17 Things Introverts and Extroverts Need To Understand About Each Other

This introvert-extrovert Internet war needs to end. Now.

1. As you may or may not know, introversion and extroversion has to do with how people are energized. Introverts generally get their energy from being alone, extroverts generally get their energy from being around other people. The people and the situations still matter.

2. Being outgoing and outspoken doesn’t equate to being an extrovert. Being shy and reserved doesn’t equate to being an introvert. There are a lot of outgoing introverts and there are a lot of shy extroverts.

3. There seems to be this sense that it’s only introverts that don’t like “small talk.” Newsflash: Nobody likes small talk. Nobody wants to be around people who hurl several pieces of unwarranted information at them. And believe it or not, extroverts and introverts both can and do initiate small talk. It is not solely the prerogative of classic extroverts.

4. It is incredibly patronizing that extroverts have been painted as overwhelming people who never know when to keep quiet and can’t be alone for five minutes. And it is incredibly patronizing to treat introverts as awkward humans who don’t know how to interact in social settings. Parenting, schooling, and life should have taught you when to shut up and went to smile, talk, and listen.

5. Everyone needs a break from people from time to time. In fact, most people should do it more because the world is filled with a lot of noise. The difference in “needing” this alone time between extroverts and introverts is the frequency and the different degrees of comfort.

6. Introversion and extroversion are not one size fits all personality traits and they more than likely look different on different people. Even though there are of course patterns of each trait that can be observed, studied, and identified. But most of us are on the continuum and may or may not have tendencies to one or the other.

7. As you get older, you are less likely to be either an extreme introvert or an extreme extrovert. And in fact, most people move closer to the middle (ambiversion), and the traits of each type generally tend to become less obvious.

8. Sometimes a lot of the people who are able to “work a room” in things such as a networking or social event, you might perceive as extroverts. In reality, the person could be an introvert who spends adequate time alone, and although will need to be recharged after said event, is also just a good social connector.

9. The more influential cultures of the Western world favor extroversion over introversion. Which is why everyone from your teacher to your boss is likely to view extroverts as intelligent. However, Eastern and many other cultures including African, Middle Eastern, and South American cultures favor introversion and are likely to view introverts as intelligent.

10. Contrary to popular belief in this part of the world, introverts are not in the “minority.” They are said to make up anywhere from a third to half of the population in the United States. (Source – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking)

11. Being an extrovert or introvert is not something anyone really chooses. And neither identity makes you special or inadequate. Each identity is a function of your DNA, upbringing, and culture. It’s not exactly something to take pride in. You haven’t achieved anything in life by simply being an introvert or extrovert.

12. For all the verbal language prowess extroverts are perceived to have, according to research, introverts are more apt at describing things in detail, while extroverts tend to be more abstract in their language use. So “understanding” extroverts may actually require more attentiveness than you thought. And “understanding” introverts may require less.

13. When it comes to dating, there is no sure-fire way to know how an introvert or extrovert likes you. You probably know introverts who are cool as cucumbers and can make magic happen in a matter of seconds. And you might know extroverts who become anxiety-filled creatures when they’re in the midst of a crush.

14. Introverts are said to have cornered the market on appreciating the “small things” in life. And that they don’t really like grand gestures or declarations (often done by big bad extroverts). But it’s not true. Most people appreciate the small things in life. Some people also like grand gestures. The difference is extroverts may be better able to navigate a response to a grand gesture than an introvert in the moment.

15. Extroverts generally tend to more actively participate in larger groups than introverts. But never assume that this means they “love people.” You can indeed be a “people’s person” and also find people incredibly exhausting. The two are not mutually exclusive.

16. An extrovert may be incredibly difficult to know because their “public face” is different from their “intimate face.” And an introvert may be quite easy to get to know because they may have less degrees of difference in these two spheres.

17. If you don’t know how to behave like a well-adjusted person who sometimes needs to be social with people, and sometimes is better off being alone, no other well-adjusted adult is going to find your company pleasant. No matter where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Featured image – Awkward

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Kovie Biakolo

Former Senior Writer & Cultural Advocate at Thought Catalog • Buy Conversations for Smart People • Connect on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram

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