The Challenge of Being An Extrovert

I am a serious extrovert! Nobody is just one or the other, introvert or extrovert. But I am almost all extrovert and that can be super challenging when most of my world is introverted.

[featured-image single-newwindow=”false” id=”130821-MyersBriggs” alt=”Myers Briggs”]

Back before I left my corporate job, I had the opportunity to participate in a leadership seminar that included a full-fledged, get input from lots of people, answer a ton of questions, Myers-Briggs assessment.  Most folks have some familiarity with the indicator tool and have often taken some abbreviated version. What I learned during my assessment was that versions given by trained professionals provide results that indicate the range or scale of each pair so it is possible to be nearly equally both – introvert AND extrovert. Not every person has to fall into the introvert vs. extrovert debate.

That is not my situation, however; I was nearly off the scale on the extrovert side of the equation. Often people believe that being an extrovert is the “right” answer, but it is totally not a right/wrong sort of deal. For situations that require being around and interacting with lots of people, extroversion is a good thing. However, for personal introspection and deep analysis, introversion is better.

My world is filled with what I term “creatives.” Creatives are those folks who consistently think outside the box (if they even recognize that the box exists) or whose primary source of income is earned though a creative endeavor like writing, designing or crafting. What I have observed over the years is that the majority of creatives fall more on the introvert side of the scale. I believe this is due the solitary, introspective nature of creating.

Image courtesy Kellie Nuss

Image courtesy Kellie Nuss

My recent realization was that when I turn to my peers for help and support almost all of their suggested methods work well for introverts. These ideas include writing down thoughts, thinking deeply on a single topic and processing things internally. They don’t need a partner to help solve their problems. If someone can get them started by asking the right questions, they are off, flying away, discovering answers for themselves.

Extroverts, on the other hand, need to talk through their process, often with multiple people. The right question is still important, but time alone is often not helpful and in some cases practically debilitating. So working through challenging situations requires a support network of people, willing and able to be both mentally and physically present. And that is not always easy to find.

Image via Flickr by alwright1

Image via Flickr by alwright1

All this to say (particularly to those introverts who think extroverts have it better), it is not all rainbows and unicorns over here on the “E” side of the scale. We have our struggles, too. They are just different from the struggles that introverts face.

I share this observation as way to provide a different point of view and as a means to educate on the subject of introvert vs. extrovert. Sharing our stories helps us gain a broader perspective and makes it possible to learn from one another.

So what do you find challenging, either as an introvert or an extrovert?