Ever read something and thought “Wow, that’s exactly how I feel”? That’s pretty much how I’ve felt recently when reading about introverts and extroverts.

Obviously, these are not new terms to me. But I’ve always looked at them in quite a basic way – extroverts are confident people, introverts are shy people. I grew up being a shy person, but I’m generally quite confident now so does that make me now an extrovert?

Can you be introverted and confident, or extroverted and shy?

The interesting thing is, it’s actually not to do with confidence. An extrovert is someone who gains energy from being around others. An introvert is someone who feels drained from being around others for too long. Introverts generally need time away from people to gather their own thoughts. Extroverts seem out company, while introverts need time to themselves. That’s not to say introverts don’t enjoy socialising, but they have a limit. According to Wikipedia, “An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends”

This is exactly how I feel. I find big social occasions completely draining, even if I’ve enjoyed them. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my friends. They’re brilliant, funny and interesting people and I love spending time with them. But part of me can’t wait to get home at the end of the night. I always thought that I was being anti-social, overly-irratated or anxious. Journeys back from London would leave me feeling emotional, stressed and completely exhausted, for days. But because I’m not particularly shy these days, I assumed I was more of an extrovert.

I’m sure this is why I love being freelance – I have the time and space to be on my own. In fact, introverts are usually found in more creative roles, while extroverts favour roles like politics, teaching, sales, managing and brokering.

Introverted AND extroverted?

You can be a bit of both (Ambiversion), and I’m sure most people are a mixture. For example I’m talkative which is an extrovert trait, while my extroverted fiancé is a man of few words. There’s a quiz here to tell you just how extroverted or introverted you are. The important thing is to stop fighting what kind of person you are – it’ll only make your life harder.

Annoyingly I can’t find the exact article, but I read somewhere that introverts make up a far smaller percentage of the population, which is why social norms tend to be tailored towards the extroverted population.

On the upside, apparently introverts make up a higher proportion of ‘gifted’ people 🙂

Are you introverted or extroverted? Does this ring any bells for any other introverts out there?