The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Monday, December 23, 2013

Introvert Extrovert Binary

I'm in the middle of reading 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain. This is a very interesting read for someone who has always considered herself an extrovert. I love people, I have no problem introducing myself to strangers, and too much time alone can drive me crazy. Plus, I rated E on the MBTI; a definite extrovert, right?

Unfortunately, there are parts of my personality that I simply could not explain with a simple, "I'm an extrovert." I refused to believe that I may be introverted, because this trait has always been portrayed quite negatively in the media and our culture. I'm no shy, awkward, antisocial character! Therefore, of course I couldn't be introverted. 

However, reading this book has helped me realise something extremely important; introversion and extroversion do not exist on a binary scale. I don't even think that they exist on a linear spectrum, because in my case especially, I have proven that it is entirely possible to be an extrovert with many introverted qualities. 

What qualities might these be, you ask? I work well while brainstorming and in team meetings, but when it comes down to getting things done, I am much more productive alone. This does not mean that I'm not a team player; rather, I understand that in a team, there are certain things that should be done together and certain aspects of work that are best tackled alone. 

While I love going out and dancing, or spending time with friends and family, some days, I love being able to curl up with a glass of wine and a good book, and enjoy my own company. On that note, I definitely feel that enjoying one's own company is one of the most important things you will ever do in life. How do you expect others to love and tolerate you, if you cannot do so yourself?

I have quite a lot of friends, and do enjoy hanging out with many of them at a time, but for quality time, I prefer being with them in smaller groups. As someone who has individualisation as one of my top strengths, this enables me to be there for my friends individually in ways I cannot be in a group. 
When new people meet me, I am immediately labelled an extrovert. And indeed, if I was asked to pick between the two, I would definitely go with extrovert. However, it's a fun journey getting to explore my introverted side with them too!

I would definitely recommend Quiet as a read for people who want to learn more about the two parts of themselves, and how best to succeed using these qualities, as well as for employers, teachers, friends and family members of people who are not 'all the way extroverted.'
Have a quiet day, won't you!

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