsessing how much others are ‘extroverted’ and instead focusing on what your talents and skills are and how to apply and improve them.
Extroversion should not be seen as a reason to think less of yourself, but should be admired as a talent.
Not everybody wants nor desires such a talent. It is highly demanding of your personal time and energy, making you take risks with your health now to sacrifice your life later. A healthy lifestyle is balance. A healthy lifestyle is moderation in all things.
Talents are not always a blessing. One such talent, in the words of Jordan Peterson is the talent of creativity. People who tend to have it have an essential draw toward it, and must make it a part of their lifestyle. They don’t really feel alive unless they are being creative. That can be just as tiring as being an extrovert!
Extroversion and Introversion, in my opinion, represent an unhealthy obsession with someone else’s social skill. It is not bad to use these terms just not to focus on them as the defining characteristic of an individual or ourselves.
Focus on Your Skills
Determine what you want to do in life. What role? What place? What gives you life? That is the place to put yourself. Sometimes talking to a therapist can help to guide you to discover this about yourself. Sometimes it is something that you must acquire through trial-and-error. Again, Jordan Peterson has many tools online to help with realizing yourself.
But through it all, I advise not to get so caught up with labels like introvert and extrovert. Just say what they are, and admire them for it.
Introvert, the Anti-social, Anti-energy Person
There is an apparent negative to being called an introvert that suggests that you are less-than an extrovert. Even if such may be true, why not just say ‘I don’t talk much’ or ‘I enjoy simple conversations?’
What if the conversation is boring to you? Would it not make sense that you would become ‘introverted’ in this setting, finding little to no energy there? We thrive on connection and being needed.
In regard to those people we label as extroverts, what if they are merely skilled at guiding a conversation? What if they are skilled at talking about things they love? I have found in my personal life that once I really start talking about something I love, I get vibrant energy, seemingly summoned like magic, spreading forth from me into all around me. This energy is fascinating to me, as it denotes the importance of knowing thyself. If you know what you like, you should seek it out, and make more of it.
Introversion can be used as a way to hide from the fact that we don’t know what we love. If this is the case its rather embarrassing to point it out, but once it is acknowledged, we can move on to discovering what you do love! I encourage you to never give up on discovering what you truly love.