Monday, July 15, 2013

Introvert vs Extrovert

One of the most mis-defined definitions in psychology is that of introvert and extrovert. It’s so mis-defined that even “experts” use the incorrect definition of it.

Most people think introvert and extrovert has something to do with how outgoing you are or even how you express yourself. It doesn’t. It deals with how you manage your mood and energy. Extroverts rely on external things to manage their mood, while introverts do it internally within themselves. The best way to describe the terms is with examples.

If you wake up a little a down, but the sun is shining and your favorite song is on the radio, and you find yourself feeling more positive you’ve handled your mood in an extroverted manner. An introvert can wake up to the happiest day and if they’re sad, they stay sad. Few things on the outside will affect their mood.

Extroverts seem more sociable because most extroverts rely on others as a method of improving their mood and energy
. Extroverts will call their friends when they are down, or will go to a party just to alter how they feel. An extrovert is more likely to ask their friends for advice, so going shopping in groups or texting all their friends for tips on what laptop to buy is common for extroverts.

Introverts are internal. When they have a problem they prefer to be alone and self-reflect so as to come to a long term solution. They rely on their own personal feelings to make a decision and if they do seek advice, they prefer tried and true expert advice or to talk to someone who has gone through something similar.

According to studies there are more extroverts than introverts, but many people actually sit close to the middle of the spectrum.

One isn’t better than the other and you can’t change how you are. Most psychiatrists say you’re born either or.

The upside to being an extrovert is that they can change their moods pretty quickly, for a temporary period. Listening to their favorite song, watching a good movie, or hanging out with friends can shift their moods to positive fairly quickly. Thus, extroverts can give the appearance of being happy or ok in a moment. Or they can be happy long enough to get through something. Example, their physics class isn’t so bad because all their friends are in it.

On the downside, extroverts are usually moody and rarely keep an emotion or energy level for a long period of time. They can start the day off good, but if one negative thing happens, their positive mood plummets. Even seeing a sad story on the news can put them in a negative mood. Extroverts are known to feel sad if their friend or loved one is sad.

Because they prefer to be distracted from their bad mood, they tend to always be seeking something to keep them up. This goes back to the misconception that they are more social. They may not be hanging out with their friend because they really want to; they could just need the distraction.

Extroverts can sometimes be clingy and dependent, because when they find a person who helps them maintain their mood and energy level, they are very reluctant to let go. Remember, extroverts are external. Their mood and energy is greatly affected by things outside of them.

The great thing about being an introvert is their ability to maintain a positive mood for a long period of time. Their sad friend or bad hair day isn’t going to get them down. Introverts are not as moody as extroverts, so when they’re up they can remain up for a lot longer. They are also better at solving their own problems and keeping themselves motivated. The internal introvert doesn’t need a team of cheerleaders behind them to get a job done; they can usually mentally talk themselves into doing it.

However, the ability to sustain a mood also applies to negative ones. Unlike the extrovert who can do something to switch their feelings, the introvert can remain in a negative slump for a lengthy period. This is largely due to the fact that introverts don’t like distractions, they want a solution.

They may try to alter their mood with a good song, but can zone into the bad feelings rather than the song. If you’ve ever tried to cheer up an introvert you know how frustrating it can be because nothing seems to penetrate the bad mood.

Introverts need to work through things themselves. Unless you’re going to offer a different perspective, most introverts can easily tell themselves what they need to hear. They are good at tinkering with their own minds and working their way to a solution. Introverts usually prefer to do this alone, where they can be within themselves and not be distracted. An introvert can’t snap out of things, but they usually are able to come back to a positive way of thinking.

Most introvert and extrovert tests online and even those giving by professionals aren’t correct because they focus more on the social aspect. I was able to do several with the panel and learned I’m an introvert. I always knew this though, because of the way I handle my problems. I don’t go to my friends, or seek a distraction. I tend to sit alone until I’ve thought my way through the problem or I’m ready to simply let go.

Introverts can love going out; they can be noisy, and opinionated.

Extroverts can be quiet, can be homebodies, and reserved.

How social or talkative you are has nothing to do with whether or not you’re extroverted or introverted. It’s a matter of how you deal with and maintain your mood and energy. Extroverts are external; anything on the outside can help them feel better. Introverts are internal, they prefer to self-reflect and alter their mood from the inside out.

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