Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Extrovert Verses The Introvert

If we only had two categories to define every one's personality, then these are two my sister would use. My sister, Curls, who is as a self confessed Extrovert. She declares her nightmare would be to be trapped in a room full of introverts whilst her partner would say his is to be on a night out with a group of extroverts (women extroverts would make it more hellish).  But they fit together perfectly, blowing apart many relationship psychologist's theories.

I find myself torn. My life consists of a battle between my inner introvert and my outer extrovert, which ever one is stronger that day dictates how I respond to situations, people... Life. I think in my youth I was more of an extrovert - forever described as "outgoing" and "sociable" on school reports. But the older I get the more the introvert wins.

My theory is your personality is defined by three main areas; genetics, upbringing and experiences.

 You can't do much about genetics - it's decided before you're here and unfortunately that's your lot and how you use it is up to you.

 As far as childhood goes I had a pretty great upbringing, I have happy childhood memories, was loved unconditionally and given lots of opportunities that I know other kids didn't get. However my dad is a classic introvert and Mum an extrovert - although the older they get the more they seem to be changing roles. They would probably say the other had driven them to it. I learnt from them the perks of both, the introvert and extroverts. Also as a middle child, I've always found my personality to be moody, swinging from extremes , always pulled in different directions, the role of the middle child is a contradiction - to be the younger and elder sibling at the same time means their role is constantly changing due to demands put upon them.

Then there's experiences; where school was a breeze. sixth form a blur and university a self-discovery. Throughout these I have made some brilliant friends, who I still have now, but I also some bad choices - you know the ones who will value others feelings above your own, The friends who slowly shoot holes in your self confidence until it's clinging together with shreds. The friends I was glad to grow apart from. This is where the introvert triumphed, as the extrovert sat in the corner, over analysing the details.

The FH is in many ways a classic extrovert, he's a risk-taker, from a family of big personalities, but he has to be an extrovert on his terms, he's very territorial and our house is his retreat. Only with reluctance, would he invite parties, social gatherings and fellow extroverts in through his front do  or. But once there, he would find comfort in the limelight. So sometimes I hide in his shadow and sometimes I steal his limelight. Either way we work.

Introverts need the right platform to come out of themselves. My fathers was teaching, mine acting, when I was younger, writing now. A lot of  men would probably say any sporting platform.  But sometimes, with me, it just takes a glass of red

Extrovets:-  Will cross a busy street just to say hello to someone they vaguely know
Introverts:- Will pretend they haven't see you, as you directly walk past each other, even though you've lived in the same road as them for five years.

Extroverts:- Will make up an excuse to throw a party.
Introverts:- Will make up an excuse not to go.

Extroverts:- Want to talk to you on the train, even if you're reading, have your back to them, , continuously texting, have head phones on, asleep, pretending to be asleep or rude.
Introverts:- On a train will be reading, have your back to them, , continuously texting, have head phones on, asleep, pretending to be asleep or rude.

Extroverts:- Don't get Internet Dating.
Introverts:- Invented Internet Dating.

Extroverts:- Take forever at checkouts, divulging to the checkout their reasons for choosing Maris Piper over King Edward and explaining how the shopping basket is in fact the ingredients of a romantic meal in for two, and exactly why they are having this meal, what they will be wearing and the music that will be playing.
Introverts:- Use self-serve tills.

Maybe most of us fit somewhere on the scale below, or like me, a bobbing up and down it. I wonder what Carl Jung would make of this? Probably just content that I have dumbed down his theory, and missed out the science and math. But I do like this quote, taken from Wikipedia, where else?
'Introversion does not describe social discomfort but rather social preference'
So the next time Curls declares I'm "in an introverted mood". I can reply with, "I just have higher expectations of socialising than you." Brilliant!

The Extrovert Scale.

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