Are you attracted to people of different Myers-Briggs types? This is natural. The novelty is appealing, even seductive. Over time, however, you (an Introvert, let’s say) may find that the gregarious, outgoing person you met and have started to date now gets on your nerves. These Extraverts, you think, spill all the beans the moment they meet someone. You hear yourself saying, “Do you have to tell your life story to everyone on the street?” The insult gets you nowhere, of course. The person is just following the mandates of his or her Myers-Briggs type.
It’s interesting to consider that as much as we think we prefer the novel and unique in other people, we wish later on that they’d be more like us. In the long run, we may find our attraction soured by people who insist on “doing their own thing,” especially when it departs from conformity. In a family, business, or community organization, such nonconformity may even be regarded as disloyal or slightly dangerous.
Introversion and Extraversion are traits that reflect how we deal with the outer world and where we get our energy. Introverts get their inner renewal from private time—time spent alone with their thoughts. They don’t socialize much compared to Extraverts, who thrive on the company of others. Being with people is the source of the Extravert’s energy.
- Introverts often rehearse what they’re going to say and prefer that others do the same. When someone proposes a course of action, they’re likely to say, “I’ll think about that.”
- Introverts enjoy the peace and quiet of their own company. They often feel that their privacy is being invaded by others. Many develop the skill of tuning out noises from the social world, such as conversations in the other room. Some shut off the radio and TV in the house when they want to be alone and left in peace.
- They are often seen as great, empathic listeners, but feel that others take advantage of their willingness to listen rather than talk about themselves.
- Others often perceive them as reserved or shy because they don’t talk much when with people outside their social circle (which tends to be very small).
- Introverts like to share special occasions with one other person or a couple of close friends. They hate surprise parties.
- They avoid blurting their opinions out forcefully, but then get annoyed when someone else comes out with just what they were about to say.
- When they share feelings and thoughts they don’t want interruptions from others, just as they don’t interrupt others when they are sharing.
- They need to “recharge” alone after they’ve spent some time socializing with others.
- Introverts get suspicious or annoyed when others chatter away, repeating things others have said, or are too effusive in their compliments. They believe in the old saying, “Talk is cheap.”
- Extraverts tend to talk first and think later. They often don’t know what they’re about to say until they hear themselves say it. They sometimes berate themselves for talking too much.
- They know a lot of people and tend to count them as close friends. They try to include as many people as possible in social activities.
- They don’t mind distracting noises in the background when reading or trying to hold a conversation. They’re good at tuning out irrelevant noises.
- Extraverts are very approachable, whether it’s by strangers or friends. They enjoy conversation for its own sake, although they do have a tendency to dominate the content.
- They find telephone calls to be welcome distractions. Often they’re the first to pick up the phone when it rings. They often call people on impulse when they just want to communicate some interesting bit of news.
- They enjoy parties and like talking with many different people, including strangers. They tend to reveal personal information even with people they’ve never met before.
- When faced with a task or assignment, Extraverts prefer bouncing ideas off others rather than reflecting in solitude. They prefer generating possibilities in a group to doing it by themselves.
- Frequently Extraverts ask for help from others when doing mundane tasks. When Extraverts lose their glasses, for example, they’re likely to ask everyone in the room to help look for them rather than tackle the search on their own.
- They need affirmations and compliments from others about who they are, how they look, and just about everything else. They may think they are doing a good job, but they don’t believe it until they hear others say so.
If you’re an Introvert, that means you’re introverted most, but not all, of the time. People move back and forth slightly in the Myers-Briggs preferences, depending on the situation. There might be a group meeting of a fellowship you’ve belonged to for a long time, where you find the social interactions stimulating. The chances are, though, that you’re glad to go home again afterward. If you’re an Extravert and have been in business meetings all day long, you may feel worn out and want only to go home and listen to some classical music. It’s normal for the preferences to be modified according to different situations. The balance between the two traits on each of the four pairs depends on a number of factors, but the overall tendencies are usually stable.