If you pay any attention to the world of Facebook memes and reposts, you might notice that the world of Facebook memes and reposts favors the introvert a little more than the extrovert.
I’m not saying that either is better. But I’ve taken that Briggs-Myers test a few different times – for fun, because I’m that kind of a nerd – and it always comes out E…something. Depending on my mood when I take it (probably, after all, it is a personality test) I am (usually) either ENFJ (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judging – which is not to be confused with judgmental, which I try very hard to avoid being…) or ENFP (blah, blah, perceiving). The reality is the E is the only real consistent. 90% of the time I get the N and F and the J or P is what changes the most often.
I’ve been accused of censoring my answers or not being 100% truthful but it really is just how I’m feeling that day. That’s the trouble with quizzes that have sliding scale answers. Some days you “agree” more than others. The first couple of times I did it, I didn’t realize that. So when I got a different result the second time, the guy giving the test told me it was my fault.
And it was. Kind of. But not intentionally. I didn’t say, “I’m taking this for my job, I need to answer the questions the way they think I should.” I was just feeling a little more judging than perceiving. Or whatever.
But I feel like extroverts are being villainized on social media. Not blatantly but there are far more “why it’s awesome to be an introvert” posts. Maybe that’s because introverts are …ahem …perceived to be shier and more withdrawn and need the boost to their esteem. Which is not the case. Introversion (or extroversion) has nothing to do with a person’s self-esteem. That’s self-esteem you are thinking of.
The difference comes in how a person interacts with the world. I could get into a psychology lesson but I’ll just address the situation from my own, extroverted point of view.
Extroverts tend to be more outwardly engaging. We appreciate groups of people, feed from the collective energy that comes from being part of a group. Being alone and inactive for long periods of time is often draining and leaves us feeling tired and in some cases, short-tempered.
Extroverts appreciate being appreciated. Where accolades and praise can make an introvert feel self-conscious, an extrovert wants to know that someone noticed when they went out of their way to organize something that had been a living trainwreck for months. That is not to say you should shower your extrovert with compliments. Find something about which they are confident or pick a moment when they have done something especially well/above and beyond and tell them they did a good job. “Thank you” also goes a long way with an extrovert.
Extroverts like to know someone was paying attention. This is not the same thing as showing appreciation. This is finding that very special, very specific thing that they love and can’t ever find, and buying it for them (or buying ten of the thing, if that’s appropriate… example: ten packs of gum, appropriate, ten electric toothbrush refills, less appropriate, ten bottles of salad dressing…you get the idea).
I think the general idea is that introverts are shy and mousey while extroverts are loud and brash and that’s really not true. Being an extrovert means I love the noise and chaos of a major metropolis; it doesn’t mean I want to mimic that level of noise and chaos in my own life (or yours). Being an extrovert means I appreciate being appreciated for something I’ve done well; it doesn’t mean I am conceited or do things strictly to get attention. Being an extrovert means I like to know someone is paying attention to me and cares about what I have to say; that doesn’t make me arrogant or needy.
Just like being more comfortable in smaller groups or one on one doesn’t automatically make an introvert shy or stuck up. We – society, social media, the internet, however you want to look at it – have nailed a shy, quiet label on introverts and a loud, obnoxious label on extroverts. And I will stand by my ENFJ classification with everything I have but I don’t think even the people who have seen my loud, obnoxious side would ever call me loud or obnoxious.