Everyone wants to be an introvert. At least,that’s how it seems from the explosion around the internet.
It’s all too easy to get dragged into the “Introvert: good. Extravert: bad.” confrontation. When you’ve suffered for years from people telling you to “get out more” while all the time your own preferences are telling you you’d rather be “in” with a good book, it’s a relief to find you’re not alone.
Not many of us perch neatly at one extreme of the introvert/extravert axis. I’m mostly an introvert, but sometimes I like to grab the limelight and give a presentation. I need to spend some time hiding, exhausted, in the bathroom afterwards, of course, so that no one talks to me. I get most of my energy from quiet thinking but sometime I just love a boost from other people. And the applause, of course. Who really hates applause?
It’s not only an introvert that likes to walk in the peace of the rainforest. An extravert can love it too, and maybe wants to talk about it afterwards. If no one talked about their experience, how would we ever get to know about it? Word of mouth is a beautiful thing. For introverts, writing makes it possible to express our thoughts and feelings without the complication of other people, but how would we feel if no one ever read anything we wrote?
We’re a jumble of differences, understanding the world from our own, individual viewpoint and we all live somewhere along the introvert-extravert pole.
Psychological typing is much more subtle than the debate suggests. Drs Myers and Briggs Myers developed the Myers Briggs instrument, to look at a wide range of human behaviours. I heard that their research stemmed from wondering why they behaved alike while their spouses were so different. That makes sense to me. Have you ever wondered why your child, or your partner, or your relatives or friends can’t just “Be Like You?”
The world is wonderful because we can’t all be like you. Or like me.
So, let’s not get sucked into thinking that only one type of person can think deeply or truly care about others or understand complex ideas.
Let’s spend more time trying to understand what makes other people the way they are. Let’s try to walk a mile in their moccasins.