What is extraversion?
Extraversion is a personality trait that falls on a continuous spectrum ranging from introversion to extraversion. It refers to how energetic, sociable, and friendly we are. Most importantly, it refers to how we “recharge.” Despite the common misconception, people are not one or the other (extraverted or introverted), because it is a continuous spectrum, people tend to more of one thing over another. Carl Jung stated that extraverted individuals “turn outward” for energy, whereas introverted individuals “turn inward.” People who are more extraverted tend to recharge by socializing, networking, and being around people. People who are more introverted, on the other hand, tend to recharge by keeping to themselves through individuals’ self-care activities such as reading, introspecting, journaling, and exercising.
How does extraversion affect me?
It is often believed that people who are extraverted tend to be friendly, a team player, and social butterfly; whereas introverts are often thought to be shy, reserved, and/or rude. However, this is not completely accurate. Extraversion and introversion mainly refer to how and where we acquire our energy. Because people who are more extraverted acquire energy from other individuals, they tend to be productive in larger office settings, they tend to work well in teams, and often have large groups of friends. Because people who are more introverted acquire their energy through solitary activity, they tend to work well alone or in small groups, they tend to have a few close friends, and tend to be very good listeners because they are so reflective. Further, introverted people are often thought to be rude for not engaging in much social activity, but the reality is that social interactions tend to be emotionally and mentally draining for these individuals, which causes them to recharge through solitary activities.
How can I cope as an extravert/introvert?
The first step to coping as an extravert or an introvert is to learn where you fall on the extraversion spectrum. If you don’t know or aren’t sure, there are several personality measures that can assist with this such as OCEAN (or the Big 5) or the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). If you are more extraverted, some coping skills for you are finding ways to socialize with people such as phoning a friend, going to dinner with someone, or trying to meet new people. If you are more introverted, some ways to cope are to go for a walk or a hike, take time to reflect and/or journal, or read. Therapy is a good coping skill for both groups of people. Regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted, it’s important to be mindful of the people you interact with (who may be different from you) and how you perceive them.
This page is part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.
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