Introvert + Extrovert = Lots of Learning!

July 16th, 2007

I am a classic introvert and the fiansor is a classic extrovert. Through all of our talking over the 6 plus years we've been together, we've learned how to communicate with each other pretty effectively. We've taught each other about our differences and in the process we've learned more about ourselves. When I read The Introvert Advantage awhile back, I laughed in recognition at my behaviors written out and felt much validation along with getting some great tips on how to work with my personality. I shared a lot of that book with the fiansor who found it helpful in understanding me a little better. (Incidentally, the author of this book recently put out a book about introverts and extroverts in relationships which looks interesting.)

Recently, The Happy Introvert was recommended to me and I picked it up. I began to read it over the weekend and this very different book provided more info, including a lot more about introverts and extroverts in relationships together. I brought the book out to the living room and on the couch, the fiansor and I read through most of the book together, finding some really helpful insights that led to further discussions. We laughed at how certain lists of behaviors were so spot on.

Here are some characteristics of introverts and extroverts from The Happy Introvert. Do you find yourself in these descriptions? I've marked introverts with an  (I) and extroverts with an (E).

  • You usually like being with people (no too many at once) for no longer than an hour or two at a time (I) (almost always true for me.)
  • You generally prefer being with others or talking on the phone to being alone. (E)
  • In group discussions, the topic being discussed sometimes changes by the time you have collected your thoughts and are ready to speak. (I) (Yep, that's why blogs are so great! I have plenty of time to think and then respond.)
  • You have a lot of energy, your voice is usually strong and confident, and you speak with little or no hesitation. (E) (This is the fiansor to a T.)
  • You sometimes procrastinate when you want to avoid interacting with people. (I) (ahem. yeah. I'm noticing I do this more and more now.)
  • Some people see you as being on a power trip, artificially optimistic, or overly dramatic. (E)
  • You tend to think out loud so what you say isn't always fully thought out and in general you are fast more than accurate. (E)
  • You like to concentrate in depth when doing a project and you are often content to be alone with your thoughts, feelings and activities. (I)
  • You often prefer that others make reservations, announcements, phone calls and introductions. (I) (The fiansor laughed at this one as he knows how much I hate to make phone calls when we order out.)
  • You like to buy on impulse and you frequently seek outside stimulation. (E)
  • Your style of speech tends to be calm and quiet and your ability to remember names is average to low. (I) (This one about the names was really interesting to me and very true.)
  • You want to make an impact on your community. (E) (This one made me laugh because I know the fiansor feels this way and we had just talked about how my desire to make a contribution is there, but quite different and how his desire is much larger and very ingrained. Very interesting stuff!)

At the end of the book there was a big discussion about personality types using the Myers-Briggs system. The fiansor's type was very easy to determine (ENFP), mine not so much. I'm still not sure. But it's further info that's helpful and interesting. We both have characteristics of introversion and extroversion in us too. It's never so clear cut, but knowing where we're coming from is helpful as we grow as a couple and as people. I've found all this particularly interesting because extroversion is so celebrated in our culture that introverts are often made to feel they are strange and abnormal. In general, I'm quite content in my introverted ways. I'm quite good at entertaining myself for hours on end. But on the other hand, it's good for me to push the envelope a bit sometimes and be more social as it often leads to wonderful things. Balance, balance.

Tomorrow's my birthday! I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but during the day, I plan to follow my whims and make it a fun, relaxing, and playful day. I hope your week is a wonderfully creative one!

11 Responses

Great, insightful, post…your description fits me to a tee (the I’s).
It feels so good to validated with this great info.

Happy, happy birthday love! I hope this coming year is everything you ever dreamed of.

is it possible to be both???

I find I am, which is strange…I can be very shy and insecure, I would rather be alone than with groups…but I did do theater professionally for years and loved it.

I have a strong speaking voice and usually (note the usually) don;t hesitate to speak up….unless it’s into a microphone…then I would rather die…lol

thanks, staz and tori!!

stilettoheights, no one is purely introverted or extroverted, so yes, you are both. everyone is a mix and just tends towards one more than the other. even though i’m most definitely an introvert, i am great at shmoozing at parties and i did theater in college and high school and loved it!! i read that many actors are introverted actually. it’s not about what you are capable of or good at, it is more about where you get your energy from. if you need to be alone to recharge then you’re probably introverted and if you get your energy from being around other people then you’re probably extroverted. hope that helps! :-)

Happy Birthday Leah! Hope you have a wonderful celebration.

Before we got married, my husband and I took a MBTI couple’s workshop. It was very eye-opening and enlightening for us! Definitely helped put things into perspective about why we do the things we do and gave us better understanding of each other’s preferences and traits. He’s an ISTP and I’m an INFP. During the workshop we discovered that we don’t share any cognitive functions (ways in which we gather information and make decisions). No wonder why we’d always get get frustrated with each other and fight when it came to researching things and making decisions! Now that we know how we tend to operate we rely on each other’s natural strengths and are more appreciative of how the other processes things. The person who led the workshop also wrote a book called: Dating, Mating and Relating: The complete guide to finding and keeping your ideal partner – by Susan Nash. It’s more based on temperaments rather than specific MBTI types, but it’s still pretty interesting.

Very interesting stuff. I’m definitely more an introvert than extrovert which was reflected in your descriptions. Have a very Happy Birthday tomorrow. Cancerians have these quiet introverted traits also:)

mark me down for introvert!


Dear Leah, happy birthday! May your day be full of delight.

OOOoohhhhhhhhhh I may have to read that book!!!

I’ve been blog-distant – HAPPY BIRTHDAY girlfriend I hope it was amazing. xoxo

I’ve always landed pretty close to the middle of the scale whenever I do those Myers-Briggs things. I suspect I’m an “I” who loves people and can turn on the “E” when warranted. Or maybe I’m an “E” who is ambivalent and cherishes time alone … or maybe … ? (who knows?) No matter … I love anything that gives insight into how we peeps work even if we defy categorization in the end.

And, to you Ms. I … a happy (belated) bday! :)

Post a Comment