This graphic is doing the rounds on the Internet at the moment:
I couldn’t find the extrovert version, which made me wonder whether we think extroverts don’t need as much care as their introvert counterparts. I did, however, find this list from The Daily Huff:
How to care for extroverts:
1. Respect their need to share, to ‘talk it out.’ They get their energy from other people.
2. Just as with introverts, never embarrass them in public. If you do embarrass them in public, go along as much as is reasonable if they play it off like a joke.
3. Don’t be surprised if they dive into a new situation headfirst. Don’t freak out either if they flounder a little. They’ll find their way.
4. Extroverts blurt. It’s the nature of the beast. Most try to leaven it with charm, but try to be patient when they don’t.
5. Expect interruptions that may seem rude, to some. Most of the time, they mean well.
6. Build surprise into your lives together. Most extroverts love the thrill of not knowing what’s up – as long as it’s positive.
7. Be prepared for what looks like ADD. The organically outgoing among us feed off the environment around them. They are often the best multi-taskers around, so understand that they are often paying much more attention to you than you think they are.
8. A flashover temper goes with the extroverted personality. The bad thing is it can look like a much more severe storm than it is. The good thing is it’s over quickly.
9. Many extroverts live for the intuitive leap. They reach for it. If teaching an extrovert something new, have patience with them jumping ahead of you.
10. They will always have lots of friends. But most extroverts have a core of best friends, and their loyalty can be fierce and aggressive if they feel the need to defend those friends. As with so many aspects of the extroverted personality, you may have to be patient with this.
11. They love compliments, but can usually see right through insincere flattery. Well-timed encouragement, though, can help an extrovert soar.
12. Sometimes, it’s okay to just go along with the “show.” Consider it free entertainment.
13. Respect their extroversion. Don’t try to pin them to your board or cage them. And do them a favor, if you are not yourself outgoing, extroverted – gently but persistently remind them to read the above graphic as often as possible. They probably will need the reminders.
As helpful as they are, lists like these are too black-and-white about personality types. Rather than placing people in the introvert or extrovert box, I think it’s more helpful to imagine people on a sliding scale. Everyone has some extrovert and introvert tendencies, even if you tend towards one camp. I grew up as a pretty extreme introvert, but these days I tend to sit more towards the middle. If I were to put a numerical value on it, I’d probably say I’m about 35% extrovert, 65% introvert. While often I like nothing better than to be left alone in the couch with a book, I also go a bit stir crazy if a whole day goes by without social interaction. I can relate to points 5-7 on the Introverts graphic, but 1 and 3 don’t apply to me (and what’s the deal with 2? I don’t think anyone likes being embarrassed in public!). On the Extrovert side, I can also relate to points 9-11. Yes, I do love a good compliment.
Personalities are also fluid. I hate the idea that people are boxed in; confined to playing the introvert or extrovert. Life experiences can dictate whether people display traits from one camp or another. When I had a media job that sometimes required me to play the extrovert, I learned to develop ways of relating I never knew were in me. With my husband’s job as a minister, I’ve been challenged to take more initiative with new people (arguably an extrovert trait) and found that it isn’t so difficult as I’ve previously thought. I’ve also appreciated the opportunities to wear my introvert qualities like a cosy blanket: qualities like listening intently, pausing and thinking before giving opinions, giving others space to shine in conversations.
Understanding your personality type is one thing; challenging yourself now and then to express parts of you that aren’t second nature is even better.
Do you express more introvert or extrovert tendencies? Do any of the points in the above graphic apply to you?