Putting An End To The Introvert Vs Extrovert Battle

We have all read personality descriptions and had that little excitement thinking "Oh, that's me!". But we are often blind to the fact that it groups us to a certain type and puts us against the other, leading us to an unspoken yet strong battle. Ever thought of it?

The topics of introversion and extroversion have been a talking point for years now. The web serves us with a plethora of articles on each of the personality types, on how one is better than the other, how they are misunderstood, and what not?

Introvert vs Extrovert battle
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How do we fall into the 'introvert vs extrovert' trap?

Today, finding articles on introversion or extroversion isn't a task that could get you at your wits' end. Oddly, we would run into them. So then, what sets us off to know about it? 

For most of us, it usually starts with personality tests. Typically, they are conducted by schools, career counselors, and workplaces to bring out better results from the individual. And of course, they are available on the web as well. While some take the tests casually, some thoughtfully answer them. But everyone gets eager when it comes to the results. On being labeled as a certain type, the urge for self-discovery or even the slightest spark of curiosity manages to push us to use every possible source to dig deep into it until we are satisfied with the answers. That's probably why you are here as well, isn't it?

However, we've got to follow that with our search ends our understanding and acceptance. Our personality description shows us how beautiful of a human we are and instills confidence within us. But maybe, the results overdo it? Or, do we go too far that we don't realize it when we cross the faint line marking the difference between confidence and pride? Yes, that's when we begin to not just look down upon people with a different personality, but also put them down. We fall into the "us versus them" trap and thus, rises the battle of wills.

Why must the 'introvert vs extrovert' trap be avoided?

Sometimes the answer lies right under our noses. So, to answer the question "Why must we avoid the 'us versus them' trap", I suggest you ask yourself "Why not?"

Got it?

Now that you have found your 'Why not?', let me help you a little with finding the 'Why'.

Introvert vs Extrovert battle
Image source: Pexels

Personality tests and descriptions are simply to help us in our journey of self-awareness and to bring out the best in us. But when tagged as a part of a certain group, our mind likes to rely on it as a reason to behave or not behave in a specific manner. Hence, it refuses to accept any act that goes against the description of the group, leaving us stringent. And for the same reason, we become less tolerant of others who seem to be different from us.

How can we keep away from the 'introvert vs extrovert' trap?

Avoiding the trap or getting ourselves out of it demands us of only one thing, which is to be more understanding. No doubt it is easier said than done. For, as George Armitage Miller said,

Most of our failures in understanding one another have less to do with what is heard than with what is intended and inferred.

The problem can't be solved when it comes to what is interpreted if your mind continues to remain rigid with your thoughts and behavior. So, let's break down further to understand what can keep us away from the introvert vs extrovert battle.

Here are 4 crucial things to be understood on the ideas of introversion and extroversion, to help you in becoming more compassionate towards the 'them'. 

1. What exactly are introverts and extroverts? 

When Carl Jung introduced the concepts of introvert and extrovert, he defined introverts as people who are more oriented towards one's mental self, and extroverts as people who obtain gratification from outside oneself. He meant that introverts have a set of principles and values which they stick to under any situation, whereas extroverts can mold their behavior based on the group of people they are with at that moment.

But today, an introvert is seen as a shy, socially awkward, and sensitive homebody, whereas an extrovert is seen as a thick-skinned social butterfly. However, here's how we can define them to have a better understanding.

According to Eysenck's theory, introverts are those who have naturally high levels of arousal. This makes them seek activities and environments where they can escape from overstimulation and recharge by processing and reflecting on what they have learned. This also explains why they are more alert and take in more information from the environment, thus being called good listeners.

By the same theory, as extroverts have lesser levels of arousal, they tend to go for more energetic environments where they feel in their 'normal'. That also answers why they seem insensitive to people and situations.

2. There's no pure introvert or extrovert

Personality science describes introversion and extroversion as the extremes of a personality scale that are defined based on a collection of underlying traits and aspects. So, one can never be a pure introvert or extrovert. We can have qualities that make us more inclined towards one end of the scale, but at the very end, there couldn't be anyone possibly. As Carl Jung himself said,

Anyone who is purely one or the other would be in a lunatic asylum. Hopefully one with both individual cells and dorms.

So the next time, before you refer to yourself as an introvert/extrovert, make sure to correct yourself and say "I'm an introverted/extroverted person" or "I have more introverted/extroverted traits". 

3. Your personality type is not a defect or an excuse 

A personality type is neither a disorder for us to cure nor an excuse for us to live in a certain way. We see that both, introversion and extroversion have their myths to be broken. Let me break down the most common one in each case for you.

Introversion means shyness / social awkwardness:

In their book, The Development of Shyness and Social Withdrawal, authors Schmidt and Buss write, "Sociability refers to the motive, strong or weak, of wanting to be with others, whereas shyness refers to behavior when with others, inhibited or uninhibited, as well as feelings of tension and discomfort." So clearly, not all introverts are 'shy' and those who are shy don't necessarily have to be introverts.

Introversion doesn't mean being shy
Image source: Unsplash

Extroversion means to be less thoughtful:

An extrovert's way of processing and coming up with ideas happens to be through discussions. They work by the "talk first, think later" principle. This, in no way, makes them less thoughtful. It is just their way of thinking and de-stressing. And, it also doesn't mean that they don't consider your suggestions if they come up with a new idea after the talk they had with you.

4. You can't state if an introvert is better or an extrovert

Just like asking "Which side of the coin is better?" or "Is the yin better or the yang?", it is absurd to question "Is an introvert better or an extrovert?"

We as humans have this tendency to compare ourselves with others. While this tendency helps in competitiveness and motivates us to perform better, it also happens to be the reason for our unhappiness and dissatisfaction with ourselves.

The same goes for when you compare an introverted and an extroverted person as well. While an introverted person could be a good listener, an extroverted person can be good in group discussions. This doesn't mean that an introverted person can't speak his/her ideas out or, that an extroverted person can't be a good listener. It is just about the preferences they make deep within themselves.

Embrace differences

Image source: Unsplash

In conclusion, the spectrum of introversion-extroversion is nothing more than just a means to enjoy more 'us' and accept more 'them'. It is not to be used to judge others for their choices or as an excuse to do/not do something.

Instead let's embrace and nurture our preferences, strengths, and differences, for us, and them.

Just a girl with a curious mind and an excited heart, living with an enthusiasm to explore herself and the world.

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