I Would Rather Stay Home. Is There Something Wrong with Me? The difference between introverts and extroverts
When I was in college, my roommates loved to go out on Saturday night. I was glad to go with, but I would’ve also been happy just staying home. Sensing their excitement and anticipation of a night of fun, I would sometimes wonder what was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I as excited as they were?
Since then, I’ve learned more about the differences between extroverts and introverts and now realize that my contentment at staying in is part of my personality. It’s not that I dislike spending time with friends, but larger groups of people can leave me tired while a deeper conversation with one or two friends is invigorating.
Last week I started reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. Even though I know I’m an introvert, the studies and stories she shares in her book have been eye-opening and validating. I highly recommend it to both introverts and extroverts. The book and her TED talk have gone viral, winning many awards and making several best-selling lists.
Some interesting takeaways that I’ve gotten from the book are that introverts and extroverts are –
- wired differently,
- approach problems differently,
- prefer different levels of stimulation, and
- tend to have different strengths and challenges.
One temperament is not better than the other, but today’s world sends a message that we should try to be more extroverted. For example, we should participate in class, speak up, be bold, sell ourselves, and appear confident in front of others. These will get you good grades, sales, promotions, and ultimately more success.
Susan talks about the many overlooked strengths of introverts, and that they should be true to who they are instead of trying to “fit in” too often. Each type may need to stretch out of their comfort zone in certain situations, but we each have to honor our strengths and our different ways of recharging to find a healthy balance.
According to Susan, “When you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament—and allow others to do the same—you unleash vast stores of energy. Conversely, when you spend too much time battling your own nature, the opposite happens: you deplete yourself.”
Are you an introvert or extrovert (or ambivert)? Check out Susan’s test here. What actions or changes can you make to be more true to your temperament? How might understanding the differences help you relate better to others with a different temperament?
Wishing you much peace & happiness!
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a positivity speaker, trainer, & author. She is also the founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping create more positive attitudes, positive work cultures, and positive results.