Saturday, October 20, 2012

Know Thyself part 2

For the what-do-I-want-out-of-my-career class I mentioned in my last post, we filled out the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The MBTI is a questionnaire that is designed to measure preferences and reactions to the world. The assessment was originally designed by a mother and daughter for women who were entering the workforce during World War II, in order to place them in the best suited job for them.

There are four components to the questionnaire. Attitude (extrovert/introvert), function (sensing/intuition and thinking/feeling) and lifestyle (judging/perception)

Today we'll talk about the first one.

Before recently, I always thought an extrovert was someone who liked being around people and an introvert was someone who liked being alone.

While that misconception is understandable, the real definition of an extrovert is someone who derives their ENERGY from social situations while an introvert derives their ENERGY from being alone. An introvert can be just as (if not more so) socially-skilled as an extrovert and similarly, may be just as likely (if not more so) to enjoy a social situation. However, at the end of a party, an extrovert feels pumped and an introvert feels drained.  A long, productive day at work without water-cooler chatting breaks is likely to leave an extrovert depressed while an introvert in the same situation would feel just fine.

Introverts and extroverts also differ in how they process things, like emotions. As an extrovert, when I'm dealing with a troubling issue, I like to talk it out, even if the conversation is lengthy and circuitous. It's how I come to conclusions. An introvert prefers to process his or her emotions alone and only bring them up to someone else when they've reached a conclusion and the other person would benefit from knowing this conclusion. So I imagine it's rather frustrating for an introvert to talk through problems with me as I'm just processing and they're thinking everything I say must be very relevant or why would I bring it up?

What about you? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? What do you do to recharge?


  1. have to say, i love all these portraits of you. =)

    i am an introvert, and have always known this. i like being around people, i have friends and i'm not antisocial, but after spending a lot of time with a group -- particularly a group of strangers, like at shakti -- i am overwhelmed and overstimulated and just want to be somewhere quiet and alone-ish until i feel like myself again.

  2. I'm more of an extrovert. The work example fits me well - I would be incredibly frustrated to work in an solitary job; I need to see and interact with people throughout my day. I used to have the same perception of intro/extroverts as you did, which I think is a commonly held theory (even though it's wrong).

  3. I love these types of tests. It has been years since I have taken one. But I actually had to take one as part of my interview process for my first job out of college. That being said, I am more of an extrovert, which I find funny. I am not a fan of large groups of people. But, I do recharge myself by being around and talking with others.


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